Last updated
татарлар, tatarlar
Total population
  • Volga Tatars: c. 6.4–6.6 million [1] [2]
  • Crimean Tatars: c. 500 thousand — 6 million [3] [4] [5]
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 5,319,877 (excl. Crimea) [6]
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine (mostly includes Crimean Tatars)319,377 (incl. Crimea) [7]
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan Crimean Tatars: ~239,000 [8]
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 200,545 [9]
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 150,000–6,000,000 [3] [4] [5] [10]
Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan ~100,000 (Estimate) [11]
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan 36,355 [12]
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan 28,334 [13]
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 25,900 [14]
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania (only includes Crimean Tatars)24,137 [15]
Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia 18,567[ citation needed ]
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 15,000[ citation needed ]
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 11,000 [16]
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 7,300[ citation needed ]
Flag of France.svg  France 7,000[ citation needed ]
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania (mostly includes Lipka Tatars of both, Crimean and Idel-Ural, origin)3,000-7,200 [17] [18] [19]
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 5,100 [20]
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 4,825 [21]
(Includes those of mixed ancestry)
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 1,981[ citation needed ]
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 1,916[ citation needed ]
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria (mostly includes Crimean Tatars)1,803 [22]
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 600-700 [23]
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 600-2,000 [24]
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 500+ [25]
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 300+ [26]
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 150 [27]
Kipchak languages
Predominantly Sunni Islam
with Eastern Orthodox minority
Related ethnic groups
Other Turkic peoples

The Tatars ( /ˈtɑːtərz/ ; Tatar :татарлар, tatarlar, تاتارلار, Crimean Tatar : tatarlar; Old Turkic : 𐱃𐱃𐰺, romanized: Tatar) is an umbrella term for different Turkic ethnic groups bearing the name "Tatar". [28] Although the Tatars originally spoke a Turkic language, after many of them entered the armies of Genghis Khan, "a fusion of Mongol and Turkic elements took place", [29] and the 13th-century Mongol invaders became known as Tatars to Europeans. [29] The original Tatars descended from the Rourans, of Proto-Mongolic Donghu origin, [30] [31] though several scholars suggested that Turkic elements also greatly contributed to the Tatars' ethnogenesis. [32]


Initially, the ethnonym Tatar possibly referred to the Tatar confederation. That confederation was eventually incorporated into the Mongol Empire when Genghis Khan unified the various steppe tribes. [33] Historically, the term Tatars (or Tartars ) was applied to anyone originating from the vast Northern and Central Asian landmass then known as Tartary, which was dominated by various Turco-Mongol nomadic empires and kingdoms. More recently, however, the term has come to refer more narrowly to highly or lowly related ethnic groups who refer to themselves as Tatars or who speak languages that are commonly referred to as Tatar, namely Tatar by Volga Tatars (Tatars proper), Crimean Tatar by Crimean Tatars (although Crimean Tatars are not a part [and not an ethnic group] of a "big" Tatar nation, they are a different nation using the similar ethnonym [34] ) and Siberian Tatar by Siberian Tatars.

The largest group amongst the Tatars by far are the Volga Tatars, native to the Volga-Ural region (Tatarstan and Bashkortostan), who for this reason are often also simply known as "Tatars" in Russian. They compose 53% of the population in Tatarstan. Their language is known as the Tatar language. As of 2002, there were an estimated 5 million ethnic Tatars in Russia.

Many noble families in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire had Tatar origins. [35] [36]


Orkhon inscriptions in Old Turkic Gok turk Epigraph Copy in Gazi University Ankara.jpg
Orkhon inscriptions in Old Turkic
Ottoman miniature of the Szigetvar campaign showing Ottoman troops and Crimean Tatars as vanguard Szigetvar 1566.jpg
Ottoman miniature of the Szigetvár campaign showing Ottoman troops and Crimean Tatars as vanguard

The word Tatar according to the Turkic dictionary made by G. Bronnikov and Phil Krylov is derived from the Proto-Turkic language word Tata- which means in Altaic etymology 1. to become angry, 2. irascible, [37] and the word Tatar in Kyrygz has the same meaning.

