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Europe in the 9th century

Finnic peoples (Fennic) were a historic linguistic group who spoke Finnic languages: Baltic Finns, who lived near the Baltic Sea, Volga Finns, who lived near the Volga River, the Permians, who lived in north-central Russia. [nb 1] [nb 2]

The major modern representatives of Baltic Finns who have maintained their languages are the Finns and Estonians. [nb 3] [4]

The modern representatives of Volga Finns are the Mari [nb 4] or Cheremis who live in Mari El Republic and the Mordvins (including the Moksha and the Erzya) from the Republic of Mordovia of the Russian Federation. Other Volga Finnic groups such as Muromians, Merya and Meshchera of which there are records have long since disappeared.[4]

Other groups include the Karelians[nb 5] , mainly living in Karelia, in Finland and northwestern Russia, the Ingrian Finns [nb 6] , Votes, and Veps [nb 7] living around the Gulf of Finland and Lakes Onega and Ladoga,[4] and the Setos and Võros, who live in south-eastern Estonia. In parts of northern Sweden, a Finnic language or a dialect (Meänkieli) has a considerable presence and a Finnic-speaking minority, Kvens, live in Norway. The native speakers in the smaller groups are disappearing. In the 20th century both Livonian and Votic had fewer than 100 speakers left.

The term Finnic has been formerly used to describe the speakers of Finno-Lappic[9] languages, nowadays the Sami people, originally a non-Finno-Ugric people who adopted a Finnic language.[1] [nb 8] The Permians including Komis [nb 9] and Udmurts [nb 10] are sometimes thought to belong with the Volga Finns because according to some theories their ancient homeland lies in the northern part of the Volga River basin.[13]




Maternal DNA

The mtDNA studies have revealed that Baltic-Finns and Volga-Finns have the same genetic origins as the rest of Europeans who don't speak Finno-Ugric languages. At the same time the genetic studies have shown that for example the Sami who are linguistically related but genetically distinct from Baltic-Finns have the highest mtDNA haplogroup V frequency in Europe (40.9%), followed by Catalonians (26.7%) and Basque (20.0%), making the Sami a unique and ancient sub-group of Europeans.[14]

According to year 2000 data the most common mtDNA Haplogroup Frequencies and the genetic diversity among Baltic Finns, Volga Finns were following:[15]

mtDNA Haplogroup H I J K T U3 U4 U5 V W X Other IWX HV KU JT Genetic diversity
Finland .278 .063 .044 .051 .051 .000 .025 .139 .089 .076 .000 .127 .152 .367 .215 .139 .970
Estonia .214 .000 .000 .000 .107 .000 .071 .179 .000 .071 .000 .250 .107 .214 .250 .179 .989
Karelia .313 .024 .000 .024 .072 .000 .084 .181 .060 .036 .000 .120 .096 .373 .289 .120 .964
Volga-Finnic .176 .029 .032 .029 .118 .000 .147 .118 .029 .000 .000 .176 .029 .206 .294 .294 .982

Haplogroup U is a group of people who descend from a woman who lived around 50,000 years ago in the Haplogroup R branch of the Genographic tree. Her descendants gave birth to several subgroups, some of which exhibit specific geographic homelands. For example a subgroup U5 is restricted to Finland and its populations. This is likely the result of geographical, linguistic and cultural isolation of the Finnish populations that has kept it fairly isolated genetically. Haplogroup U5 that first evolved in Europe is a group of people who descend from a woman who lived around 52,000 years ago.[16] U5 is found also in small frequencies and at much lower diversity in the Near East and parts of Africa, suggesting back-migration of people from northern Europe to the south.

