hidden europe 62

Beyond the Small Homeland

by hidden europe


Mishar Tatars and Lipka Tatars have been quick to assimilate into the communities to which they migrated. We discover how they moved through the Baltic region, settling in Lithuania and Finland, with some moving on to Sweden and the United States of America.

Our feature focuses very much on the Islamic communities in the region south and east of Vilnius, with the emphasis on places which were settled by Tatars during the migration initiated in 1397 by Lithuanian monarch Duke Vytautas the Great. But there have been subsequent migrations of Tatars to the Baltic rim.

In the 19th century, considerable numbers of Mishar Tatars moved from Nizhny Novgorod (Нижний Новгород) and the Volga region to St Petersburg, some then continuing to settle in the Karelian Isthmus and the Grand Duchy of Finland (then part of the Russian Empire). The Mishar community brought Islam to Finland and in time descendants of the Mishar migrants moved on to Sweden.

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