My ethnic group, the Astrakhanians, have moved from the steppe in Central Asia to the Volga River near the Caspian Depression. A drought in our homeland caused us to be unable to farm there, so we moved near the Volga to have a more reliable water supply. We decided on the area near the Caspian Sea because it has a dry steppe climate similar to the one we left in Central Asia, suitable for farming the same way we did there. The soil, called chernozem, is also especially rich in the steppe so it can support various plants and large-scale agriculture.
It was very difficult to trade on the steppe in Central Asia because we were not near a river or another large body of water. We moved to the Volga area because it allows us to trade with cultures up and down the river, and also gives access to the Caspian Sea. The Volga also comes quite close to the Don, which empties into the Black Sea, allowing us to trade with the rich Byzantine and Germanic civilizations to the west.
The climate in our steppe area is also favorable to agriculture, allowing plants to flourish during the hot summer. However, the weather is fairly moderate because we are just between two bodies of water, the Black and Caspian Seas.
The unpleasantly hot summers are also an advantage because they mean that no other groups want the area. We, of course, do not mind because the climate is just about the same as it was in Central Asia, and our group has been making clothing to suit the variable climate for generations.
We are hoping to found two large cities in desirable locations once agriculture is established in our region. One, which we will make the capital of our country, will be called Astrakhan and will be on the Volga near the Caspian Sea. The other, which we intend to be a port and which we will call Volgograd, will be at the place where the Volga and Don rivers are closest, so that it has easy access to the West as well as to the Caspian Sea. Hopefully both of these will grow to be thriving centers of our empire Astrakhania.
“Russia Map – Russia Satellite Image.” Photograph. Geology.com. Geology.com, 2006. Web. 5 Feb. 2012. http://geology.com/world/russia-satellite-image.shtml.
Boehm, Richard G. “Physical Geography of Russia.” World Geography and Cultures. Columbus: McGraw/Hill, 2012. Print.