Ingria (Finnish: Inkeri or Inkerinmaa; Russian:
Ингрия, Ingriya, Ижорская земля, Izhorskaya zemlya,
or Ингерманландия, Ingermanlandiya; Swedish:
Ingermanland; Estonian: Ingeri or Ingerimaa) is the geographical area
located along the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, bordered by
Lake Ladoga on the
Karelian Isthmus in the north and by the River
Narva on the border with
Estonia in the west.
The Orthodox Izhorians, along with the Votes, are the indigenous
people of historical Ingria. With the consolidation of the Kievan Rus
and the expansion of the
Republic of Novgorod
Republic of Novgorod north, the indigenous
Ingrians became Greek Orthodox.
Ingria became a province of
Treaty of Stolbovo
Treaty of Stolbovo in 1617 that ended the Ingrian War, fought
Sweden and Russia. After the Swedish conquest of the area in
1617 the Ingrian Finns, descendants of 17th-century Lutheran emigrants
from present-day Finland, became the majority in Ingria. In 1710,
following a Russian conquest,
Ingria was designated as the Province of
St. Petersburg. In the
Treaty of Nystad
Treaty of Nystad (1721),
Sweden formally ceded
Ingria to Russia. In 1927 the Soviet authorities designated the area
as Leningrad Province. Deportations of the
Ingrian Finns started in
late 1920s, and
Russification was nearly complete by the 1940s. As of
Ingria forms the northwestern anchor of Russia—its
"window" on the Baltic Sea—with
Saint Petersburg as its centre.
Ingria as a whole never formed a separate state (compare however North
Ingria); the Ingrians, understood as the inhabitants of Ingria
regardless of ethnicity, can hardly be said[by whom?] to have been a
nation, although the
Soviet Union recognized their "nationality"; as
an ethnic group, the Ingrians proper, Izhorians, are close to
extinction together with their language. This notwithstanding, many
people still recognize their Ingrian heritage.
Ingria covers approximately the same area as the Gatchinsky,
Kingiseppsky, Kirovsky, Lomonosovsky, Tosnensky, Volosovsky and
Vsevolozhsky districts of modern
Leningrad Oblast as well as the city
of Saint Petersburg.
2 Swedish Ingria
3 Russian Ingria
4 Estonian Ingria
5 Soviet Ingria
6 See also
8 Further reading
Ingria may be seen represented in the easternmost part of the Carta
In the Viking era (late Iron Age), from the 750s onwards, Ladoga
served as a bridgehead on the
Varangian trade route to Eastern Europe.
Varangian aristocracy developed that would ultimately rule over
Novgorod and Kievan Rus'. In the 860s, the warring Finnic and Slavic
tribes rebelled under Vadim the Bold, but later asked the Varangians
Rurik to return and to put an end to the recurring conflicts
between them.
The Swedes referred to the ancient Novgorodian land of Vod as
"Ingermanland", Latinized to "Ingria".
Folk etymology traces its name
to Ingegerd Olofsdotter, the daughter of the Swedish king Olof
Skötkonung (995–1022). Upon her marriage to Yaroslav I the Wise,
Grand Prince of
Novgorod and Kiev, in 1019, she received the lands
around Ladoga as a marriage gift. They were administered by Swedish
jarls, such as Ragnvald Ulfsson, under the sovereignty of the Novgorod
In the 12th century, Western
Ingria was absorbed by the Republic.
There followed centuries of frequent wars, chiefly between Novgorod
and Sweden, and occasionally involving
Teutonic Knights as
Teutonic Knights established a stronghold in the town of
Narva, followed by the Russian castle
Ivangorod on the opposite side
Narva River in 1492.
Main article: Swedish Ingria
Novgorod had fought for the Ingrian lands more or
less since the Great Schism of 1054, the first actual attempt to
establish Swedish dominion in
Ingria appears to date from the early
14th century, when
Sweden first founded the settlement of Viborg in
Karelia and then the fortress Landskrona (built in
1299 or 1300) at the confluence of the Ohta and
Neva rivers. However,
Novgorod re-conquered Landskrona in 1301 and destroyed it. Ingria
eventually became a Swedish dominion in the 1580s, but the Treaty of
Teusina (1595) returned it to
Russia in 1595.
