Uralic peoples

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Uralic peoples
Fenno-Ugrian languages.png
Distribution of Uralic peoples
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden
Uralic languages
various Christian faiths, Shamanism, Uralic Neopaganism
A nenets child
Nganasans, 1927
Komi people
Khanty family at River Ob in the village of Tegi
Hungarian Csárdás folk dance
Seurasaari Midsummer Bonfires, Helsinki, Finland. Folk dancers wearing national Finnish costumes

The Uralic peoples or Uralic-speaking peoples are the various peoples speaking Uralic languages. Prominent among these are the Hungarians, Finns, Saami and Samoyeds.


According to the recent understanding of Uralic studies, the establishment of Proto-Uralic peoples goes back to the Stone Age in the 5th millennium BC. Then, Proto-Ural divided into Proto-Samoyed and Proto-Finno-Ugric. The latter is the carrier of Pit–Comb Ware culture.


The characteristic genetic marker of Uralic-speaking peoples is haplogroup N1c-Tat (Y-DNA). Samoyedic peoples mainly have more N1b-P43 than N1c.[1] Haplogroup N originated in the northern part of China in 20,000 -25,000 years BP[2] and spread to north Eurasia, through Siberia to Northern Europe. Subgroup N1c1 is frequently seen in Finno-Ugric people, N1c2 in Samoyedic peoples. In addition, haplogroup Z (mtDNA), found with low frequency in Saami, Finns, and Siberians, is related to the migration of Uralic peoples.


The Urheimat, the location of the most ancient habitat of the Uralic peoples, is considered by various theories. Gy. Lászlo has placed the origin in the forest zone between the Oka river and Central Poland. The writings of E. N. Setala and M. Zsirai place the original homeland in the Middle of the Volga and Kama region. According to E.Itkonen, the area extended to the Baltic sea. P. Hajdu has suggested the Uralic homeland being in Western and North-western Siberia.[3] Juha Janhunen, and others, suggest a homeland in South-Central Siberia, near Lake Baikal and the Sayan Mountains in the Russian-Mongolian border region.[4][5]

In recent genetic analysis of ancient human bones excavated from the remains of Liao civilization (Xinglongwa culture, Hongshan culture, etc.), haplogroup N1 (Y-DNA) was found with high frequency of 71%, including old paragroups of N1.[6] So, a new possibility arose that the Urheimat of Uralic peoples (and perhaps also Yukaghir people) is the Liao river region. The oldest Pit–Comb Ceramic, related to Finno-Ugric peoples, is found in Liao civilization. This is also consistent with the works of Vladimir Napolskikh, who places the ultimate homeland of the Uralic peoples (and other populations with high frequencies of the N1 Y-DNA haplogroup) in the Northeastern Asia, based on his studies of the origins of so-called "earth-diver" myth.[7] According to Prof. Napolskikh, the split between Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic branches might have occurred somewhere in the area between the Ob River and the Irtysh River, following an earlier split between Proto-Uralic and Proto-Yukaghir somewhere in Eastern Siberia.[8]


Samoyed, Khanty and Mansi have bred reindeer around the tundra between the Ob River and the Yenisei and made it available as various tools of life, from food sources to the means of transportation. Komi has been engaged in agriculture and reindeer breeding, and settled in the forest. Sami, via contact with Scandinavian agrarian society from ancient times, has been conducting high-intensive animal husbandry by trade. Ancient Hungarians were equestrian nomads. In Finland, Estonia, and Hungary, they worked as a remarkable bearer of modern states based on agriculture and industry.

List of Uralic peoples[edit]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Tambets, Kristiina et al. 2004, The Western and Eastern Roots of the Saami—the Story of Genetic “Outliers” Told by Mitochondrial DNA and Y Chromosomes
  2. ^ Shi H, Qi X, Zhong H, Peng Y, Zhang X, et al. (2013) Genetic Evidence of an East Asian Origin and Paleolithic Northward Migration of Y-chromosome Haplogroup N. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66102. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066102
  3. ^ The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, p. 231
  4. ^ Proto-Uralic—what, where, and when? Juha JANHUNEN (Helsinki) - The Quasquicentennial of the Finno-Ugrian Society 2009
  5. ^ Dziebel, German. "On the Homeland of the Uralic Language Family". Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  6. ^ Yinqiu Cui, Hongjie Li, Chao Ning, Ye Zhang, Lu Chen, Xin Zhao, Erika Hagelberg and Hui Zhou (2013)"Y Chromosome analysis of prehistoric human populations in the West Liao River Valley, Northeast China. " BMC 13:216
  7. ^ Napolskikh V. V. (Izhevsk, Russia). Earth-Diver Myth (А812) in northern Eurasia and North America: twenty years later.
  8. ^ Предыстория народов уральской языковой семьи (in Russian).

Sinor, Denis, ed. (1990). The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 229–252. ISBN 0521243041.