Paternal DNA

One of the men in a group of Eurasian Clan peoples who was probably born in Siberia within the last 10,000 years gave rise to the LLY22G marker which defines haplogroup N in the Genographic tree. Today his descendants effectively trace a migration of Uralic-speaking peoples during the last several thousands of years like the Sami people, the people of Northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The Sami also have U5 lineages in their population indicating that it may have been introduced during their migration into these northern territories.[17]

A genetic link between Sami and the Volga-Ural region of Russia has been found, indicative of a more recent contribution of people from the Volga-Ural region to the Sami population as recently as 2700 years ago.[18]

The Y-chromosomal data has also revealed a common Finno-Ugric ancestry for the males of the neighboring Baltic peoples, speakers of the Indo-European Baltic languages. According to the studies, Baltic males are most closely related to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Volga Finns such as the Mari, rather than to Baltic Finns.[19] The indicator of Finno-Ugric origin has been found to be more frequent in Latvians (42%) and Lithuanians (43%) than in Estonians (34%). The results suggest that the territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been settled by Finno-Ugric-speaking tribes since the early Mesolithic period.[20]

History of the Baltic Finnic peoples

The Mesolithic Period

The region has been populated since the end of the last glacial era, about 10.000 B.C. The earliest traces of human settlement are connected with Suomusjärvi culture and Kunda culture. The Early Mesolithic Pulli settlement is located by the Pärnu River. It has been dated to the beginning of the 9th millennium BC. The Kunda Culture received its name from the Lammasmäe settlement site in northern Estonia, which dates from earlier than 8500.[21] Bone and stone artefacts similar to those found at Kunda have been discovered elsewhere in Estonia, as well as in Latvia, northern Lithuania and southern Finland.

The Neolithic Period

Around 5300 BCE pottery entered Finland. The earliest representatives belong to the Comb Ceramic Cultures, known for their distinctive decorating patterns. This marks the beginning of the Neolithic Period

Comb Ceramic Culture

Neolithic period

Until the early 1980s the arrival of Finnic peoples, the ancestors of the Estonians, Finns, Livonians on the shores of the Baltic sea around 3000 B.C. was associated with the Comb Ceramic Culture[22] However , such a linking of archaeologically defined cultural entities with linguistic ones cannot be proven and it has been suggested that the increase of settlement finds in the period is more likely to have been associated with an economic boom related to the warming of climate. Some researchers have even argued that a form of Uralic languages may have been spoken in Estonia and Finland since the end of the last glaciation.[23]

Bronze Age

The beginning of the Bronze Age in Estonia is dated to approximately 1800 B.C. In present day Finland some time after 1500 BCE. The coastal regions of Finland were a part of the Nordic Bronze Culture, whereas in the inland regions the influences came from the bronze-using cultures of Northern Russia. The development of the borders between the Finnic peoples and the Balts was under way. The first fortified settlements, Asva and Ridala on the island of Saaremaa and Iru in the Northern Estonia began to be built. The development of shipbuilding facilitated the spread of bronze. Changes took place in burial customs, a new type of burial ground spread from Germanic to Estonian areas, stone cist graves and cremation burials became increasingly common aside small number of boat-shaped stone graves.[24]

The Iron Age

The Pre-Roman Iron Age began in about 500 B.C. and lasted until the middle of the century A.D. The oldest iron items were imported, although since the first century iron was smelted from local marsh and lake ore. Settlement sites were located mostly in places that offered natural protection. Fortresses were built, although used temporarily. The appearance of square Celtic fields surrounded by enclosures in Estonia date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The majority of stones with man-made indents, which presumably were connected with magic designed to increase crop fertility, date from this period. A new type of grave, quadrangular burial mounds began to develop. Burial traditions show the clear beginning of social stratification.

The Roman Iron Age is roughly dated to between 50 and 450 A.D., the era that was affected by the influence of the Roman Empire. In material culture this is reflected by few Roman coins, some jewellery and artifacts. The abundance of iron artifacts in Southern Estonia speaks of closer mainland ties with southern areas while coastal Finland and the islands of western and northern Estonia communicated with their neighbors mainly by sea.

