Chuvash people
The Chuvash people are a Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 ethnic group, native to an area stretching from the Volga Region
Volga Region
Volga Region is a historical region of Russia that encompasses the territories adjacent to the flow of Volga River. According to the flow of the river, it is usually classified into the Middle Volga Region and Lower Volga Region...

 to Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. Most of them live in Republic of Chuvashia
The Chuvash Republic , or Chuvashia for short, is a federal subject of Russia . It is the homeland of the Chuvash people. Its capital is the city of Cheboksary. Population: -Geography:...

 and surrounding areas, although Chuvash communities may be found throughout all Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...



There is no universally accepted etymology of the word Chuvash. However, there are two main theories that try to explain it.


According to one theory, "Chuvash" is a Shaz-Turkic adaptation of Lir-Turkic Suvar
Suar was a medieval Volga Bulgarian city, the capital of Suar Duchy in 948-975.It was situated at Volga's left tributary Ütäk river's upper stream. In the 10th century it coined its own money. Suar was a political, economical and trade center of Volga Bulgaria...

, an ethnonym of people that are widely considered to be the ancestors of modern Chuvashes. Compare Lir-Turkic to Shaz-Turkic (cauldron).


Another theory suggests that the word "Chuvash" may be derived from Common Turkic jăvaš ("friendly", "peaceful") as opposed to şarmăs ("warlike").


There are rival schools of thought on the origin of Chuvash people. One is that they originated from a mixing between the Turkic Suar
The Suars were a Turkic-speaking people, probably of Hunnish descent, who lived in Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages....

 and Sabir tribes of Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

 with local Mari tribes and also finno-ugrian population of Volga Basin. Another is that the Chuvash are a remainder of the pre-Volga Bulgar population of the Volga region, merged with Scythians, Volga Bulgars and Mari.


Chuvash people are divided into two main groups: Virjal or Turi and Anatri . The latter also have their own subgroups: Anat jenci and Hirti .


The Turkic ancestors of the Chuvash people are believed to have come from central Siberia, where they lived in the Irtysh
The Irtysh River is a river in Siberia and is the chief tributary of the Ob River. Its name means White River. Irtysh's main affluent is the Tobol River...

 basin (between the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 and Altay) from at least the end of the third millennium BC. In the beginning of the first century AD, the Bulgars started moving west through Zhetysu and the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, reaching the North Caucasus
North Caucasus
The North Caucasus is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Black and Caspian Seas and within European Russia. The term is also used as a synonym for the North Caucasus economic region of Russia....

 in 2nd-3rd centuries AD. There they established several states (Old Bulgaria on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast and the Suvar Duchy in modern-day Daghestan) and came into contact with various Iranic peoples.

Old Bulgaria broke up in the second half of the 7th century after a series of successful Khazar invasions. Some of it's population fled north, to the Volga-Kama
Kāma is often translated from Sanskrit as sexual desire, sexual pleasure, sensual gratification, sexual fulfillment, or eros54654564+more broadly mean desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, without sexual connotations.-Kama in...

 region, where they established Volga Bulgaria, which eventually became extremely wealthy; its capital being the 4th largest city in the world. Shortly after that, the Suvar Duchy was forced to become a vassal state
Vassal state
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...

 of Khazaria. About half a century later, the Suvars took part in the Khazar-Arab Wars
Khazar-Arab Wars
The Khazar Arab Wars were a series of campaigns, usually grouped into the First and Second Khazar–Arab Wars, fought between the armies of the Khazar Khaganate and the Umayyad Caliphate and their respective vassals.During the 7th and 8th centuries the Khazar fought a series of wars against the...

 of 732-737.


They speak the Chuvash language
Chuvash language
Chuvash is a Turkic language spoken in central Russia, primarily in the Chuvash Republic and adjacent areas. It is the only surviving member of the Oghur branch of Turkic languages....

 and have some pre-Christian
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 traditions. In addition to the Chuvash language, many Chuvash people also use the Russian and Tatar language
Tatar language
The Tatar language , or more specifically Kazan Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars of historical Kazan Khanate, including modern Tatarstan and Bashkiria...



Chuvash people took great care of preserving their beliefs, their God being Tura. To prevent an onslaught of Orthodox Christianity and Islam, they separated themselves from other surrounding ethnic groups, which brought on several centuries of inbreeding. Today Chuvash people are partially Orthodox Christians and belong to the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

. They retain some pre-Christian ( or pagan) traditions in their cultural activities.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.