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Finno-Ugric peoples

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Finno-Ugric peoples
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 United States2,288,100
Christianity, Shamanism and Animism
Related ethnic groups
Samoyedic peoples
Flag of the Finno-Ugric peoples.

The Finno-Ugric peoples or Finno-Ugrian peoples, are the peoples of Northeast Europe, North Asia and the Carpathian Basin who speak Finno-Ugric languages – that is, speakers of languages of the Uralic family apart from the Samoyeds. Many Finno-Ugric peoples are surrounded by speakers of languages belonging to other language families. The concept of Finno-Ugric was originally a linguistic rather than ethnic one, but a sense of ethnic fraternity between Finno-Ugric–speaking peoples, especially Baltic Finns, developed during the 20th century.

The four most numerous Finno-Ugric peoples are the Hungarians (13–14 million), Finns (6–7 million), Estonians (1.1 million) and Mordvins (744,000). The first three of these inhabit independent states – Hungary, Finland, and Estonia – whereas Mordovia is a republic within Russia.

Other Finno-Ugric peoples have autonomous republics within Russia: Karelians (Republic of Karelia), Komi (Komi Republic), Udmurts (Udmurt Republic), Mari (Mari El Republic), and Mordvins (Moksha and Erzya; Republic of Mordovia). The Khanty and Mansi peoples live in Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug of Russia. The Komi subgroup Komi-Permyaks used to live in Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug, but today this area is a territory with special status within Perm Krai.

The traditional area of the indigenous Sami people is in Northern Fenno-Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula in Northwest Russia and is known as Sápmi.


Geographic distribution[edit]

Finno-Ugric languages

Ethnic groups[edit]

People Group Traditional language Language group Culture area[1] Numbers Most important territory Other traditional territories Subgroups
Khanty Ob peoples Khanty language possibly Ugric Arctic culture area 31,000[2] Khanty-Mansi Yamalo-Nenets
Mansi Ob peoples Mansi language possibly Ugric Arctic culture area 12,000[2] Khanty-Mansi
Hungarians (Magyar) Hungarian language possibly Ugric Danube culture area 13,000,000–14,000,000 Hungary Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine Székely, Csángó, Jász
Komis Permians Komi language Permic languages Arctic culture area 323,000[2] Komi Republic Perm Krai Komi-Permyaks
Udmurts Permians Udmurt language Permic languages Volga culture area 552,000[2] Udmurt Republic Besermyan
Maris Volga Finns Mari language Volga culture area 548,000[2] Mari Republic Bashkortostan Meadow Mari, Hill Mari, Eastern Mari
Mordvins Volga Finns Erzya and Moksha languages Mordvinic languages Volga culture area 744,000[2] Mordva Republic Samara Oblast, Penza Oblast, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Orenburg Oblast Erzyas, Mokshas
Finns Baltic Finns Finnish language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 6,200,000–7,000,000 Finland Leningrad Oblast, Karelia Republic, Sweden, Norway Tornedalians, Forest Finns, Kvens, Ingrian Finns, Tavastians, Ostrobothnians, Savonians, Finns (proper)
Karelians Baltic Finns Karelian language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 61,000 Karelia Republic Tver Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Leningrad Oblast Karelians (proper), Olonets Karelians, Ludic Karelians
Vepsians Baltic Finns Veps language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 5,900[2] Karelia Republic Leningrad Oblast, Vologda Oblast
Izhorians Baltic Finns Ingrian language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 300[2] Leningrad Oblast
Votes Baltic Finns Vote language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 60[2] Leningrad Oblast
Estonians Baltic Finns Estonian language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 1,100,000 Estonia Latvia, Leningrad Oblast, Pskov Oblast Setos, Võros
Livonians Baltic Finns Livonian language Finnic languages Baltic Sea culture area 180 Latvia
Sámi Sami Sami languages Arctic culture area 80,000 Norway Sweden, Finland, Murmansk Oblast Inari Sami, Skolt Sami
Pie chart showing the percentage rates of specific nations speaking languages of the Finno-Ugric family