The name "Tatar" likely originated amongst the nomadic Tatar confederation, whose ancestors inhabited in the North-Eastern Gobi desert in the 5th century. [38] The name "Tatar" was first transliterated, with Chinese characters in the Book of Song, as , Dàtán (MC: *daH-dan) and 檀檀, Tántán (MC: *dan-dan) [39] as other names of the Rourans. [40] The Rouran Khaganate collapsed due to internal Turkic-led rebellion and a part of the dispersed Rourans fled to the Greater Khingan mountain range, where they renamed themselves Tatars, after Yujiulü Datan, one of their former Khagans. The Donghu ancestors of Rourans and later Tatars were generally agreed to be Proto-Mongols, [30] [31] though several scholars (e.g. Xu, Sadur, etc.) suggested that Turkic elements also greatly contributed to Tatars' ethnogenesis. [32] [41] The first precise phonetic transcriptions were on the Orkhon inscriptions: Kul Tigin (732 CE) and Bilge Khagan (735 CE) monuments as 𐰆𐱃𐰕𐱃𐱃𐰺, Otuztatar, 'Thirty Tatar' [42] and 𐰸𐱃𐰕:𐱃𐱃𐰺, Tokuz Tatar, 'Nine Tatar' [43] [44] [45] [46] referring to the Tatar confederation.

Tatar became a name for populations of the former Golden Horde in Europe, such as those of the former Kazan, Crimean, Astrakhan, Qasim and Siberian Khanates. The form Tartar has its origins in either Latin or French, coming to Western European languages from Turkish and the Persian language (tātār, "mounted messenger"). From the beginning, the extra r was present in the Western forms and according to the Oxford English Dictionary this was most likely due to an association with Tartarus . [47] [48]

The Persian word is first recorded in the 13th century in reference to the hordes of Genghis Khan and is of unknown origin, according to OED "said to be" ultimately from tata, a name of the Mongols for themselves. The Arabic word for Tatars is تتار. Tatars themselves wrote their name as تاتار or طاطار. The Chinese term for Tatars was 韃靼; Dádá, especially after the end of the Yuan period (14th century), but also recorded as a term for Mongolian-speaking peoples of the northern steppes during the Tang period (8th century). [49] The name Tatars was used as an alternative term for the Shiwei, a nomadic confederation to which these Tatar people belonged.

Russians and Europeans used the name Tatar to denote Mongols as well as Turkic peoples under Mongol rule (especially in the Golden Horde). Later, it applied to any Turkic or Mongolic-speaking people encountered by Russians. Eventually, however, the name became associated with the Turkic Muslims of Ukraine and Russia, namely the descendants of Muslim Volga Bulgars, Kipchaks, Cumans and Turkicized Mongols or Turko-Mongols (Nogais), as well as other Turkic-speaking peoples (Siberian Tatars, Qasim Tatars and Mishar Tatars) [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] in the territory of the former Russian Empire (and as such generally includes all Northwestern Turkic-speaking peoples). [55]

Nowadays Tatar is usually used to refer to the people, but Tartar is still almost always used for derived terms such as tartar sauce, steak tartare and the Tartar missile. [56]

All Turkic peoples living within the Russian Empire were named Tatar (as a Russian exonym). Some of these populations still use Tatar as a self-designation, others do not. [57]

The name Tatar is also an endonym to a number of peoples of Siberia and Russian Far East, namely the Khakas people.[ citation needed ]


Contemporary distribution of Kipchak languages:  Kipchak-Bolgar Kipchak-Cuman Kipchak-Nogay and Kyrgyz-Kipchak Map-Kypchak Language World.png
Contemporary distribution of Kipchak languages:  Kipchak–Bolgar  Kipchak–Cuman  Kipchak–Nogay and Kyrgyz–Kipchak 

11th century Kara-khanid scholar Mahmud al-Kashgari noted that the historical Tatars were bilingual, speaking Turkic besides their own language. [59]

The modern Tatar language, together with the Bashkir language, forms the Kypchak-Bolgar (also "Uralo-Caspian") group within the Kipchak languages (also known as Northwestern Turkic).

There are two Tatar dialects – Central and Western. [60] The Western dialect (Misher) is spoken mostly by Mishärs, the Central dialect is spoken by Kazan and Astrakhan Tatars. Both dialects have subdialects. Central Tatar furnishes the base of literary Tatar.

The Siberian Tatar language is independent of Volga–Ural Tatar. The dialects are quite remote from Standard Tatar and from each other, often preventing mutual comprehension. The claim that Siberian Tatar is part of the modern Tatar language is typically supported by linguists in Kazan and denounced by Siberian Tatars.[ citation needed ]

Crimean Tatar [61] is the indigenous language of the Crimean Tatar people. Because of its common name, Crimean Tatar is sometimes mistakenly seen in Russia as a dialect of Kazan Tatar. Although these languages are related (as both are Turkic), the Kypchak languages closest to Crimean Tatar are (as mentioned above) Kumyk and Karachay-Balkar, not Kazan Tatar. Still, there exists an opinion (E. R. Tenishev), according to which the Kazan Tatar language is included in the same Kipchak-Cuman group as Crimean Tatar. [62]

Contemporary groups and nations

The largest Tatar populations are the Volga Tatars, native to the Volga region, and the Crimean Tatars of Crimea. Smaller groups of Lipka Tatars and Astrakhan Tatars live in Europe and the Siberian Tatars in Asia.