Russia in its turn ceded
Sweden in the
Treaty of Stolbova
Treaty of Stolbova (1617) after the Ingrian
War of 1610-1617. Sweden's interest in the territory was mainly
strategic: the area served as a buffer zone against Russian attacks on
Karelian Isthmus and on present-day Finland, then the eastern half
of the Swedish realm; and Russian Baltic trade had to pass through
Swedish territory. The townships of Ivangorod, Jama (now Kingisepp),
Caporie (now Koporye) and Nöteborg (now Shlisselburg) became the
centres of the four Ingrian counties (slottslän), and consisted of
citadels, in the vicinity of which were small boroughs called
hakelverk - before the wars of the 1650s mainly inhabited by Russian
townspeople. The degree to which
Ingria became the destination for
Swedish deportees has often been exaggerated.[by whom?]
Ingria remained sparsely populated. In 1664 the total population
amounted to 15,000. Swedish attempts to introduce Lutheranism, which
accelerated after an initial period of relative religious
tolerance, met with repugnance on the part of the majority of the
Orthodox peasantry, who were obliged to attend Lutheran services;
converts were promised grants and tax reductions, but Lutheran gains
were mostly due to voluntary resettlements by
Finns from Savonia and
Karelia (mostly from Äyräpää). The proportion of
Ingria (Ingrian Finns) comprised 41.1% in 1656,
53.2% in 1661, 55.2% in 1666, 56.9% in 1671 and 73.8% in 1695, the
remainder being Russians,
Izhorians and Votes. Ingermanland was
to a considerable extent enfiefed to noble military and state
officials, who brought their own Lutheran servants and workmen.
However, a small number of
Russian Orthodox churches remained in use
until the very end of the Swedish dominion, and the forceful
conversion of ethnic
Russian Orthodox forbidden[when?] by law.
Nyen became the main trading centre of Ingria, especially after
Ivangorod dwindled, and in 1642 it was made the administrative centre
of the province. In 1656 a Russian attack badly damaged the town, and
the administrative centre moved to Narva.
Saint Petersburg Governorate
Saint Petersburg Governorate in 1900
In the early 18th century the area was reconquered by
Russia in the
Great Northern War
Great Northern War after having been in Swedish possession for about
100 years. Near the location of the Swedish town Nyen, close to the
Neva river's estuary at the Gulf of Finland, the new Russian capital
Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703.
Peter the Great raised
Ingria to the status of a duchy with Prince
Menshikov as its first (and last) duke. In 1708,
Ingria was designated
a governorate (Ingermanland Governorate in 1708–1710, Saint
Petersburg Governorate in 1710–1914,
Petrograd Governorate in
1914–1924, Leningrad Governorate in 1924–1927).
In 1870, printing started of the first Finnish-language newspaper in
Ingria, Pietarin Sanomat. Before that
Ingria received newspapers
mostly from Viborg. The first public library was opened in 1850 in
Tyrö. The largest of the libraries, situated in Skuoritsa, had more
than 2,000 volumes in the second half of the 19th century. In 1899 the
first song festival in
Ingria was held in Puutosti (Skuoritsa).
By 1897 (year of the Russian Empire Census) the number of Ingrian
Finns had grown to 130,413, and by 1917 it had exceeded 140,000
(45,000 in Northern Ingria, 52,000 in Central (Eastern)
30,000 in Western Ingria, the rest in Petrograd).
From 1868 Estonians began to migrate to
Ingria as well. In 1897 the
number of Estonians inhabiting the
Saint Petersburg Governorate
reached 64,116 (12,238 of them in
Saint Petersburg itself); by 1926 it
had increased to 66,333 (15,847 of them in Leningrad).
As to Izhorians, in 1834 there were 17,800 of them, in 1897—21,000,
in 1926—26,137. About 1000 Ingrians lived in the area ceded to
Estonia under the Peace Treaty of Tartu (1920).
