National Geographic : 1904 Mar
RUSSIAN DEVELOPMENT OF MANCHURIA* BY HENRY B. MILLER, UNITED STATES CONSUL TO NIUCHWANG, MANCHURIA ONE of the greatest achievements in city construction that the world has ever witnessed is now going on in the heart of Manchuria. THE BUILDING OF HARBIN In the building of such cities as Vlad ivostock,Dalny,and Port Arthur,Russia has demonstrated her power and pur pose on the Pacific in line with the world's conception of her character; but in the construction of this wonder ful city of Harbin she is displaying an altogether different type of activity from what we are prone to attribute to her. It is in this city, more than in all the others combined, that Russia is assert ing her intentions of becoming an active industrial force in the affairs of the Orient, and her people are already giv ing the place the title of the Moscow of Asia. The city is located on the Sungari River, at the point where the Manchu rian branch of the Siberian Railway crosses the stream and where the Chinese Eastern branch starts south to Dalny and Port Arthur. It is about 350 miles west of Vladivostock and 600 miles north of Port Arthur. Its location is the geo graphical center of Manchuria,and from present prospects it is to become the commercial center as well. The city is surrounded on all sides for hundreds of miles with a rich and productive agri cultural country, producing corn, wheat, oats,barley, beans, millet, hemp, tobacco, vegetables, and some fruits. Minerals and timber and great areas of grazing lands also surround it. At present the place consists of the old town, 3 miles from the central depot, Prestin or the river town, the present commercial center, and the administra tion town, in close proximity to the rail way station. Before the railway engi neers established this as their headquar ters there was no native town in this vicinity, and the entire place is therefore a Russian product. ADMINISTRATION It is as distinctly a Russian city as though it were located in the heart of Russia, and none but Russians and Chinese are permitted to own land, con struct buildings, or engage in any per manent enterprise. The city has been created by the Russian government, under the management of the Manchu rian Railway Company. The land for many miles in each direction has been secured so as to make it impossible for any foreign influence to secure a profit or foothold close to the city, and for eigners are not recognized as having any rights whatever, but are permitted there by sufferance. The chief railway engineer is the administrator of the city, and up to the present time has had com plete control of everything, but in the new scheme for the government of Man churia some form of municipal organi zation will be permanently established. In 1900 the place began to assume importance as a center of railway man agement, and in 1901 the population had grown to 12,000 Russians; in 1902, to 20,000; by May, 1903, to 44,000, and in October, 1903, a census showed a population of 60,000, exclusive of soldiers. Of these, 400 are Japanese * The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE is enabled to publish in full this excellent account of Russian progress in Manchuria up to the close of 1903, through the courtesy of Hon. O. P . Austin, chief of the Bureau of Statistics.