Ingrian Finns

Inkerin lippu.svg
The Ingrians (Finnish: inkeriläiset, inkerinsuomalaiset; Russian: Ингерманландцы, Ingermanlandtsy), sometimes called Ingrian Finns, are the Finnish population of Ingria (now the central part of Leningrad Oblast in Russia), descending from Lutheran Finnish immigrants introduced into the area in the 17th century, when Finland and Ingria were both parts of the Swedish Empire. In the forced deportations before and after World War II most of them were relocated to other parts of the Soviet Union. Today the Ingrian Finns constitute the largest part of the Finnish population of the Russian Federation. According to some records, some 25,000 Ingrian Finns have returned or still reside in the Saint Petersburg region.

Finnish-speaking Ingrians are not to be confused with Izhorian-speaking Ingrians. Ingrian Finns mainly constitute of two groups: Savakot originated from migrant Savonians and Äyrämöiset coming from the Karelian Isthmus (mostly from Äyräpää), then parts of the Swedish realm. They were Lutheran resettlers and migrant workers who moved to Ingria during the period of Swedish rule 1617–1703. Others originated from more or less voluntary conversion among the indigenous Finnic-speaking Votes and Izhorians, where approved by the Swedish authorities. Finns made up 41.1 percent of the population of Ingria in 1656, 53.2 percent in 1661, 55.2 percent in 1666, 56.9 percent in 1671 and 73.8 percent in 1695.

After the Russian reconquest and the foundation of Saint Petersburg (1703), the flow of migration was reversed. Russian nobles were granted land in Ingria, and Lutheran Ingrian Finns left Ingria, where they were in minority, for the area known as Old Finland, north of the Gulf of Finland, which Russia had gained from Sweden during the 18th century, and where Lutherans were a large majority. There the Ingrian Finns assimilated with the Karelian Finns.

In 1870, the printing of the first Finnish-language newspaper, Pietarin Sanomat, started in Ingria. Before that Ingria received newspapers mostly from Vyborg. The first public library was opened in 1850, in Tyrö. The largest of the libraries, situated in Skuoritsa, had more than 2,000 volumes in the second half of the 19th century. In 1899, the first song festival in Ingria was held in Puutosti (Skuoritsa).

By 1897, the number of Ingrian Finns had grown to 130,413, and by 1917 it exceeded 140,000 (45,000 in Northern Ingria, 52,000 in Central (Eastern) Ingria and 30,000 in Western Ingria, the rest in Petrograd).

After the October Revolution, Ingrian Finns inhabiting the southern part of the Karelian Isthmus seceded from Bolshevik Russia and formed the short-lived Republic of North Ingria, which was backed by Finland. It was reintegrated with Russia at the end of 1920 under the Treaty of Tartu, but it enjoyed a certain degree of national autonomy. From 1928 to 1939, Ingrian Finns in North Ingria constituted the Kuivaisi National District with its center in Toksova and Finnish as its official language.

This page was last edited on 22 April 2018, at 14:48 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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