Volga Tatars

The areas of settlement of Tatars in Russia according to the National Population Census 2010 Areal rasseleniia tatar v Rossii. Po dannym Vserossiiskoi perepisi naseleniia 2010 goda.png
The areas of settlement of Tatars in Russia according to the National Population Census 2010
Hillary Clinton with a Volga Tatar woman and President Mintimer Shaimiev of Tatarstan in Kazan, capital of the Russian autonomous Republic of Tatarstan RIAN archive 477235 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Tatarstan.jpg
Hillary Clinton with a Volga Tatar woman and President Mintimer Shaimiev of Tatarstan in Kazan, capital of the Russian autonomous Republic of Tatarstan

The Volga Bulgars, who settled on the Volga river in the 7th century AD and converted to Islam in 922 during the missionary work of Ahmad ibn Fadlan, inhabited the present-day territory of Tatarstan. [63] After the Batu Khan invasions of 1223–1236, the Golden Horde annexed Volga Bulgaria. Most of the population survived, and there was a certain degree of mixing between it and the Kipchaks of the Horde during the ensuing period. The group as a whole accepted the exonym "Tatars" (finally in the end of the 19th century; although the name Bulgars persisted in some places; the majority identified themselves simply as the Muslims[ citation needed ]) and the language of the Kipchaks; on the other hand, the invaders eventually converted to Islam. As the Golden Horde disintegrated in the 15th century, the area became the territory of the Kazan khanate, which Russia ultimately conquered in the 16th century.

Some Volga Tatars speak different dialects of the Tatar language. Accordingly, they form distinct groups such as the Mişär group and the Qasim group:

A minority of Christianized Volga Tatars are known as Keräşens.

The Volga Tatars used the Turkic Old Tatar language for their literature between the 15th and 19th centuries. It was written in the İske imlâ variant of the Arabic script, but actual spelling varied regionally. The older literary language included many Arabic and Persian loanwords. The modern literary language, however, often uses Russian and other European-derived words instead.

Outside of Tatarstan, urban Tatars usually speak Russian as their first language (in cities such as Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Tashkent, Almaty, and cities of the Ural and western Siberia) and other languages in a worldwide diaspora.

In the 1910s the Volga Tatars numbered about half a million in the Kazan Governorate in Tatarstan, their historical homeland, about 400,000 in each of the governments of Ufa, 100,000 in Samara and Simbirsk, and about 30,000 in Vyatka, Saratov, Tambov, Penza, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm and Orenburg. An additional 15,000 had migrated to Ryazan or were settled as prisoners in the 16th and 17th centuries in Lithuania (Vilnius, Grodno and Podolia). An additional 2000 resided in St. Petersburg. [33]

Most Kazan Tatars practise Sunni Islam. The Kazan Tatars speak the Tatar language, a Turkic language with a substantial amount of Russian and Arabic loanwords.

Before 1917, polygamy was practiced [64] [ citation needed ] only by the wealthier classes and was a waning institution. [33]

An ethnic nationalist movement among Kazan Tatars that stresses descent from the Bulgars is known as Bulgarism – there have been graffiti on the walls in the streets of Kazan with phrases such as "Bulgaria is alive" (Булгария жива)

A significant number of Volga Tatars emigrated during the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, mostly to Turkey and to Harbin, China. According to the Chinese government, 5,100 Tatars still live in Xinjiang province.

Astrakhan Tatars

The Astrakhan Tatars (around 80,000) are a group of Tatars, descendants of the Astrakhan Khanate's population, who live mostly in Astrakhan Oblast. In the Russian census in 2010, most Astrakhan Tatars declared themselves simply as Tatars and few declared themselves as Astrakhan Tatars. Many Volga Tatars live in Astrakhan Oblast and differences between them have been disappearing.

Crimean Tatars

Crimean Tatars are a special people, [34] they are not a sub-ethnic, ethnic, ethno-territorial or any other group of a nation, which is referred in Russia as Tatars (Russian : татары).

Mausoleum of Canike [ru] in Crimea, Qirq Yer. Mavzolei Dzhanike-khanym.jpg
Mausoleum of Canike  [ ru ] in Crimea, Qırq Yer.

