Environment and History
Environment and History 5(1999): 27-52
A frontier environmental history of Cossack settlers in the North Caucasus reveals some of the weaknesses of the Russian imperial mission. Cossacks transformed the landscape of settlement through deforestation and canalisation; the resulting floods and disease regime put severe limits on their ability to be economic colonisers or cultural assimilators. In many respects, the land proved to be a tougher enemy than the mountain people whom they were sent to conquer.
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