Russia is a vast country covering a massive geographical area, from east to west it covers 11 time-zones and is the largest country in the world. It is only natural that a great different number of indigenous people found home within its international borders.
The population of Russia is 147 million, which makes it the 9th largest populated country in the world. Of this number, 120 million are Russian which make up the East Slav ethnic group. This group is made up from the northern and southern tribes and makes up the majority of the people living in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.
The East Slavs have always resided on the vast East European Plain, and although over time they have come into contact with other indigenous populations, there has been little mixing during these periods. The Eastern Slavs survived in the dense forests by practicing the “slash and burn” agricultural methods.
This proved to be successful and their natural increase in numbers saw them spreading northwards occupying other areas. As this spread continued, the Russian people split politically into Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, all speaking different languages.
Another large indigenous group of people in Russia are the Tartars, with a population of almost 7 million people. They are part of the Turkic people who mainly occupy Turkey. The group descended from the Mongol empire that travelled westwards from the far-East, pushing the Tartars into central Russia.
The largest group is the Volgar Tatars who speak their own language. There is a large influence of Asian culture in the Tatars who have originated from Mongolia. Their spread across the Russian Plain was a result of the empire building activities of their leader Genghis Khan in the 12th century.
As they have spread into Russia, they have split into different ethnic groups with the largest group being in Tatarstan. However, there are many other Tatar groups, but they do not have the same numbers as the Volga Tatars.
There are almost 850,000 Mordvins that live in Russia, with just over half of them residing in Mordovia. There are two separate groups: the Erzya and the Moksha. The Erzya people speak Erzyan and are spread widely across the country. The Moksha also speak their own language and are as widely spread as the Erzya.
Mordvins are recognizable from other Russians by their appearance. They pride themselves on their national costumes which are colorful outfits, often accompanied by head dresses. They also have original looks, with much of the population being slight in frame with dark hair and blue eyes.
The Chechens are a large ethnic group that is found in the Caucasus Mountains, in the republic of Chechen. The isolated nature of the region has influenced the group, making it fiercely independent, and it is home to over 1.2 million Chechens who live there.
The Chechens have descended from the Nakh people who have lived in the mountains of this area for 3000 years. They have been influenced by different cultures, but now the people are mainly Muslim, and throughout their history they have been at conflict with the rest of the country, as they seek their own independence.
Another population related to the highlands are the Armenians who are the dominant ethnic group in Armenia. With a population totalling over 3 million, the group are mainly Christian, but they are not as isolated as the Chechens. There are over 2 million Armenians that now live in other areas of the world.
Russia is also home to the Avars who live in the North Caucasus region. There are over 540,000 who live in villages that can generally be found at about 2000m metres above the sea level. They are mainly Sunni Muslims and speak the Avar language. They are known to have originated to the south-east of the Caspian Sea before migrating into the region.
Russia has many more indigenous peoples, but they are smaller in numbers and restricted to small areas of the region.
The definition of indigenous population is the population that has been residing in a region for a period of time. What isn’t clear is how long that period needs to be. In times when people are more sensitive than ever to people migrating in and out of areas, it is interesting to look at a country which has experienced so many different patterns of migration, that it is difficult to identify what is the actual indigenous population.
The United Kingdom, like many other countries, is a melting pot of different ethnic groups. Many different indigenous populations have, at some time, found themselves moving into the region and settling down. The situation is complicated further by the fact that, over time, there has been much mixed breeding, creating what now is a mix of cultures.
Many of the areas of the country are home to the Celts. They were inhabiting the country prior to the Roman invasion. Today there is a close relationship between Ireland, Wales and Scotland with their Celtic ancestry. Future arrivals into the country tended to congregate on the east coast of the country, so the western regions did not receive so much ethnic mixing.
After the Romans, the country received large numbers of Saxons from Germany. These people became known as the Anglo-Saxons. As the Anglo Saxons spread from the east, the Celts were squashed towards the western side of the country.
The situation became further complicated by the fact that there were often visitors from Northern Europe in the shape of the Vikings. They came in the form of Danish war parties, but that also resulted in many Vikings settling in the country and taking part in village life. Over time, the Danes came to see themselves as being English.
From 1066 the country saw a large migration of Normans from France. The Normans controlled the country for 87 years but many of those who came over from France soon settled into the English way of living, even using the English language.
So the indigenous population appears to be a mixture of Celts, Saxons, Normans, Vikings and Romans. From the 12th century there were no major great migrations into the country and time saw a continuing mix of the ethnic groups into one main community.
Things started to change when the UK started their policy of Empire building. Explorers left the ports of the country, going off in search of new lands. New countries were found in America, Australia, Asia and Africa, and territories were formed.
