Ethnographers believe that Primoryes first inhabitants were paleo-Asian and Tungus-Manchurian peoples who appeared there 5-6 thousand years ago. The descendants of those peoples live there and in other regions of the Russian Far East even now. These include Nanaians, Udege, Orochi, Orokis, Ulchi, Evens, Evenks, and Negidalians. Some paleo-Asian peoples have moved to the northern areas of the Russian Far East to occupy vast areas in Khabarovsk Territory and Kamchatksa, Sakhalin and Magadan Regions. 
    At one time, these peoples could use copper and iron, were familiar with cattle-husbandry and farming, built dwellings and sea vessels, and established ties with China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia. In fact, they founded the State of Bokhai, which existed from 698 to 926 A.D., and also the Chhurchzhen Empire (Golden Empire), which in 1115-1234 occupied not only the south of the Russian Far East, but also adjacent regions of Manchuria and Korea. 
Oleg Avchenko  
    In the early 13th century, Chinghizkhans hordes destroyed Chzhurzhen cities and ports, fleet and fortresses, killed or enslaved most of the population. Chzhurzhen remnants hid from the Mongols in forests and river valleys, occupying wild uninhabited territories. Gradually they forgot their former working habits and started picking berries, nuts, roots, and edible grasses, catch fish, and hunt wild animals. 
    In the early 17th century, when Russian explorers first appeared in these lands, the indigenous peoples of the Far East were in the stage of disintegration of their primitive communal system. 
   Assimilation of the southern areas of the Far East by Russians became irreversible only after the conclusion of the Aigun and Peking Treaties between Russia and China. Sea and land expeditions followed one another to the newly acquired lands to get a complete idea of their wealth. Already by 1857, sea expeditions helped compile a map of Primoryes coastline, and military outposts began to be built in strategically most favorable inlets and bays. In 1860, the Vladivostok, Novgorod, Novokiev and Turierozhye outposts began operating.
    Among them, the geographic position of Vladivostok was particularly advantageous, and in 1870 the base of the Siberian Naval Flotilla was transferred there. Very soon, Vladivostok became Russias major naval base in the Pacific, and when conferred the status of city the center of Primorye Region.
    Inland colonization of Ussuri Region was initially very slow. Absence of extensive transport routes with Russia restricted the inflow of Russian migrants to new lands. The latter were settled by a handful of enthusiasts, who penetrated into the wild taiga and surmounted the ridges of Sikhote Alin to bring back increasingly new stories of Primoryes countless riches. To change the situation, the Russian government established extensive benefits for people volunteering to settle in new lands and began to actively replenish the region with migrants of Cossack and peasant origin.
    Till 1902, the bulk of migrants arrived in Primorye by sea aboard Dobrovolnyi Flot (Volunteer Fleet) vessels; the fleet was created on public charity. Volunteer Fleet vessels sailed along regular lines linking Vladivostok with Odessa, and plied between Russian Pacific seaports. A total of about 90,000 new residents were delivered by Dobrovolnyi Flot to Ussuri Region between 1883 and 1906. Most of them (78 percent) were people from Ukraine. Again, among other areas of Russia, the Southern Urals region played a major role in early colonization of Primorye. Over two thousand Urals Cossacks were moved from there to Ussuri Region.
    Most of the new migrants settled on the right bank of Ussuri River, along Razdolnaya River, on the Khanka Lowland and along the seacoast. Over the period from 1859 to 1882, 95 settlements were established here. Among them Novonikolsk village (now Ussuriisk), Razdolnoye, Vladimiro-Alexandrovskoye, Shkotovo, Pokrovka, Tourii Rog, and Kamenj-Rybolov.  At that time, the new migrants chiefly engaged in farming and game hunting. Over two-thirds of the population were involved in these sectors.
    The Trans-Siberian Railroad played a major role in the assimilation of Primorye. The construction of its Ussuri sector began in 1891 to end in 1897. With its completion, Primorye was directly connected with European Russia, and this helped to rapidly increase the number of migrants. Workers settlements and stations were built along the railroad, and the number of villages also increased. Prospecting of mineral resources and coal mining began. Vladivostok seaport piers expanded to create a foundation for development of urban settlements. By 1899, already every fourth resident of Primorye lived in cities and workers settlements.
    Active colonization of Primorye continued after the 1917 October Revolution. Thanks to special government measures, migrants from all corners of the Soviet Union arrived here. Representatives of virtually all the nations republics and regions too part in assimilating Primoryes natural wealth.

Copyright 1998-2002  Computer Laboratory , Far East Geological Institute