Crimean Tatars are an indigenous people of the Crimea. Their formation occurred during the 13th–17th centuries, primarily from Cumans that appeared in the Crimea in the 10th century, with strong contributions from all the peoples who ever inhabited Crimea. [65]

At the beginning of the 13th century, the Crimea, the majority of the population of which was already composed of a Turkic people — Cumans, became a part of the Golden Horde. The Crimean Tatars mostly adopted Islam in the 14th century and thereafter Crimea became one of the centers of Islamic civilization in Eastern Europe. In the same century, trends towards separatism appeared in the Crimean Ulus of the Golden Horde. De facto independence of the Crimea from the Golden Horde may be counted since the beginning of princess (khanum) Canike's, the daughter of the powerful Khan of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh and the wife of the founder of the Nogai Horde Edigey, reign in the peninsula. During her reign she strongly supported Hacı Giray in the struggle for the Crimean throne until her death in 1437. Following the death of Сanike, the situation of Hacı Giray in Crimea weakened and he was forced to leave Crimea for Lithuania. [66]

Khan's Palace in Bagcasaray. Carlo Bossoli Khanpalast von Bachcisaraj 1857.jpg
Khan's Palace in Bağçasaray.

In 1441, an embassy from the representatives of several strongest clans of the Crimea, including the Golden Horde clans Shırın and Barın and the Cumanic clan — Kıpçak, went to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to invite Hacı Giray to rule in the Crimea. He became the founder of the Giray dynasty, which ruled until the annexation of the Crimean Khanate by Russia in 1783. [67] Hacı I Giray was a Jochid descendant of Genghis Khan and of his grandson Batu Khan of the Golden Horde. During the reign of Meñli I Giray, Hacı's son, the army of the Great Horde that still existed then invaded the Crimea from the north, Crimean Khan won the general battle, overtaking the army of the Horde Khan in Takht-Lia, where he was killed, the Horde ceased to exist, and the Crimean Khan became the Great Khan and the successor of this state. [67] [68] Since then, the Crimean Khanate was among the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the beginning of the 18th century. [69] The Khanate officially operated as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, with great autonomy after 1580, [70] because of being a Muslim state, the Crimean Khanate just could not be separate from the Ottoman caliphate, and therefore the Crimean khans had to recognize the Ottoman caliph as the supreme ruler, in fact, the viceroy of Allah on earth. At the same time, the Nogai hordes, not having their own khan, were vassals of the Crimean one, Muskovy and Polish–Lithuanian commonwealth [71] [72] paid annual tribute to the khan (until 1700 [73] and 1699 respectively). In 1711, when Peter I of Russia went on a campaign with all his troops (80,000) to gain access to the Black Sea, he was surrounded by the army of the Crimean Khan Devlet II Giray, finding himself in a hopeless situation. And only the betrayal of the Ottoman vizier Baltacı Mehmet Pasha allowed Peter to get out of the encirclement of the Crimean Tatars. [74] When Devlet II Giray protested against the vizier's decision, [75] his response was: "You might know your Tatar affairs. The affairs of the Sublime Porte are entrusted to me. You do not have the right to interfere in them". [76] Treaty of the Pruth was signed, and 10 years later, Russia declared itself an empire. In 1736, the Crimean Khan Qaplan I Giray was summoned by the Turkish Sultan Ahmed III to Persia. Understanding that Russia could take advantage of the lack of troops in Crimea, Qaplan Giray wrote to the Sultan to think twice, but the Sultan was persistent. As it was expected by Qaplan Giray, in 1736 the Russian army invaded the Crimea, led by Münnich, devastated the peninsula, killed civilians and destroyed all major cities, occupied the capital, Bakhchisaray, and burnt the Khan's palace with all the archives and documents, and then left the Crimea because of the epidemic that had begun in it. One year after the same was done by another Russian general — Peter Lacy. [67] [77] Since then, the Crimean Khanate had not been able to recover, and its slow decline began. The Russo-Turkish War of 1768 to 1774 resulted in the defeat of the Ottomans by the Russians, and according to the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) signed after the war, Crimea became independent and the Ottomans renounced their political right to protect the Crimean Khanate. After a period of political unrest in Crimea, Imperial Russia violated the treaty and annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783.

Abandoned houses in Qarasuvbazar. Tragedy of Qarasuvbazar.jpg
Abandoned houses in Qarasuvbazar.

Due to the oppression by the Russian administration, the Crimean Tatars were forced to immigrate to the Ottoman Empire. In total, from 1783 till the beginning of the 20th century, at least 800 thousand Tatars left Crimea. In 1917, the Crimean Tatars, in an effort to recreate their statehood, announced the Crimean People's Republic — the first democratic republic in the Muslim world, where all peoples were equal in rights. The head of the republic was the young politician Noman Çelebicihan. However, a few months later the Bolsheviks captured Crimea, and Çelebicihan was killed without trial and thrown into the Black Sea. Soon in the Crimea, Soviet power was established.

