V.A. Ivanov. The Distribution of Bashkir Tribes Before and During their Integration into the Russian State
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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology
of Eurasia

44 (3) 2016


DOI: 10.17746/1563-0110.2016.44.3.121-129


The Distribution of Bashkir Tribes Before and During their Integration
into the Russian State

V.A. Ivanov

Bashkir State Pedagogical University, Oktyabrskoy Revolutsii 3а, Ufa, 450000, Russia

The ethnic geography of Bashkiria immediately before and during its absorption by the Russian Empire is a matter of debate, because few relevant written or archaeological sources are available. The only reliable sources are the toponymy and hydronymy of Bashkir historical legends, and genealogies (shezhere). Ethnographers believe that the legends originated at the early stage of feudalism; shezhere, at the time of the absorption of Bashkiria by the empire. Eventually, legends became the only documentation proving Bashkirs’ ownership of land. The preserved legends and shezhere, taken together, mention some eighty names of rivers and mountains matching modern toponyms of the Southern Urals and mirroring the ethnic geography of medieval Bashkiria. Our comparative analysis suggests that the boundaries of “Old Bashkiria” passed between the Dem River valley and the western foothills of the Southern Urals, as well as along the eastern foothills of the Southern Urals, from the Miass River in the north to the Sakmar River in the south. During the 15th and 16th centuries, these borders remained relatively stable, shifting mostly southward because of the annexation of territories emptied after Ivan IV had conquered the Kazan Khanate and ousted the Nogais from Southern Urals.

Keywords: Kazan Khanate, Siberian Khanate, Nogai Horde, folklore, shezhere, toponymy, hydronymy, Bugulma-Belebey Upland.


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