Stavropol Territory, administrative division (1995 pop. 2,650,000), 31,120 sq mi (80,601 sq km), S European Russia, in the North Caucasus, the northern foothills of the main Caucasian range, and the dry steppes to the northeast. The central part of the territory occupies the Stavropol Plateau, a hilly region (rising to c.2,730 ft/830 m) drained by the Kuma and Kuban rivers. In the north is the Manych Depression. There are oil and natural-gas deposits. The once drought-ridden territory has been irrigated since 1945. Winter wheat, corn, sunflowers, and cotton are grown; along the Kuma River grapes, other fruits, and vegetables are also cultivated. Sheep raising is an important occupation. The Pyatigorsk region has numerous mineral spas and is a major resort area. The chief towns are Stavropol, the capital; Pyatigorsk; Kislovodsk; and Cherkessk. The Karachay-Cherkess Republic is in the territory. The population is for the most part Russian and Ukrainian; minority groups are Circassians, Karachay, and Nogay Tatar herders. The territory was first organized in 1924, when it was called North Caucasus Territory. It was renamed Ordzhonikidze Territory in 1937 and was given its present name in 1943.
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