Through the fault of the Soviet government, which exported bread from Crimea to other regions of the country, in 1921-1922, at least 76,000 Crimean Tatars died of starvation, [78] which became a disaster for such a small nation. In 1928, the first wave of repression against the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia was launched, in particular, the head of the Crimean ASSR Veli Ibraimov was executed in a fabricated case. In 1938, the second wave of repression against the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia was started, during which many Crimean Tatar writers, scientists, poets, politicians, teachers were killed (Asan Sabri Ayvazov, Usein Bodaninsky, Seitdzhelil Hattatov, Ilyas Tarhan and many others). [79] [80] [81] [82] In May 1944, the USSR State Defense Committee ordered the total deportation of all the Crimean Tatars from Crimea. The deportees were transported in cattle trains to Central Asia, primarily to Uzbekistan. During the deportation and in the first years of being in exile, 46% of Crimean Tatars died. [83] In 1956, Khrushchev exposed Stalin's cult of personality and allowed deported peoples to return to their homeland. The exception was the Crimean Tatars. Since then, a powerful national movement of the Crimean Tatars, supported abroad and by Soviet dissidents, began, and in 1989 the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union was made to condemn the deportation of Crimean Tatars from their motherland as inhumane and lawless. Crimean Tatars began to return to their homeland. Today, Crimean Tatars constitute approximately 12% of the population of Crimea. There is a large diaspora in Turkey and Uzbekistan, but most (especially in Turkey) of them do not consider themselves Crimean Tatars. [3] Still, there remains a diaspora in Dobrogea, where most of the Tatars keep identifying themselves as Crimean Tatars.

Crimean Tatar groups. Gornye i iuzhnoberezhnye krymskie tatary.jpg
Crimean Tatar groups.

Nowadays, the Crimean Tatars comprise three sub-ethnic groups:

Crimean Tatars in Dobrogea

Some Crimean Tatars have lived in the territory of today's Romania and Bulgaria since the 13th century. In Romania, according to the 2002 census, 24,000 people declared their ethnicity as Tatar, most of them being Crimean Tatars living in Constanța County in the region of Dobrogea. Most of the Crimean Tatars, living in Romania and Bulgaria nowadays, left the Crimean peninsula for Dobrogea after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Empire.

Dobrujan Tatars have been present in Romania since the 13th century. [84] The Tatars first reached the mouths of the Danube in the mid-13th century at the height of the power of the Golden Horde. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Ottoman Empire colonized Dobruja with Nogais from Bucak. Between 1593 and 1595 Tatars from Nogai and Bucak were also settled to Dobruja. (Frederick de Jong) Toward the end of the 16th century, about 30,000 Nogai Tatars from the Budjak were brought to Dobruja. [85] After the Russian annexation of Crimea in 1783 Crimean Tatars began emigrating to the Ottoman coastal provinces of Dobruja (today divided between Romania and Bulgaria). Once in Dobruja most settled in the areas surrounding Mecidiye, Babadag, Köstence, Tulça, Silistre, Beştepe, or Varna and went on to create villages named in honor of their abandoned homeland such as Şirin, Yayla, Akmecit, Yalta, Kefe or Beybucak. Tatars together with Albanians served as gendarmes, who were held in high esteem by the Ottomans and received special tax privileges. The Ottoman's additionally accorded a certain degree of autonomy for the Tatars who were allowed governance by their own kaymakam, Khan Mirza. The Giray dynasty (1427 - 1878) multiplied in Dobruja and maintained their respected position. A Dobrujan Tatar, Kara Hussein, was responsible for the destruction of the Janissary corps on orders from Sultan Mahmut II.

Lipka Tatars

Swedish King Charles X Gustav in a skirmish with Tatars near Warsaw during the Second Northern War of 1655-1660. Lemke Skirmish with Polish Tatars.png
Swedish King Charles X Gustav in a skirmish with Tatars near Warsaw during the Second Northern War of 1655–1660.

The Lipka Tatars are a group of Turkic-speaking Tatars who originally settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the beginning of the 14th century. The first settlers tried to preserve their shamanistic religion and sought asylum amongst the non-Christian Lithuanians. [86] Towards the end of the 14th century Grand Duke Vytautas the Great of Lithuania (ruled 1392–1430) invited another wave of Tatars —Muslims, this time— into the Grand Duchy. These Tatars first settled in Lithuania proper around Vilnius, Trakai, Hrodna and Kaunas [86] and spread to other parts of the Grand Duchy that later became part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569. These areas comprise parts of present-day Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. From the very beginning of their settlement in Lithuania they were known as the Lipka Tatars.

