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The Mongols gained fame in the 13th century when under Chinggis Khaan they established a huge Eurasian empire through conquest. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart in the 14th century.

The Mongols eventually retired to their original steppe homelands and in the late 17th century came under Chinese rule. Mongolia won its independence in 1921 with Soviet backing and a communist regime was installed in 1924. The modern country of Mongolia, however, represents only part of the Mongols' historical homeland; more ethnic Mongolians live in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China than in Mongolia.

June 17, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California

Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China in 1844, 1845, 1846
By M. Muc, Catholic Missionary.

China and Tartary are now attracting so much attention, and our knowledge of them is so scanty that we are tempted into the perusal of this book, published in 1352, and one of the latest works on those countries. Although the writer appears to have had an excellent opportunity to gain a great deal of valuable information, he has communicated but little in this book. Dates and places are occasionally given, but the latter in such manner that it is extremely difficult to find them on our maps. The resources of the land passed over are occasionally mentioned, but in such a manner that no clear idea of them can be formed.

The author was a missionary who thought of little besides his religion had little breadth of view and made a book which is barely readable. He details trifling little conversations, uninteresting particulars of what he had to eat and how he had to sleep on such and such occasions and the ends his book without giving the details of his journey from Sah-Sah to Canton, the most important part of his travels, saying that he was prevented from finishing his book by a contemplated return to Mongolia . . . The success of the Buddhist priests in preventing the natives from being converts to Christianity he considers to be caused by the "special providence" of the devil; and when the Buddhist jugglers pretend to swallow red hot iron and cut themselves open, he believes it all to be fact, but says they are aided by his Satanic Majesty. His descriptions of the customs and religion of the Tartars and Chinese is the only part of the work that gives any satisfaction . . .

Sunday Morning, October 28, 1855, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Russians at Amoor River

Folktales of the Amur.Russia.

Folktales of the Amur

Stories from the Russian Far East.
Dmitrii Nagishkin
An elegant book with exquisite, unique illustrated fairy tales originating from the Nanai people of the Amur region of East Asia. Many stories involve killing animals and often other people which may put off children. Many of these tales are similar to those of North America's indigenous tribes, which is not surprising given that ancient peoples traversed the Bering strait to occupy pleistocene North America.

The movements of the Allied fleet in the Pacific during the past year, have been fruitless in results, and the Russians are apparently deriving important benefits by this inactivity. They have abandoned the insignificant forts of Petropaulowski and Aran, thus depriving the Allies of the moiety of glory they might have gained by the capture of those places, and for many months have been concentrating in great strength near the mouth of the Amoor River, where fortifications of an invulnerable nature are reported as progressing rapidly.

Judging from its position by looking on the map of Asia, Amoor is destined to become one of the strongest and most important of the Russian fortresses. The mouth of the Amoor river is in the Gulf of Saghalien, opposite the large island of the same name, about latitude 52 degrees north. This gulf is formed by the strong flow of water against the opposite island; and the shores of both the island and the main land contract to the north and south, leaving a narrow passage way in one direction into the sea of Ochotsk, and the other way into the Gulf of Tartary. To reach the Amoor river, the Allied fleet will have to sail round the north end of Saghalien Island into Ochotsk sea, and thence south down the intricate channel between the it and and main land, or else encounter similar difficulties in making the other channel after parting into the Gulf of Tartary at the south of the same island. The waters through either of these channels are shallow, and abound in difficult passages, while there are several entrances to the Amoor river, some at which are known only to the Russians During the fogs which prevail at irregular intervals, the Russians would have any enemy which might venture into either of these channels almost at their merry

Japanese Attack Russian Communists.

Japanese Attack Russian Communist Forces at a Train along the Amur River.

If the Russian statement it true, which seems probable, that there are now 8,000 or 10,000 men at their fortress on the Amoor. they may well bid defiance to any fleet which the Allies can spare for the purpose of dislodging them. To show more clearly the importance of this near Russian stronghold, we copy the following description of the Amoor river and the country it traverses, from the Providence Journal, which is evidently compiled from good authority.

Among the great rivers of the world, the Amoor, or Amur, or Saghalien of Northeastern Asia is perhaps the least known. Yet we know that of all the streams in Northern Asia, boundless as that region is, it is the only one that empties itself into a navigable ocean which is open to commerce. All the other great rivers of Northern Asia discharge their waters into the Polar Sea, and are thereby lost to commerce. The Amoor cannot properly be called a river of Siberia, but of Chinese Tartary or Manchuria. It rises in about longitude 109 east, and latitude 49 north, and after a very winding course of about two thousand miles, reaches the lower part of the sea of Ochotek, opposite the great island of Saghalien. It may, therefore, be called the only highway of nature that directly connects the central steppes of Asia with the rest of the world. It receives several large streams which rise in Mongolia and Manchuria; and the country watered by it is said to be extremely rich in furs.

The Chinese and Russians formerly bad many settlements on its upper waters, but during the latter part of the last century the latter withdrew. As early as the year 1636, The Russians began to establish colonies on both banks of the Amoor, intending to annex the country to theirs, but coning in contact with the Chinese, they relinquished what they had acquired, and fell back to about the 65th parallel, near which is the southern boundary of Siberia. The Chinese took good care, during the last century, that they should not again obtain a foothold on the lower parts of the river, for which purpose they not only established forts, but kept armed boats there. But it now appears that during the lasts forty years while Europe has been at peace, the Russians have quietly possessed themselves of this country and erected strong fortresses near the mouth of the great river. So little is known of this stream that we can find it nowhere stated what its magnitude is. Judging, however, from its length, its numerous tributaries, and the vast region drained by it, it must be as large as the Mississippi, independent of the Missouri.

