This theory is popular on the Russian web, but I haven't found a single mention of it in any foreign sources, so I decided this deserves a thread.
Ever heard of Tartaria?
Strange as it may sound, but this gigantic country in Eurasia continued appearing on different maps till the 19th century.
Here are a couple of examples:
Here is a 1,2 Gig
different old maps featuring Tartaria
Now, what does Wikipedia
think of this?
Tartary (Latin: Tartaria) or Great Tartary (Latin: Tartaria Magna) was a name used in the Middle Ages until the twentieth century to designate the
great tract of northern and central Asia stretching from the Caspian Sea and the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean after the Mongol-Turkic invasion
inhabited mostly by Turkic peoples. It incorporated the current areas of Pontic-Caspian steppe, Volga-Urals, Caucasus, Siberia, Turkestan, Mongolia,
is a mention of Tartary (Tartaria) in Encyclopedia
Britannica, Vol. III, Edinburgh, 1771:
TARTARY, a vast country in the northern parts of Asia, bounded by Siberia on the north and west: this is called Great Tartary. The Tartars who lie
south of Muscovy and Siberia, are those of Astracan, Circassia, and Dagistan, situated north-west of the Caspian-sea; the Calmuc Tartars, who lie
between Siberia and the Caspian-sea; the Usbec Tartars and Moguls, who lie north of Persia and India; and lastly, those of Tibet, who lie north-west
So basically Tartaria is featured on all the maps till the end of 18th century. It has distinct borders with "Muscovia" - the early Russian kingdom
that later turned into Russian empire. The historians' explanations is that Tartaria is no country, but a name for a land mass with a population in
the form of nomad tribes. Since western geographers knew these lands badly, they just called them Tartaria. As the Russian empire grew, Tartaria grew
smaller and gradually vanished from the maps as these lands were explored.
Several things are not clear though?
1) Why would someone even mention Tartaria in 18th century when according to official Russian history the majority of Siberia was colonized by
Russians in the 17th century and ignorant western geographers would have to call it Muscovia and Russian empire?
2) Why would a piece of land have its own flag, heraldy and capital (current Russian town of Tobolsk is mentioned as a capital on many maps)?
Here are some examples from old books:
American encyclopedia published in
collection of different documents dated 16th-19th century
some more here
3) Why would someone mention "Muscovian Tartaria", "Chinese Tartaria", "Independent Tartaria" of this was a Terra Incognita on itself, doesn't
this sound to you more like federal districts of the same state?
4) Tartaria is mentioned in many sources wikipedia calls it all fiction though: travels of Marko Polo, Macbeth by Shakespeare, Puccini's Turandot,
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Great Expectations by Dickens and so on.
5) The Great "Chinese" Wall basically repeats Tartaria's south-eastern borders on the old maps. Guess what? The
look south, not north, as opposed to the official Chinese history that says
the wall was built to fight off the nomads from the north.
So, where did this country go?
According to theories, Tartaria died in a major civil war that happened in the 18th century. Fun fact: the majority of Russian history was written in
17th-18th century by foreign (mostly German historians). Researchers claim emperor Peter the Great was an ally of the western dynasties. Under him
Russia went through major reforms - changed the calendar, changed the capital (from Moscow to Saint Petersburg), partly changed the alphabet and was
Change of the capital is especially interesting - why would anyone build a new capital from scratch in a distant place where western countries could
easily capture it? Just look at the map - major maritime countries just needed a small fleet to cut off the capital from the rest of the country. This
would make sence, however, if Tartaria really existed (this would mean Moscow would be really close to its borders).
I'll continue in the next post.