From the 13th to 17th centuries various groups of Tatars settled and/or found refuge within the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Grand Dukes of Lithuania especially promoted the migrations because of the Tatars' reputation as skilled warriors. The Tatar settlers were all granted szlachta (nobility) status, a tradition that survived until the end of the Commonwealth in the late-18th century. Such migrants included the Lipka Tatars (13th–14th centuries) as well as Crimean and Nogay Tatars (15th–16th centuries), all of which were notable in Polish military history, as well as Volga Tatars (16th–17th centuries). They all mostly settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

At the Battle of Warsaw in 1656 Tatars fought with the Poles against the Swedes Tatar attack warsawa 1656.jpg
At the Battle of Warsaw in 1656 Tatars fought with the Poles against the Swedes

Various estimates of the Tatars in the Commonwealth in the 17th century place their numbers at about 15,000 persons and 60 villages with mosques. Numerous royal privileges, as well as internal autonomy granted by the monarchs, allowed the Tatars to preserve their religion, traditions, and culture over the centuries. The Tatars were allowed to intermarry with Christians,a practice uncommon in Europe at the time. The May Constitution of 1791 gave the Tatars representation in the Polish Sejm (parliament).

Although by the 18th century the Tatars had adopted the local language, the Islamic religion and many Tatar traditions (e.g. the sacrifice of bulls in their mosques during the main religious festivals) survived. This led to the formation of a distinctive Muslim culture, in which the elements of Muslim orthodoxy mixed with religious tolerance formed a relatively liberal society. For instance, the women in Lipka Tatar society traditionally had the same rights and status as men, and could attend non-segregated schools.

Lithuanian Tartars of the Imperial Guard at the charge, by Richard Knotel Tartares lituaniens (par Richard Knotel).jpg
Lithuanian Tartars of the Imperial Guard at the charge, by Richard Knötel

About 5,500 Tatars lived within the inter-war boundaries of Poland (1920–1939), and a Tatar cavalry unit had fought for the country's independence. The Tatars had preserved their cultural identity and sustained a number of Tatar organisations, including Tatar archives and a museum in Vilnius.

The Tatars suffered serious losses during World War II and furthermore, after the border change in 1945, a large part of them found themselves in the Soviet Union. It is estimated[ by whom? ] that about 3000 Tatars live in present-day Poland, of which about 500 declared Tatar (rather than Polish) nationality in the 2002 census. There are two Tatar villages (Bohoniki and Kruszyniany) in the north-east of present-day Poland, as well as urban Tatar communities in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Białystok, and Gorzów Wielkopolski. Tatars in Poland sometimes have a Muslim surname with a Polish ending: Ryzwanowicz; another surname sometimes adopted by more assimilated Tatars is Tatara or Tataranowicz or Taterczyński, which literally mean "son of a Tatar".

The Tatars played a relatively prominent role for such a small community in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth military as well as in Polish and Lithuanian political and intellectual life.[ citation needed ] In modern-day Poland, their presence is also widely known, due in part to their noticeable role in the historical novels of Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846–1916), which are universally recognized in Poland. A number of Polish intellectual figures have also been Tatars, e.g. the prominent historian Jerzy Łojek.

A small community of Polish-speaking Tatars settled in Brooklyn, New York City, in the early-20th century. They established a mosque that remained in use as of 2017. [87]

Siberian Tatars

The Siberian Tatars occupy three distinct regions:

They originated in the agglomerations of various indigenous North Asian groups which, in the region north of the Altay, reached some degree of culture between the 4th and 5th centuries, but were subdued and enslaved by the Mongols. [33] The 2010 census recorded 6,779 Siberian Tatars in Russia. According to the 2002 census there are 500,000 Tatars in Siberia, but 400,000 of them are Volga Tatars who settled in Siberia during periods of colonization. [88]


Comparison of the proportions of Caucasoid and Mongoloid characteristics in the gene pools of ethnic groups in the Volga-Ural region revealed a heterogenous pattern. Data on the proportions of major racial components in the nuclear genome indicated that the Mongoloid characters were most prevalent in Bashkirs, Maris, Volga Tatars, and Chuvashes, while the Caucasoid component was maximum in Mordovians, Komis, and Udmurts. Data on restriction-deletion polymorphism of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) also indicated an increased Caucasoid contribution to Mordovian, Udmurt, and Komi gene pools and an increased Mongoloid component in Chuvashes and Volga Tatars. In general, the results obtained agree with ethnic anthropological data indicating the greatest Caucasoid contribution to the Mordovian and Komi gene pools and an increased Mongoloid component in Turkic populations of the Volga-Ural region (Volga Tatars, Bashkirs and Chuvashes). [89]


According to Mylyarchuk and colleagues,

It was found that mtDNA of the Volga Tatars consists of two parts, but western Eurasian component prevails considerably (84% on average) over eastern Asian one (16%).

among 197 Kazan Tatars and Mishars. [90]


See also

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The Golden Horde, self-designated as Ulug Ulus, lit. 'Great State' in Turkic, was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. With the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire after 1259 it became a functionally separate khanate. It is also known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi.

