Pomors or Pomory ( _ru. поморы) is the distinctive native name for an ethnic community of an indigenous population of Pomor'e (European Russian North), living on the
White Seacoasts and the territory whose southern border lies on a watershed which separates the White Seariver basin from the basins of rivers that flow south. So, they should not be mixed with the people of Great Novgorodor Suzdal. Pomors are the most northern people of Slavic origin, but they do not associate themselves with Russians [ [http://www.pomor-rus.org/ Pomors and Pomor'e (in Russian)] ] [ [http://pomorland.narod.ru/ Pomors Community official site] ] . . Pomors used to live side by side with the Kola Saami, the Kola Norwegians(to the west), and the Nenets people(to the east). Sovietethnography denied the Pomors existence, as well as the existence of other small native ethnic groups in Russia (for instance Kryashen, Besermyan, etc.), one sub group of the Pomors - the population that lives on the coast of the White Sea- was often confused with the Russians migrated to Northern Russia [ [http://www.pomor-rus.org/eng/pomory_english.htm Pomors and Pomor'e] ] . .
As early as the 12th century, explorers from
Novgorodentered the White Sea through the Northern Dvinaand Onega estuaries and founded settlements along the sea coasts of Bjarmaland. Their chief town used to be Kholmogory, until the rise of Arkhangelskin the late 16th century. From their base at Kola, they explored the Barents Regionand the Kola peninsula, Spitsbergen, and Novaya Zemlya.
Later in history, the Pomors discovered and maintained the
Northern Sea Routebetween Arkhangelsk and Siberia. With their ships ("koches"), the Pomors penetrated to the trans-Ural areas of Northern Siberia, where they founded the settlement of Mangazeyaeast of the Yamal Peninsulain the early 16th century.
Some authors speculate that it was Pomors who settled, supposedly in the early 17th century, the isolated village of
Russkoye Ustyein the delta of the Indigirka, in north-eastern Yakutia. [Tatyana Bratkova [http://magazines.russ.ru/novyi_mi/1998/4/brat.html Russkoye Ustye] . Novy Mir, 1998, no. 4 ru icon]
Their name is derived from the Pomorsky (literally, "maritime") coast of the White Sea (between Onega and Kem), having the root of "more" ( _ru. море, meaning "sea"; derived from an
Indo-Europeanroot). The same root is evident in the toponym Pomerania. The most famous Pomors are Mikhail Lomonosov, Fedot Shubin(both born near Kholmogory), Semyon Dezhnev, and Yerofey Khabarov(both born in Veliky Ustyug). Thus the term Pomor which originally, in the 10th-12th centuries, meant a person who lived near sea gradually extended into one that referred to the population living relatively far away from the sea. And finally in the 15th century it became irrelevant to the sea. The sea was not a major part of economy of this region. However, a territory of practically the whole European Russian North, including Murmanskregion, Arkhangelskand Vologdaregions, Kareliaand Komirepublics, started to be called Pomor'e [ [http://www.pomor-rus.org/eng/pomory_english.htm Pomors and Pomor'e] ] .
The traditional livelihoods of the Pomors based on the sea included animal hunting, whaling and fishing; in
tundraregions they practiced the reindeerherding. Sea trading in corn and fish with Northern Norwaywas important for them. This trade was so intensive that a kind of Russian-Norwegian pidgin language"Moja på tvoja" (or Russenorsk) was created and used on the North Norwegian coast in 1750–1920.
Pomory is an independent, indigenous ethnos of the European Russian North, and their initial culture was not brought from the south (from Great Russia), but arose gradually from the assimilation of the local Finno-Ugric (pre-Pomory) culture with that of the first Old-Russian (East-Slavic) population. Some other old Russian ethnic communities, along with their ethnic self-identity and specific names (for example
Vyatichs, Krivichs, Severians, etc.), have gradually "dissolved" in the Great Russian nation. But the Pomory retained their ethnic self-identity to the present day and still consider themselves as Pomory [ [http://www.pomor-rus.org/eng/pomory_english.htm Pomors and Pomor'e] ] .
In the 12-15th centuries Pomor'e was an extensive colony of
Great Novgorod. By the early 16th century the annexation of Pomor'e by Moscow was completed. In the 17th century, in 22 Pomor'e districts the great bulk of the population consisted of free peasants. A portion of the land belonged to monasteries and the Stroganov merchants. There were no landowners in Pomor'e. The population of Pomor'e districts was engaged in fishing, mica and salt production (Sol'-Kamskay, Sol'- Vychegodskay, Tot'ma, etc.) and other enterprises.
After the collapse of the
Soviet Uniona debate has started as to whether the Pomors should be recognized as an indigenous peopleand included into the list of Northern indigenous peoples of Russia. As per the 2002Census, 6,571 people in Russia identified themselves as Pomors, almost all of them in Arkhangelsk Oblast(6,295) and Murmansk Oblast(127); although most of native Pomors assimilated with Russians during last three centuries use to call themselves 'Severyane'( _ru. северяне) or 'Northern' (inhabitants), not emphasizing their inherent distinction from Russians.
It should be noted that one of the three universities of Arkhangelsk is named the
Pomor State University[ [http://www.pomorsu.ru/ Pomor State University Official Site] ] . . In line with the current Russian trend towards agglomeration of least populated and/or poorest federal subjects into bigger entities, a merger of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Oblasts, the Komi Republic, and the Nenets Autonomous Okrughas been proposed, one of the possible names of this new territory being the Pomor Krai.
Laughter and Grief by the White Sea", a film celebrating the Pomors' culture.
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