The people of Manchuria have considerable civilization and from it comes the present dynasty of Chinese Emperors. If therefore, the Czar has been enabled to enlist the natives in his cause, he may with the aid of iron and timber, which are said to abound there, have erected a more formidable fortress than is to be found on the whole coast of Eastern Asia.

September 16, 1857, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Scene on Lake Baikal.

Lake Baikal, Russia.

Mr. P. McD. Collins, of Sonora, American Consul for the eastern coast of Russia in Asia, arrived at the mouth of the Amoor in July. He came through the interior of Asia and Siberia from St. Petersburg. He was one of the first arrivals down the river this spring. Mr. C. embarked at the highest point of the river Ingoda susceptible of navigation, in a boat with two oars and a small sail, about 450 versts east of the navigable water of Lake Baikal, just over and at the foot of the Goboleny mountains, and about 100 versts north of the junction of the Mongolia. Descending the Ingoda to its junction with the Shilka, he passed down it to its junction with the river Argoon. Genghis Khan. These two rivers are about 1,000 vents from where he embarked from the Amoor, or Sagahlien of the Manchoos. Thence navigating this Mississippi of the North, Mr. C. visited the great Manchoo city of Igoon, where he was received with barbaric pomp by the Governor of the country, in a pavilion on the banks of the river, but was not allowed to inspect the city; This he, however, afterwards remedied by eluding the vigilance of the river police and landing at a point lower down on the river. He arrived at the Russian port near the mouth of the Amoor in July, after performing a voyage of four thousand vents, by water, within sixty days.

Mr. C. passed the winter and spring in explorations in Siberia, in visiting an immense extent of country, voyaging in all some 16,000 versts since he left St. Petersburgh. He is the first American that has crossed Asia from west to east from ocean to ocean and the first white man, except Russians, who has crossed the Goboleney mountains, and consequently the first who has ever visited Mongolia and Manchuria, and explored those countries from the centre of Asia to the sea. Mr. C. expected to leave- Amoor about September for San Francisco, by the way of China. The Russian war steamer America left the Amoor in July for China, with Admiral Putatten and suite. The Admiral goes to China, invested with full power by his government to make a treaty with the Chinese, and also to watch the operations of the English during the war.

The Russian government have had two iron steamers built in Philadelphia. They were brought out in sections, and erected on the river during the winter, by Americans. They commenced running as soon as the river was clear of ice this spring. They are small boats, but well adapted for the navigation of the Amoor. On their trial trips, they proved very successful. The Russians were highly pleased with their performances. They are to run up the Amoor a distance of 2,200 miles; they expect to have three more of a similar pattern on the river next year. There are two American engineers in the employ of the government on the Amoor. These are from San Francisco.

Navigation opens on the river about June 1st, and closes about November 1st. The weather near the mouth of the river is very severe the thermometer ranging as low as 30 below zero here, for months. The country is buried in snow and ice during six months of the year. The travelling is done principally with dogs and reindeer, and it is not an unfrequent occurrence for the inhabitants to have their limbs frozen.

The Russians have discovered coal on the Island of Sagahlien, in the Gulf of Tartary, about 150 miles from the mouth of the Amoor. It is of a superior quality for steaming purposes (bituminous). It is found on the surface, in veins averaging five feet thick, and from eight to ten feet wide. It appears to be in great abundance.

Captain W. H. Hudson (formerly of the U. S. Sloop of War Vincennes) is one of the commanders of the P. M. S. S. Co.'s steamers. He commanded the steamer America from San Francisco to the Amoor. After delivering the steamer up there to the Russian government, he started for the United States by the way of Siberia, in company with seven Russian officers. He was received at St. Petersburgh by the Emperor and Grand Duke Constantine. Capt. H. is the first American who has ever travelled through that country, from east to west.

August 10, 1859, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

The Camels are Coming to San Francisco
Result of Otto Esche's Trip to the Amoor and Siberia.

Herding Camel Train.
Herding Camel Train, Inner Mongolia
Vincent Haddelsey

Otto Esche, who started one of the first expeditions to the Amour river, has arrived in Europe, having journeyed thither by way of Siberia. He has informed his friends and correspondents, Kuauth, Nachod & Kuhne, of New York city, that be has contracted for a number of superior camels, to arrive in San Francisco by about September or the beginning of October, this year. These camels, coming from the valleys of Upper Mongolia, south of Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, and having been trained in the traffic and transports across the rough and stony Gobi desert, from Peking to Kiuchta, on the Chinese Siberian frontier (the great route for the Chinese-Russian commerce), and lying, on an average, 6,000 feet above the level of the Polar Sea, are in every way what can be desired stronger than any other kind, and accustomed to every hardship, to short diet, and the most trying and coldest climates. It will therefore be easily understood that these camels are far preferable and superior to those imported from Asia Minor, Egypt or Arabia, ar in fact from any warm climates.

Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire.

Thus private enterprise has already followed up the example set by our Government, who, it will be remembered, imported, some years back, about fifty camels into Texas; and now camels of a well-known superior strength and quality are brought into market for public sale. Mr. Esche intends to dispose of his animals at public auction as soon as they arrive in San Francisco, and pursue the business, if successful. It is to be hoped that it may prove so to him, in spite of the 5,000 miles costly land travel and 5,000 miles sea passage the animals have to go through, and many other great difficulties and risks connected with such extensive enterprises. ~ S. F. Bulletin

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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