By the end of the period clearly defined tribal dialectical areas: (proper-)Finns, Tavastians, Karelians, Northern Estonias, Southern Estonias, and Western Estonias including the islands had emerged, the population of each having formed its own understanding of identity.[25]

Early Middle Ages

Finnic peoples in chronicles

Finnic peoples mentioned by the monk Nestor: Chuds, Veps, Permians, Merya, Murom, Mari

The word Finn is first mentioned in the form fenni in the first century AD by Tacitus, the Roman historian. However it is possible that he was referring to the people of northern Europe in general, particularly the Lappic or Sami people. After that the name finni is used by Claudius Ptolemaeus (170 AD) and the Gothic writer Jordanes in his Getica (551 AD). The first sure mention in the western sources referring to Finns is considered to be in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf (800 AD). Information about Finnic tribes becomes much more numerous from the Viking era (800-1050). It was not until abut 1171 that the word Finni was employed to mean the Finns.

The term Eesti, the name of the Estonians occurs first again by Tacitus, however, it might have indicated Baltic peoples. In Northern Sagas (9th century) the term started to be used to indicate the Estonians.

In a Norwegian text (11-12 century) the first mention of the name 'Kiriali referring to Karelians, as well as the term 'cornuti Finni, interpreted as referring to the Lapps or Sami people appears.

The Russian Primary Chronicle's opening chapter lists the following peoples living "in the share of Japheth" among others: Chud, Merya, Muroma,Ves, Mordvin (Moksha and Erzya), Chud beyond the portages, Perm, Pechera, Yam, Ugra, Liv.[26]

The name Sum, that is Suomi (Finland in Finnish), is found in the oldest Russian, Nestor's Chronicle (1000-1100). The names of other Finnic tribes are also listed including Veps, Cheremis, Mordvin (Moksha and Erzya), Permian.[27]

The Chudes as mentioned by a monk Nestor in the earliest Russian chronicles, were the Ests or Esthonians [28]. According to the Russian Primary Chronicle Chuds bordered on the Varangian Sea (Baltic sea).[26] In 1030 Yaroslav I the Wise invaded the country of the Chuds and laid the foundations of Yuriev,[29] (the historical Russian name of Tartu, Estonia) they remained until 1061, when, according to chronicles, Yuryev was burned down by the Chudes. According to Old East Slavic chronicles the Chudes were one of the founders of the Rus' state.[28]

The Northern (or eastern) Chudes were also a mythical people in folklore among Northern Russians and their neighbours. In Komi mythology, the Northern Chudes represent the mythic ancestors of the Komi people[30]

Middle Ages

In the 13th century the east Baltic world was transformed by military conquest: First the Livs and Estonians, then the Finns underwent defeat, baptism, military occupation and sometimes extermination by groups of Germans, Danes and Swedes.[31]

Inter-Finnic cultural contacts

Finnic intercultural festivals, conferences, museums, and artistic, scholarly, and charity collaborations are present and active amongst many populations of speakers of Finnic languages. In addition, artists and scholars from many Finnic peoples, such as Estonians, Finns, Udmurts, Mordvins (Erzya and Moksha), Maris, and others, are active in the Finno-Ugric peoples related Ethnofuturist art-based cultural and philosophical movement.