Khanate of Kazan Medieval Tatar Turkic state

The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar Turkic state that occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El, Chuvashia, Mordovia, and parts of Udmurtia and Bashkortostan; its capital was the city of Kazan. It was one of the successor states of the Golden Horde, and it came to an end when it was conquered by the Tsardom of Russia.

Crimean Tatar language East European Turkic language spoken in Crimea, and the Crimean Tatar diasporas in Turkey, Central Asia (mainly in Uzbekistan), Romania, Bulgaria

Crimean Tatar language, also called Crimean language, is a Kipchak Turkic language spoken in Crimea and the Crimean Tatar diasporas of Uzbekistan, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as small communities in the United States and Canada. It should not be confused with Tatar proper, spoken in Tatarstan and adjacent regions in Russia; the languages are related, but belong to two different subgroups of the Kipchak languages and thus are not mutually intelligible. It has been extensively influenced by nearby Oghuz dialects.

Crimean Tatars Turkic ethnic group, an indigenous people of Crimea

Crimean Tatars or Crimeans, are an East European Turkic ethnic group and nation, who are an indigenous people of Crimea. The formation and ethnogenesis of Crimean Tatars occurred during the 13th–17th centuries, from Cumans that appeared in Crimea in the 10th century, with strong contributions from all the peoples who ever inhabited Crimea, including Greeks, Italians and Goths.

Crimean Khanate Historical Turkic state (15–18th centuries), one of the successor states of the Golden Horde

The Crimean Khanate, own name — Great Horde and Desht-i Kipchak, in old European historiography and geography — Little Tartary was a Crimean Tatar state existing from 1441 to 1783, the longest-lived of the Turkic khanates that succeeded the empire of the Golden Horde. Established by Hacı I Giray in 1441, it was regarded as the direct heir to the Golden Horde and to Desht-i-Kipchak.

Astrakhan Khanate Medieval Tatar khanate

The Khanate of Astrakhan, also referred to as the Xacitarxan Khanate, was a Tatar state that arose during the break-up of the Golden Horde. The Khanate existed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the area adjacent to the mouth of the Volga river, around the modern city of Astrakhan. Its khans claimed patrilineal descent from Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan.

Devlet I Giray Khan

Devlet I Giray was a Crimean Khan. His long and eventful reign saw many highly significant historical events: the fall of Kazan to Russia in 1552, the fall of the Astrakhan Khanate to Russia in 1556, the burning of Moscow at the hands of the Crimean Tatars in 1571 and the defeat of the Crimeans near Moscow in 1572. During Devlet's reign there were a number of Cossack raids on Crimea.

The Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria lasted from 1223 to 1236. The Bulgar state, centered in lower Volga and Kama, was the center of the fur trade in Eurasia throughout most of its history. Before the Mongol conquest, Russians of Novgorod and Vladimir repeatedly looted and attacked the area, thereby weakening the Bulgar state's economy and military power. The latter ambushed the Mongols in the later 1223 or in 1224. Several clashes occurred between 1229–1234, and the Mongol Empire conquered the Bulgars in 1236.

Nogai Horde Former country

Nogay Horde was a confederation of about eighteen Turkic and Mongol tribes that occupied the Pontic-Caspian steppe from about 1500 until they were pushed west by the Kalmyks and south by the Russians in the 17th century. The Mongol tribe called the Manghits constituted a core of the Nogay Horde.

Great Horde

The Great Horde was a rump state of the Golden Horde that existed from the mid 15th century to 1502. It was centered at the core of the Golden Horde at Sarai. Both the Khanate of Astrakhan and the Khanate of Crimea broke away from the Great Horde throughout its existence, states that were hostile to the Great Horde. The defeat of the forces of the Great Horde at the Great Stand on the Ugra River by Ivan III of Russia marked the end of the Tatar yoke over Russia.

The Volga Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Volga-Ural region of Russia. They are subdivided into various subgroups. Volga Tatars are Russia's second-largest ethnicity after the Russians. They compose 53% of the population of Tatarstan and 25% of the population of Bashkortostan.

The Russo-Crimean Wars were fought between the forces of Russia and the Nogays of the Crimean Khanate during the 16th century over the region around the Volga River.

The Mangghud, Manghud were a Mongol tribe of the Urud-Manghud federation. They established the Nogai Horde in the 14th century and the Manghit Dynasty to rule the Emirate of Bukhara in 1785. They took the Islamic title of Emir instead of the title of Khan since they were not descendants of Genghis Khan and rather based their legitimacy to rule on Islam. The clan name was used for Mongol vanguards as well. Their descendants live in several regions of the former Mongol Empire.