Ethnic groups with extinct languages[edit]

International Finno-Ugric societies[edit]

In the Finno-Ugric countries of Finland, Estonia and Hungary that find themselves surrounded by speakers of unrelated tongues, language origins and language history have long been relevant to national identity. In 1992, the 1st World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples was organized in Syktyvkar in the Komi Republic in Russia, the 2nd World Congress in 1996 in Budapest in Hungary, the 3rd Congress in 2000 in Helsinki in Finland, the 4th Congress in 2004 in Tallinn in Estonia, the 5th Congress in 2008 in Khanty-Mansyisk in Russia, and the 6th Congress in 2012 in Siófok in Hungary.[3][4][5][6] The members of the Finno-Ugric Peoples' Consultative Committee include: the Erzyas, Estonians, Finns, Hungarians, Ingrian Finns, Ingrians, Karelians, Khants, Komis, Mansis, Maris, Mokshas, Nenetses, Permian Komis, Saamis, Tver Karelians, Udmurts, Vepsians; Observers: Livonians, Setos.[7][8]

In 2007, the 1st Festival of the Finno-Ugric Peoples was hosted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and visited by Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, and Hungarian Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány.[9][10]


Shamanism has had a historically important influence on the mythologies of northern and central Eurasian peoples, including those speaking languages of the Uralic, Yeniseian, Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic language families. Among the Finno-Ugric peoples, though also in Indo-European and North American mythology, are found myths about a world tree or axis mundi, capped by the North Star, at the center of the world, which is encircled by a stream, the idea that asterisms were animal spirits, the idea that the land of the dead beneath the earth was also the home of spirits, and the earth-diver: a bird floating on the primary ocean that dives to bring up the land.[11][12]

Population genetics[edit]

A study of Population Genetics of Finno-Ugric speaking humans in North Eurasia carried out between 2002–2008 in the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Helsinki showed that most of the Finno-Ugric speaking populations possess an amalgamation of West and East Eurasian gene pools, genetic drift, and recurrent founder effects. North Eurasian Finno-Ugric-speaking populations were found to be genetically a heterogeneous group showing lower haplotype diversities compared to more southern populations. North Eurasian Finno-Ugric-speaking populations possess unique genetic features due to complex genetic changes shaped by molecular and population genetics and adaptation to the areas of Boreal and Arctic North Eurasia.[13]

The proposal of a Finno-Ugric language family has led to the postulation not just of an ancient Proto–Finno-Ugric people, but that the modern Finno-Ugric–speaking peoples are genetically related and descended from East Asian-related hunter gatherers of eastern Siberia.[14] Such hypotheses are based on the assumption that heredity can be traced though linguistic relatedness.[15] However, Finno-Ugric has not been reconstructed linguistically; attempts to do so have been indistinguishable from Proto-Uralic.[16]

A recent study has found that haplogroup NO of the Finno-Ugric peoples and their descendants probably spread north, then west and east from Northern China about 12,000–14,000 years ago from its father lineage and today is found in Eastern Europe. The Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Helsinki showed that most of the Finno-Ugric speaking populations possess an amalgamation of West and East Eurasian gene pools, supporting the idea of mixed origins in these modern populations.

The characteristic genetic marker of peoples speaking Uralic languages is haplogroup N1c-Tat (Y-DNA). Samoyedic peoples mainly have more N1b-P43 than N1c.[17] Haplogroup N originated in the northern part of China in 20,000–25,000 years BP[18] and spread to north Eurasia, through Siberia to Northern Europe. Subgroup N1c1 is frequently seen in non-Samoyedic peoples, N1c2 in Samoyedic peoples. In addition, haplogroup Z (mtDNA), found with low frequency in Saami, Finns, and Siberians, is related to the migration of people speaking Uralic languages.

