October 2016 - The Ural Mountains run from north to south through Central Asia, separating Europe from Asia. Like the Appalachian Mountains, the Ural Mountains formed about 300 million years ago, near the end of the Carboniferous period, when the first reptiles were evolving. This was when the tectonic plates began to form the supercontinent of Pangaea.
When the western Siberia plate smashed into the Baltica and North America plate, that pushed up the land to make the Ural mountains, and formed the supercontinent of Laurasia.
The Ural mountains, together with the Appalachians, are among the oldest mountains in the world. They are far older than the Alps, the Himalayas, the Rockies, or even the Andes, which are the next oldest major mountains. But the Ural Mountains are not as eroded as the Appalachians; some of the peaks in the Ural Mountains still have glaciers at their tops all year round.
The first people we know much about who lived in or near the Ural Mountains are the Yamnaya, or the Indo-Europeans, about 4000 BC. They drove wagons and chariots pulled by horses and lived as cattle-herders, mostly. Later on, the Scythians lived in that area - they were also nomadic cattle-herders famous for their horse-riding and bow-shooting skills. Around the time of the Roman Empire, the people living around the Ural Mountains were the Ostrogoths, but by this time many of them were farmers, growing oats and rye. In the Early Middle Ages, the people living in and around the Ural Mountains formed the new country of Russia, and it's pretty much been Russia ever since.
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