Ingrian Finnish people

The Ingrian Finnish people's flag.

Ingria was a former Baltic nation that lay between Finland, St. Petersburg and Estonia.


The ancient Novgorodian land of "Vod" was called "Ingermanland" by the Swedes and Latinized to "Ingria". It could also have come from the name of Ingegerd Olofsdotter, the daughter of the king of Swedish Olof Skötkonung (995–1022).



Ingria region and the Lutheran parish sub-divisions in the Saint Petersburg Governorate in about 1900 AD.

The location comprised the southern bank of the river Neva, between the Gulf of Finland, the Narva River, Lake Peipus in the west, and Lake Ladoga and the western bank of the Volkhov river in the east.

Originally the Neva river was the border between Ingria and Karelia but starting in the late 15th – early 16th century it was moved northward towards the Karelian isthmus and now follows the Sestra River and then eastward towards Ladoga lake.


Ingria (Finnish: Inkeri or Inkerinmaa; Russian: Ингрия, Ижорская земля, or Ингерманландия; Swedish: Ingermanland; Estonian: Ingeri or Ingerimaa) is a former Baltic nation akin to Estonia, Vepsians and Finland.

Variose Iron Age artefacts and tools made by Kunda culture have been found in Ingria.

From about the 750s onwards, Lake Ladoga became a important location along the former Varangian trade route to Eastern Europe. A Scandinavian Varangian aristocracy developed and would ultimately end up ruleing over Novgorod and Kievan Rus'. In about the 860s, war broke out between both the local Finnic and Slavic tribes, after the Slavic chifetain Vadim the Bold rebelled against Varangian rule. Later the Varangian noble, Rurik resolved the issue.

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Sweedish Ingria in the 17th century AD.

During the 12th century, Western Ingria was absorbed by the Republic of Novgorod. When Ingegerd Olofsdotter’s marriage to Yaroslav I the Wise in 1019, she was given all the lands around Ladoga as a marriage gift. They were administered by Swedish jarls (nobles), but under the sovereignty of the Novgorod Republic.

The centuries of warfare mostly between Russians, Swedes, Denmark and Teutonic Knights took their toll. The Teutonic Knights built their stronghold in the town of Narva on the west side of the Narva River, so the Russian castle Ivangorod on the opposite side in 1492.

The land of "Swedish Ingria" (Swedish: Svenska Ingermanland) was a dominion of the Swedish Empire, that covered most of Ingria that lasted from 1580 to 1595 and then again from 1617 to 1721, when it was given to the Russian Empire in the Treaty of Nystad.

By 1897 the number of Ingrian Finns had grown to 130,413, by 1917 it had exceeded 140,000 (45,000 in Northern Ingria, 52,000 in Central (Eastern) Ingria and 30,000 in Western Ingria, the rest in Petrograd, now Saint Peatersburg).

The local Ingerian Finns set up a new, anti-communist/Russian homeland in most of northern Ingeria, called the The Republic of North Ingria between 1919 and 1920.

After the October Revolution, Ingrian Finns inhabiting the southern part of Karelian Isthmus chose to secede from Bolshevist Russia and formed the short-lived and Finland-backed dependency of the Republic of North Ingria, which was reintegrated by the Bolsheviks in the end of 1920 according to the conditions of the Treaty of Tartu. It became the autonomies Kuivaisi National District between 1928 and 1939. The Kuivaisi National District’s capital in Toksova and Finnish as the official language, although the Igerian dialect of Finnish and the Russian language were also spoken by many.

The First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union in 1926 recorded 114,831 Leningrad Finns, as Ingrian Finns were then called. That year saw the collectivization of agriculture star in Ingria. To help facilitate it, in 1929-1931, 18,000 people were expelled from North Ingria and deported to various locations in East Karelia, the Kola Peninsula as well as Kazakhstan and Central Asia. More were ejected from the region Soviet plans to create restricted security zones along the borders with Finland and Estonia, free of the alienated Finnic peoples, which they considered politically unreliable. In April 1935 7,000 people were deported from Ingria to Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Russian Ural region. In May and June 1936 the entire 20,000 Finnish population of the parishes of Valkeasaari, Lempaala, Vuole and Miikkulainen near the Finnish border were transferred to the area around Cherepovets. In Ingria they were replaced with people from other parts of the Soviet Union, in particular Russians and Ukranians.

In 1937 Lutheran churches and Finnish-language schools in Ingria were closed down and publications and radio broadcasting in Finnish were scrapped until the 1980s. Ingria's russification was nearly complete by Russian and Ukrainian migrants by the 1930s and in the March of 1939 the Kuivaisi National District was abolished.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union about 25,000 Ingrians left Russia and Estonia have moved to Finland were given an automatic residence permit in the Finnish Law of Return until leaving about 15,000 people in political limbo.


The Finnic (related to Finns and Estonians) Izhorians, Vepsians and Votes, are the remaining indigenous people of historical Ingria (Inkeri in Finnish). They were greatly reduced firstly in the Swedish conquest and then by the influx of Lutheran Ingrian Finns in the 17th century from today’s Finland. In later years Russians, Jews, Ukrainians and Estonians would move in. Its russification was nearly complete by the 1930s. The Stalin regime killed and exiled many non-Slavic Ingrians, whilst the Nazis killed many of the local Jews. The territory is now mostly ethnically Russian today.

Only a few Izhorians, Vepsians and Votes speak there native Finnic languages now.

The number of people who declared their nationality as Finnish in the 2002 Russian census was 34,000, down from 47,000 in 1989.

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