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    Altai Territory


The Russian colonization in the area of the Upper Ob and the Altay piedmont began in the second half of the 17th century. After the building of two fortresses, Beloyarskaya (1717) and Bikatunskaya (1718) ones, the colonization processes activated, because they provided safety in the falls of the attacks of the nomadic Dzungar people (a medieval nation, one of the Mongol ethnic groups). During the 18th century the mineral resources were explored in the Altay Mountains, and it was the manufacturer from the Ural Akinfey Demidov, who took advantage of the finds made by Kostylevs, the father and the son.

In the second half of the 18th century the region (a part of Altay Mountain District, which included the contemporary Novosibirsk and Kemerevo Regions, a part of the Tomsk and East-Kazakhstan Districts) became the centre of the mining industry. The mining factories, ore mines, forests and lands belonged however to the Emperor. All of it was being administrated by the special office in St. Petersburg. The local administration was being executed by the militaries and mining engineers. Among them Ivan Plozunov should be mentioned, who was the first in Russia to construct a steam engine and the first in the world to create a two-cylinder one.

In the second half of the 19th century the mining factories became unprofitable and were closed. The foundation of the regions economy became the agriculture. Besides corn growing the region cultivated potatoes and developed bee-farming. By the beginning of the 20th century the dairy farming came to the fore in the economy of the region. The butter from Altay was exported to the West Europe.

At the same time the transport system of the region was developing. A section of the trans-Siberian Railroad went through the northern part of the region. By the 1915 the Altay Railroad was constructed, the water transport was being improved as well.





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