Vyatichi

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The Vyatichs or more properly Vyatichi or Viatichi (Russian: вя́тичи) were a tribe of Early East Slavs who inhabited a part of the Oka basin.

The Primary Chronicle names a certain tribal leader Vyatko as the forefather of the tribe. The Vyatichi were mainly engaged in farming and cattle-breeding. Between the 9th and 10th centuries, the Vyatichi paid tribute to the Khazars and later Kievan princes. The tribe, however, was constantly trying to defend its own political independence up until the early 12th century. By the 11th century, the Vyatichi had already populated the Moskva basin and the area of today's Moscow. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the tribe founded a number of cities due to developing handicrafts and increasing trade, including Moscow, Koltesk, Dedoslav, Nerinsk and others. In the second half of the 12th century the land of the Vyatichi was distributed among the princes of Suzdal and Chernigov. The last direct reference to the Vyatichi was made in a chronicle under the year of 1197. Indirect references, however, may be traced to the early 14th century.

Saint Kuksha of the Kiev Caves was a missionary who converted many Vyatichi to Christianity (in 1215), being beheaded by their chiefs August 27 ca. 1215.

There are numerous archeological monuments in Moscow that tell historians about the Vyatichi. Their fortified settlements of the 11th century were located in the historical center of today's Moscow, namely the Borovitsky Hill, Kolomenskoye (the spot of the former Diakovskoye village), Kuntsevo (a district of Moscow) and others. One may also find traces of Vyatich settlements in Brateyevo, Zyuzino, Alyoshkino, Matveyevskoye and other localities of Moscow. Burial mounds with cremated bodies have been found along the upper reaches of the Oka and Don.