Notes and References

  1. ^ Finnic has four major sub-divisions: the Lapps, the Baltic Finnic peoples, the Volga Finnic peoples, and the Permians[1]
  2. ^ The Finnic Peoples of the USSR are divided linguistically into five groups. Western (Balto-Finnic), Northern (Lapp), Mordvinian, Eastern (Mari), and Permian.[2]
  3. ^ The Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the neighboring Finns[3]
  4. ^ The Maris are a Finnic people, belonging to the Volga branch of the Finno-Ugric nations[5]
  5. ^ The Karels are a Finnic nation, descendants of a collection of tribal peoples who migrated from the Volga River region[6]
  6. ^ The Ingrians or Ingers, who call themselves and their homeland Inkeri, are a Finnic people, the remnant of a much larger pre-World War II Ingrian population[7]
  7. ^ The Veps are a Finnic people culturally and linguistically related to the neighboring Karels[8]
  8. ^ The roots of Sami ethnicity derive from people arrived from eastern Finland and spoke Proto-Sami, which had diverged from Early Proto-Finnic. These people were thus assimilated into people already resident in the North who spoke some ancient European or Uralic language.[10]
  9. ^ The Komis, the most northerly of the Finnic peoples, inhabit the upper Vychegda and Pechora river basins[11]
  10. ^ The Udmurts are a Finnic people, one of the nations that make up the eastern branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples concentrated in the Volga River basin[12]
  1. ^ a b Sinor, p 130
  2. ^ Wixman, p. 68
  3. ^ Minahan, p 234
  4. ^ a b c Finnic Peoples at Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. ^ Minahan, p 457
  6. ^ Minahan, p 369
  7. ^ Minahan, p 320
  8. ^ Minahan, p 721
  9. ^ Finno-Lappic at Google Books, at Google Scholar
  10. ^ Jarvenpa, p 158
  11. ^ Minahan, p 379
  12. ^ Minahan, p 703
  13. ^ Minahan, James (2004). The Former Soviet Union's Diverse Peoples. ABC-CLIO. pp. 115. ISBN 9781576078235.  
  14. ^ Niskanen, Markku (2002). "The Origin of the Baltic-Finns" (PDF). The Mankind Quarterly. Retrieved 2008-10-06.  
  15. ^ Simoni L, Calafell F, Pettener D, Bertranpetit J, Barbujani G (January 2000). "Geographic patterns of mtDNA diversity in Europe". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 66 (1): 262–78. doi:10.1086/302706. PMID 10631156.  
  16. ^ Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA
  17. ^ The Genographic Project at National Geographic
  18. ^ Ingman M, Gyllensten U (January 2007). "A recent genetic link between Sami and the Volga-Ural region of Russia". Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 15 (1): 115–20. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201712. PMID 16985502.  
  19. ^ Siiri Rootsi (19 October 2004). "Human Y-Chromosomal Variation in European Populations" (PDF). Tartu University Press. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  20. ^ Laitinen, Virpi; Päivi Lahermo (August 24, 2001). "Y-Chromosomal Diversity Suggests that Baltic Males Share Common Finno-Ugric-Speaking Forefathers" (PDF). Department of Genetics, University of Turku, Turku, Finnish Genome Center, University of Helsinki. Retrieved 2008-10-08.  
  21. ^ Jean-Jacques Subrenat (2004). Estonia: Identity and Independence: Translated into English (On the Boundary of Two Worlds: Identity, Freedom, and Moral Imagination in the Baltics, 2) ... and Moral Imagination in the Baltics). Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 24. ISBN 90-420-0890-3.  
  22. ^ Minahan, James (1998). Miniature empires: a historical dictionary of the newly independent states. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. pp. 153. ISBN 0-313-30610-9.  
  23. ^ Helle, Knut (2003). The Cambridge history of Scandinavia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 51. ISBN 0-521-47299-7.  
  24. ^ Jean-Jacques Subrenat (2004). Estonia: Identity and Independence. pp. 26.  
  25. ^ Jean-Jacques Subrenat (2004). Estonia: Identity and Independence. pp. 28–31.  
  26. ^ a b Samuel H. Cross (1968). Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text. Medieval Academy of Amer. pp. 52. ISBN 0-910956-34-0.  
  27. ^ Angela Marcantonio (2002). The Uralic Language Family: Facts, Myths and Statistics (Publications of the Philological Society). Blackwell Publishing Professional. pp. 21–3. ISBN 0-631-23170-6.  
  28. ^ a b Pre- and Proto-historic Finns by John Abercromby p.141
  29. ^ Pre- and Proto-historic Finns by John Abercromby p.142
  30. ^ FOREST MYTHS by Pavel F. Limerov at google.scholar
  31. ^ Christiansen, Eric (1997). The northern Crusades. Harmondsworth [Eng.]: Penguin. pp. 93. ISBN 0-14-026653-4.  

See also

External links


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