The Izhorians (sg. "ižoralaine", "inkeroine", "ižora"), along with the Votes are an indigenous people of Ingria. They can still be found in the Western part of Ingria, between the Narva and Neva rivers.

The history of Izhorians is bounded to the history of Ingria. It is supposed that shortly after 1000, the Izhorians moved from Karelia to the west and south-west. In 1478, the Novgorod Republic, where Ingrians had settled, was united with the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and some of the Izhorians were transferred to the east. The establishment of St. Petersburg in 1703 had a great influence on Izhorian culture. Deportations in 1929–1931 changed dramatically the demographics of Ingria. World War II had the biggest impact on Izhorian culture, as devastating battles (Siege of Leningrad) took place nearby.

In 1848, P. von Köppen counted 17,800 Izhorians, in 1926 there lived 26137 Izhorians in the Russian SFSR. 1100 Izhorians were counted in USSR by the census of 1959. In 1989, 820 self-designated Izhorians, thereof 302 speakers of their Finnic language, (known as Ingrian or Izhorian) were registered. 449 Izhorians lived on the territory of the USSR. According to the 2002 Russian Census, there were 327 Izhorians in Russia, of whom 177 lived in Leningrad oblast and 53 in St. Petersburg.

The language, close to Karelian, is used primarily by members of the older generation. Izhorian, along with Finnish, Karelian and Vepsian, belongs to the Northern Baltic-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric languages. Izhorian consists of four dialects: Soikola, Hevaha (or Heva), lower-Luuga and Oredezhi — from the names of Soikola (Soikino) peninsula, Heva, Luuga (Lauga) and Oredezhi rivers.

In 1932–1937, Latin letters based written Izhorian language existed, it was taught in schools of the Soikino Peninsula and the area around the mouth of the Luga River.Kurs, Ott (1994). [http://www.springerlink.com/content/r5302p2n2802g742/fulltext.pdf Ingria: The broken landbridge between Estonia and Finland] . "GeoJournal" 33.1, 107-113.] . Several textbooks were published, in 1936 even a grammar book was published. However, in 1937 theIzhorian written language was abolished and mass repressions of the peasantry were started.

The Izhorians and the Votes are generally Orthodox, while the other Finnic inhabitants of Ingria, the Ingrian Finns, are Lutheran. Some pre-Christian traditions exist, also.


External links

* [http://www.eki.ee/books/redbook/izhorians.shtml Izhorians] in the "Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire"
* [http://www.erm.ee/?node=647 Estonian National Museum] et icon

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