In 2019, a study based on genetics, archaeology and linguistics found that Uralic speakers arrived in the Baltic region from the East, specifically from Siberia, at the beginning of the Iron Age some 2,500 years ago.[19]


See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Korhonen, Mikko: Uralin tällä ja tuolla puolen. In the book Laakso, Johanna (edit.): Uralilaiset kansat, p. 23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Demoskop Weekly No 543-544 Archived October 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "7th World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples". World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples. Archived from the original on 17 March 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Statutes of the Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugrian peoples". Finno-Ugric Peoples' Consultative Committee. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. ^ "The Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples". Russia. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Fenno-Ugria". Estonia. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Finno-Ugric Peoples' Consultative Committee, Members". World Congresses of the Finno-Ugric Peoples. Finno-Ugric Peoples' Consultative Committee. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura (in Finnish)". Finno-Ugrian Society (in English). Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  9. ^ "International Festival of the Finno-Ugric Peoples". Press Release from the Kremlin in Russia. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Press Statements by President Vladimir Putin, leaders of Finland and Hungary". Press Release from the Kremlin in Russia. July 19, 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  11. ^ Leeming, David Adams (2003), "The Finno-Ugrians", From Olympus to Camelot, Oxford University Press, pp. 134–137, ISBN 978-0-19-514361-4
  12. ^ Vladimir Napolskikh. Earth-Diver Myth (А812) in northern Eurasia and North America: twenty years later
  13. ^ Pimenoff, Ville (2008). "Living on the edge : Population genetics of Finno-Ugric-speaking humans in North Eurasia". University of Helsinki, Finland. Retrieved 12 April 2019.PhD thesis
  14. ^ Gyarmathi, Sámuel (1 January 1983). Grammatical Proof of the Affinity of the Hungarian Language with Languages of Fennic Origin. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-90-272-0976-4.
  15. ^ "FAQ about Finno-Ugricn Languages". Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  16. ^ "Problems in the Taxonomy of the Uralic languages in the Light of Modern Comparative Studies". Salminen, Tapani. 2002.
  17. ^ Tambets, Kristiina; Rootsi, Siiri; Kivisild, Toomas; Help, Hela; Serk, Piia; Loogväli, Eva-Liis; Tolk, Helle-Viivi; et al. (2004). "The Western and Eastern Roots of the Saami—the Story of Genetic 'Outliers' Told by Mitochondrial DNA and Y Chromosomes". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 74 (4): 661–682. doi:10.1086/383203. PMC 1181943. PMID 15024688.
  18. ^ Shi H, Qi X, Zhong H, Peng Y, Zhang X, et al. (2013). "Genetic evidence of an East Asian origin and Paleolithic northward migration of Y-chromosome haplogroup N". PLOS ONE. 8 (6): e66102. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...866102S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066102. PMC 3688714. PMID 23840409.
  19. ^ Saag, Lehti; Laneman, Margot; Varul, Liivi; Lang, Valter; Metspal, Mait; Tambets, Kristiina (May 2019). "The Arrival of Siberian Ancestry Connecting the Eastern Baltic to Uralic Speakers further East". Current Biology. 29 (10): 1701–1711.e16. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.04.026. PMC 6544527. PMID 31080083.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mile Nedeljković, Leksikon naroda sveta, Beograd, 2001.
  • People of Volga and Uralic regions. Komi-Zyrians. Komi-Permyaks. Mari. Mordvins. Udmurts. Moscow, 2000. (Russian: Народы Поволжья и Приуралья. Коми-зыряне. Коми-пермяки. Марийцы. Мордва. Удмурты. М., 2000.)
  • Petrukhin, Vladimir. Myths of Finno-Ugric Peoples. Moscow, 2005. 463 p. (Russian: Петрухин В. Я. Мифы финно-угров. М., 2005. 463 с.)
  • World Outlook of Finno-Ugric People. Moscow, 1990. (Russian: Мировоззрение финно-угорских народов. М., 1990.)
  • "Early contacts (4000 BC – 1000AD) between Indo-European and Uralic speakers". Riho Grünthal, Volker Heyd, Mika Lavento, Johanna Nichols & Janne Saarikivi with the help of Satu Keinänen. Editing and layout by Bianca Preda. University of Helsinki.

External links[edit]