CRIMEA, THE (anciently, Cherso nesus Taurica), a peninsula of southern Russia, government of Taurida, to the mainland of which it is attached by the Isthmus of Perekop; area, 10.000 square miles. On the W. and S. it is washed by the Black Sea, and on the E. by the Sea of Azof, a portion of which, shut off from the rest by a long and narrow strip of land, forms the Sivash or Putrid Sea. Three-fourths of the Crimea belongs to the region of steppes, but the other part, confined entirely to the S., and stretching along the coast from W. to E., abounds in beautiful mountain scenery. Here the valleys looking S. are luxuriant with vines and olive and mulberry planta tions, while the N. slope gives a large yield in cereals and fruits. The climate, however, is unequal, and in winter is severe. The chief stream is the Salghir. Others of celebrity are the Tchernaya and thy Alma. The most important of the productions, besides those already mentioned, are tobacco, of which a large quantity of excellent quality is produced, flax and hemp. The forests are of limited extent. There are large numbers of fine wooled sheep and horned cattle and horses are reared in large numbers. Pop.
about 500,000. The chief town and port is Sebastopol.
The country was anciently associated with the Cimmerians, and in later times with various Greek settlements and minor kingdoms. After being for some time a dependency of Rome, it was over run by successive bodies of barbarians, and in 1237 fell into the hands of the Mongols under Genghis Khan. About 1261 the Genoese were permitted to oc cupy and fortify Kaffa, and they rapidly extended their power in the formation of other settlements. They were expelled, however, in 1475 by Mahomet II., wl.o made it a dependent khanate. In 1783 the Russians took possession of the country; and with the view of overaw ing the Turks the great naval arsenal of Sebastopol, occupying the most command ing position on the Black Sea, was begun by Catharine II. in 1786. Its military re sources were steadily developed up to the time of the Anglo-French campaign of 1854, when it fell into the hands of the allies. Here, in November, 1920, the Anti-Bolshevist leader, General Bar on Wrangel, and his forces suffered a great defeat from the red army.