Russia, the most extensive and one of the most powerful empires of either ancient or modern times, occupies almost the entire northern portion of the eastern hemisphere, embracing, in its immense area, more than half of Europe, and one third of Asia. It is bounded on the north by the Arctic or Frozen ocean; on the west by Sweden, the Baltic, Prussia, and the Austrian dominions ; on the south by Turkey, the Black sea, Persia, Tartary, and the extensive Chinese territories ; and on the east by the North Pacific ocean. In its largest extent, the Russian empire stretches from the western limit of Russian Poland, at the eighteenth degree of east longitude from Greenwich, to the eastern promontory of the Tchuktchi territory, at the one hundred and ninetieth degree east from the same meridian, thus including one hundred and seventy-two degrees of longitude; while from its most northern promontory, at the seventy-eighth degree of north latitude, to the most southern point, at the thirty-ninth degree north, it comprehends thirty-nine degrees of latitude. Tooke, in his history of Russia, computes its extent to be nine thousand two hundred miles in length, and two thousand four hundred in breadth; while its superficial area included within the above boundaries has been variously estimated from six to eight millions of square miles. This (and it includes only the contiguous dominions of Russia) is three or four times the extent of the Roman empire in the height of its grandeur, and in the period of its greatest territorial amplitude. Exclusive of the above domain, Russia is mistress of Nova Zembla and most of the other islands in the Arctic ocean, of the Aleutian archipelago, off Kamtschatka, of Aland and other islands in the Baltic, and also of a very large tract in the northwest part of the continent of North America,* to the latter of which her claim is founded on the right of discovery in the sixteenth century.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855