Siberia is an huge region in North Asia. The region has been controlled by the Russians since they captured it in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The region is bordered to the west by the Ural Mountains and to the north and east by the Pacific and Arctic basins. The region unfolds to the south from the Arctic to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan, and on to the borders of Mongolia and China. Siberia makes up almost 8 tenths of Russia's territory , over 13 million square kilometres, but contains only 28% of her population - some 40 million people.
This is the Siberia of IGT's famous game, the Siberian Storm slot- and boy, are there some serious storms here. Check this one out for example:
Siberian Storm: Snow Storm
History of Siberia
Siberia was occupied in ancient times by nomads like the Yenets, the Nenets, the Huns, the Scythians (from Iran) and the Uyghurs (form Turkey). The Mongols were also a force to be reckoned with in Siberia in the 13th century.
The growing power of Russia in the West began to shift the political map in the 16th century. First, traders and Cossacks began to settle and then the Russian army began to fortify the country town by town, heading east.
Towns such as Mangazeya, Tara, Yeniseysk and Tobolsk were formed (Tobolsk being the capital of Siberia).
By the mid-17th century, the Russians controlled the entire area all the way to the Pacific.
Still, Siberia is a thinly populated area, due to its harsh winter climate and remoteness.
The Trans-Siberian Railway
The big step change in Siberia was the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway, built from 1891 to 1916. It connects Siberia to the industrialised Russia to the west and an estimated seven million Russians moved from Europe to Siberia, most before the start fo World War I.
Siberia is blessed with many natural resources. During the last century, these were exploited (and continue to be)- many industrial towns grew throughout the land.
Of course Siberia became famous during Soviet Union times, when one of the things that many Russians feared and dreaded was "being sent to Siberia".
More than 14 million people were processed through the Gulag from 1929 to 1953. Over half a million prisoners died in camps from 1941 to 1943. Many Gulag camps were set in hostile and remote areas of northeastern Siberia. The best known are Sevvostlag along the Kolyma River and Norillag (see image left) near Norilsk, indeed many modern day cities of Northern Siberia, such as Norilsk and Magadan, were originally camps built by prisoners and managed by ex-prisoners.
Taiga near Lake Baikal
Most of the population lives in the south, along the Trans-Siberian Railway. The climate is continental with cold winters and warm summers, and the annual average temperature is around 0.5 °C. In January, things are a lot sharper, with average temperature sitting around −15 °C. Daytime temperatures in the summer can hit 20 °C.
The lowest recorded temperature in Siberia is a staggering −71.2 °C in Oymyakon (Sakha Republic) which is known as th coldest city on Earth. Sakha is the coldest Siberian region
Many climate scientists have warned that Western Siberia has begun to thaw as a result of global warming. The peat bogs here may hold billions of tons of methane gas, which could enter the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas, and the worry is that this could accelerate global warming.
Russia is a oil and gas producer and supplies much os Western Europe. Siberia, is incredibly rich in minerals, noteably nickel, gold, lead, coal, molybdenum, gypsum, diamonds, diopside, silver and zinc, as well as significant resources of oil and natural gas.