The resulting action was that many people from these new countries started to migrate into the United Kingdom. People of the Commonwealth were now given the legal opportunity to reside in the country, and over the last 150 years there has been waves of different nationalities coming in.
There have been times when large groups have come from the West Indies, or large groups came from Asia. Many of these ethnic groups have now been in the country for three or four generations, so when dealing with the issue of the indigenous population of the country, should the contributions of the Sikh Hindu and Muslim people be ignored?
The entry of the United Kingdom into the European Union in 1973 has seen the issue complicated further. The free international borders between the member countries saw huge groups of people entering the country from most parts of Europe. There have been large numbers of Eastern Europeans settling in the country, so they have added to the ethnic mix.
In June 2016 the country voted to withdraw from the European Union as one of the major fears was that the UK was losing its “Britishness”. The five years previous, the largest numbers entering the country was actually the French in search of employment. Things were turning back to the 11th century.
The indigenous population of the UK is a complicated one. Those who argue with the greatest passion to retain it are often those who know very little about it. The majority of the country have appeared to have migrated in from mainland Europe.
The population of the north of the continent becomes markedly different from the ethnic groups found further south as many Arab communities inhabit large areas of land. The Berbers have been on the continent for 10,000 years and are present across the northern part from Morocco in the west to Egypt in the east. This area used to be known as the Maghreb before being split into separate countries and the Berber presence even spreads into the Saharan Countries. The large majority of Berber people are Sunni Muslims but there are many different indigenous people associated with the culture and are generally linked by the language that is spoken or shared historical influences. (more…)
There are many different indigenous groups throughout the continent. Throughout the years these different groups of people have moved around the continent adapting to the different climatic and environmental conditions that they have been located in. One of the most recognizable groups have been the Maasai people that are found in Northern Kenya and Southern Tanzania. The current population is around 850,000 found in Kenya with another 150,000 being found in Tanzania. (more…)
The indigenous populations on the continent of Africa are vast and varied. There are many subdivisions of different peoples with separate clans and tribes, so it is only achievable to understand a broad overview of the people. The situation is complicated further by the fact that many of these people are hunter gatherers and they follow changes in weather patterns. These patterns can change markedly over time, so the different ethnic people of one region can change, as its climate has evolved over time. (more…)
The Maoris are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They are the most recent of indigenous populations to be located in a certain area, as the Maoris have only been present in the country since around 1250. They are actually from the Polynesian Islands and first arrived in New Zealand by canoes. As they settled on the Islands, their isolation resulted in them adopting their own culture and language, which was total different from where they had originated from. (more…)
There is no more famous group of indigenous people than the Aboriginal Australians. Over the years they have constantly been in the news, as they have strived to overcome injustice and receive equal rights. In the process many incidents have been revealed that have shown them to have been exploited and treated poorly, with many of these cases still being under review. The Aboriginals have been living in Australia for over 60,000 years, which is actually before the continent separated from Papua New Guinea. (more…)
South America covers a large area and in this region there are numerous groups of indigenous people that have survived for thousands of years. It is believed that the first people to arrive in the region came over Asia across the Bering Strait and travelled down from North America. The earliest human inhabitants can be dated back to 14,000 BC in Mount Verde in Southern Chile, and their descendants went on to populate the rest of the continent. The indigenous people were very much hunter gatherers however some practiced advanced agricultural techniques, such as irrigation to farm the land. (more…)
This area of the world has been home to large populations of indigenous people for thousands of years. They varied between tribes that would be found in the most remote parts of tropical rainforests to ancient kingdoms that were as developed as any other region in the world. One of the most well-known empires was the Aztec Empire which ruled the Valley of Mexico from 1427 until being conquered by the Spanish in 1521. The empire consisted of three cities, Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan that controlled most of Mexico. The area consisted of Nahua people who spoke Nahuati. (more…)
The problems European settlers had in trying to occupy large areas of the United States later led to the story lines for many a Hollywood film. At the centre of the picture would often be the conflict that the new settlers would have with the indigenous population. This led to many spin offs as the story would be told of brave cowboys overcoming hostile Indians. As time has evolved these feelings of patriotism have slowly changed. The feeling is now that the Europeans came across the United States and took the lands away from the indigenous people. (more…)
The indigenous people of Canada area also known as the aboriginal people of the country. Currently there are around 1.67 million indigenous people in Canada of which almost 1 million are First Nations people, 590,000 are Metis people and 66,000 are Inuit’s. These three broad categories of different peoples does not include the many varieties of different groups that actually exist in the country. Generally speaking the Inuit’s occupy the Arctic and northern regions of the country, the First Nations people occupy everywhere else south of the Arctic, and the Metis have descended from European and Indigenous parents. (more…)