Plan of the fortification of Tecki on the Tumen River.
Terki was a fortress of Asiatic Russia, under the government of Caucasus, situated on the Tumenka (one of the branches of the Terek). Terki remained of great importance until the Persian conquests, where it ceased to be a frontier town and was razed at the peace of 1763.
In the mid-sixteenth century, the Tsardom of Russia built several fortifications throughout the course of several campaigns in the Northern Caucuses. During this time, the first Terka was built, later taken over by the still independent Cossacks. In 1577, groups of Volga Cossacks settled in the Terek basin and Voevoda Novosiltsev. They later built the second Terka on the Terek, marking the start of the Terek Cossacks.
An isolated group of Cossacks on the Terek River became an established settlement on the Don River by around 1550. Astrakhan was conquered in 1556, giving Russia a base at the north end of the Caspian Sea. They soon made an alliance with Kabardia and built a fort at the mouth of the Sunzha River. In the late 16th century, several Terek Cossack campaigns were carried out against the Ottoman Empire, leading the Sultan to complain to Ivan the Terrible. In 1589, the first outpost on the Sunzha was built and a permanent Terka, later known as Tersky Gorodok, was built on the lower Terek.
During the Russo-Persian War (1651-53), Persian subjects fought Cossacks on the Sunzha River. In 1688, Stenka Razin raided the Caspian coast. During the second Russo-Persian War (1722-23), Peter the Great conquered the west and south shore of the Caspian, however the land was soon returned when Persia grew stronger. In 1775, after a Russian explorer had died in captivity, Catherine sent a punitive expedition which briefly captured Derbent. During the Persian Expedition of 1796, Russia again conquered the west coast of the Caspian, but the expedition was withdrawn when Catherine died. Underlying all of this was the slow and steady expansion of Russian population southward from its original heartland in Muscovy. By around 1800, Russia was in a position to push soldiers and colonists into the Caucasus region.
Beautifully coloured. From Mallet's monumental Description de l' Univers, first published in Paris in 1683, perhaps the greatest work of its kind in the 17th Century.
Alain Mannesson Mallet (1630-1706) was a French mapmaker and engineer who served in the armies of Louis XIV. After rising through the ranks, Mallet was appointed as Inspector of Fortifications, a job which also required mathematical skills and which made him a competent military engineer. Eventually, he joined the court of Louis XIV at Versailles, where he taught math and focused on writing.
Mallet is best known for his Description de L’Univers, first published in 1683, in five volumes. A wide-ranging geographical work, the Description included textual descriptions of the countries of the world, as well as maps of the celestial sky and the ancient and modern worlds. The Description continued to be published until the early eighteenth century. He also published a work in three volumes on warfare (1684) and a primer on geometry (1702).