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The Chuvash people ( ; ) are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Volga Region of Russian Federationmarker. Most of them live in Republic of Chuvashiamarker and surrounding areas, although distant Chuvash communities may be found as far east as Siberiamarker.


Up to this day, there is no universally accepted etymology of the word Chuvash. However, there are two main theories that try to explain it.


According to one theory, "Chuvash" is a Shaz-Turkic adaptation of Lir-Turkic "Suvar", an ethnonym of people that are widely considered to be the ancestors of modern Chuvashes. Compare Lir-Turkic to Shaz-Turkic (cauldron).


Another theory suggests that the word "Chuvash" may be derived from Common Turkic jăvaš ("friendly", "peaceful") as opposed to "şarmăs" ("warlike").


There are rival schools of thought on the origin of Chuvash people. One is that they originated from a mixing between the Suvar and Savir tribes of Volga Bulgaria with local Mari tribes. Another is that Chuvashes are remainders of pre-Volga Bulgar (Hunnic) population of Volga region, partly merged with Scythians, Volga Bolgars and Maris.


Chuvash people are divided into two main groups: Virjal or Turi ( ; upper) and Anatri ( ; lower). The latter also have their own subgroups: Anat jenci ( ; mid-lower) and Hirti ( ; steppe).


Turkic-speaking ancestors of Chuvash people are believed to have come from Central Asia, where they lived in the basin of Irtyshmarker (between Tian Shanmarker and Altay) from at least the end of third millennia BC. In the beginning of first century AD they started moving west through Zhetysumarker and steppes of modern-day Kazakhstanmarker, and reached North Caucasus in II-III centuries AD. There they established several states (Old Bulgaria on the Black Seamarker coast and Suvar Duchy in modern-day Daghestanmarker) and came into contact with Iranic peoples (Scythians, Sakas, Sarmatians and later, Alans).



They speak the Chuvash language and are predominantly Orthodox Christian, with some pre-Christian traditions. In addition to the Chuvash language, many Chuvash people also use the Russian and Tatar languages.


See also


  1. History of Chuvash people

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