A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a khan, khagan, khatun, or khanum. This political entity was typically found on the Eurasian Steppe and could be equivalent in status to tribal chiefdom, principality, kingdom or empire.

Mehmed I Giray

Mehmed I Giray was khan of the Crimean Khanate. He was preceded by his father Meñli I Giray and followed by his son Ğazı I Giray (1523–1524). He gained control of the steppe nomads, put his brother on the throne of Kazan and was killed after taking Astrakhan. Had he not been killed he might have joined the three khanates with the Nogais and re-created something like the Golden Horde.

Nogais Turkic ethnic group in Russian North Caucasus region

The Nogais are a Turkic ethnic group who live in the Russian North Caucasus region. Most are found in Northern Dagestan and Stavropol Krai, as well as in Karachay-Cherkessia and Astrakhan Oblast; some also live in Chechnya. They speak the Nogai language and are descendants of various Mongolic and Turkic tribes who formed the Nogai Horde. There are two main groups of Nogais:


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  5. 1 2 В Турции проживают до 6 миллионов потомков крымских татар
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  47. citing a letter to St Louis of Frances dated 1270 which makes the connection explicit, "In the present danger of the Tartars either we shall push them back into the Tartarus whence they are come, or they will bring us all into heaven"
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  50. Encyclopædia Britannica: Tatar, also spelled Tartar, any member of several Turkic-speaking peoples ...
  51. The Columbia Encyclopedia: Tatars (tä´tərz) or Tartars (tär´tərz), Turkic-speaking peoples living primarily in Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  52. Merriam-Webster: Tatar – a member of any of a group of Turkic peoples found mainly in the Tatar Republic of Russia and parts of Siberia and central Asia
  53. Oxford Dictionaries: Tatar – a member of a Turkic people living in Tatarstan and various other parts of Russia and Ukraine.
  54. Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa: Turks are an ethnolinguistic group living in a broad geographic expanse extending from southeastern Europe through Anatolia and the Caucasus Mountains and throughout Central Asia. Thus Turks include the Turks of Turkey, the Azeris of Azerbaijan, and the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Turkmen, and Uzbeks of Central Asia, as well as many smaller groups in Asia speaking Turkic languages.
  55. Encyclopædia Britannica: Tatar, also spelled Tartar, any member of several Turkic-speaking peoples ... The Columbia Encyclopedia: Tatars (tä´tərz) or Tartars (tär´tərz), Turkic-speaking peoples living primarily in Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Merriam-Webster: Tatar – a member of any of a group of Turkic peoples found mainly in the Tatar Republic of Russia and parts of Siberia and central Asia Oxford Dictionaries: Tatar – a member of a Turkic people living in Tatarstan and various other parts of Russia and Ukraine. They are the descendants of the Tartars who ruled central Asia in the 14th century. Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa: Turks are an ethnolinguistic group living in a broad geographic expanse extending from southeastern Europe through Anatolia and the Caucasus Mountains and throughout Central Asia. Thus Turks include the Turks of Turkey, the Azeris of Azerbaijan, and the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tatars, Turkmen, and Uzbeks of Central Asia, as well as many smaller groups in Asia speaking Turkic languages.
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  58. The name originating from the name of Spruce-fir Taiga forests in Russian language: черневая тайга
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  61. also rarely called Crimean language or even more rarely Crimean Turkic
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  69. Halil İnalcik, 1942 [ page needed ]
  70. Great Russian Encyclopedia: Вер­хов­ная власть при­над­ле­жа­ла ха­ну – пред­ста­ви­те­лю ди­на­стии Ги­ре­ев, ко­то­рый яв­лял­ся вас­са­лом тур. сул­та­на (офи­ци­аль­но за­кре­п­ле­но в 1580-х гг., ко­гда имя сул­та­на ста­ло про­из­но­сить­ся пе­ред име­нем ха­на во вре­мя пят­нич­ной мо­лит­вы, что в му­сульм. ми­ре слу­жи­ло при­зна­ком вас­са­ли­те­та)
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  75. He was claiming: "Such a strong and merciless enemy as Moscow, falling on its feet, fell into our hands. This is such a convenient case when, if we wish so, we can capture Russia from one side to the other, since I know for sure that the whole the strength of the Russian army is this army. Our task now is to pat the Russian army so that it cannot move anywhere from this place, and we will get to Moscow and bring the matter to the point that the Russian Tsar would be appointed by our padishah" (Halim Giray, 1822)
  76. Halim Giray, 1822 (in Russian)
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