Under the Russian-Estonian Peace Treaty of Tartu of 1920, a small part
Ingria became part of the Republic of Estonia. In contrast to
other parts of Ingria, Finnish culture blossomed in this area. This
was to a large extent due to the work of Leander Reijo (also Reijonen
or Reiju) from Kullankylä on the new border between
Estonia and the
Soviet Union, who was called "The King of Ingria" by the Finnish
press. Finnish schools and a Finnish newspaper were started. A church
was built in Kallivieri in 1920 and by 1928 the parish had 1,300
In 1945, after the Second World War, Estonian Ingria, then in the
Soviet Union, became part of the Russian SFSR. Since
its independence in 1991, this territory has been disputed. As Russia
does not recognize the Peace Treaty of Tartu, the area currently
remains under Russian control.
Finnic settlements in Western
Ingria throughout the 20th century
After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the Republic of North
Ingria (Pohjois Inkeri) declared its independence from
Russia with the
Finland and with the aim of incorporation into Finland. It
ruled parts of
Ingria from 1919 until 1920. With the Russian-Finnish
Peace Treaty of Tartu it was re-integrated into Russia, but enjoyed a
certain degree of autonomy.
At its height in the 1920s, there were about 300 Finnish language
schools and 10
Finnish language newspapers in Ingria.
The First All-Union Census of the
Soviet Union in 1926 recorded
114,831 Leningrad Finns, as
Ingrian Finns were called. The 1926
census also showed that the Russian population of central Ingria
Finnic peoples living there, but
Ingrian Finns formed
the majority in the districts along the Finnish border.
In the early 1930s the
Izhorian language was taught in the schools of
Soikinsky Peninsula and the area around the mouth of the Luga
In 1928 collectivization of agriculture started in Ingria. To
facilitate it, in 1929–1931, 18,000 people (4320 families), kulaks
(independent peasants) from North Ingria, were deported to East
Kola Peninsula as well as
Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
The situation for the
Ingrian Finns deteriorated further when in the
fall of 1934 the Forbidden Border Zone along the western border of the
Soviet Union was established, where entrance was forbidden without
special permission issued by the NKVD. It was officially only
7.5 km deep initially, but along the Estonian border it extended
to as much as 90 km. The zone was to be free of Finnic and some
other peoples, who were considered politically unreliable. On 25
Genrikh Yagoda authorized a large-scale deportation
targeting Estonian, Latvian and Finnish kulaks and lishentsy residing
in the border regions near Leningrad. About 7,000 people (2,000
families) were deported from
Ingria to Kazakhstan, Central Asia and
the Ural region. In May and June 1936 the entire Finnish population of
the parishes of Valkeasaari, Lempaala, Vuole and Miikkulainen near the
Finnish border, 20,000 people, were resettled to the areas around
Cherepovets and Siberia in the next wave of deportations. In Ingria
they were replaced with people from other parts of the Soviet Union,
mostly Russians but also Ukrainians and Tatars.
In 1937 Lutheran churches and Finnish and Izhorian schools in Ingria
were closed down and publications and radio broadcasting in Finnish
and Izhorian were suspended.
Both Ingrian Finnish and Izhorian populations all but disappeared from
Ingria during the Soviet period. 63,000 fled to
Finland during World
War II, and were required back by Stalin after the war. Most became
victims of Soviet population transfers and many were executed as
"enemies of the people". The remainder, including some
post-Stalin returnees (it was not until 1956 that some of the deported
were allowed to return to their villages), were outnumbered by Russian
The 1959 census recorded 1,062 Izhorians; in 1979 that number had
fallen to 748, only 315 of them around the mouth of the
Luga River and
on the Soikinsky Peninsula. According to the Soviet census of 1989,
there were 829 Izhorians, 449 of them in
Russia (including other parts
of the country) and 228 in Estonia.
After the dissolution of the
Soviet Union in 1991, surviving Ingrian
Finns and their Russified descendants have been allowed to emigrate to
Finland. This has led to the birth of a sizable
Russophone minority in
Saint Petersburg Governorate
^ Based on Räikkönen, Erkki. Heimokirja. Helsinki: Otava, 1924.
^ a b c d e f g h i j Kurs, Ott (1994). Ingria: The broken landbridge
Estonia and Finland.
GeoJournal 33.1, 107–113.
^ A. Pereswetoff-Morath, "'Otiosorum hominum receptacula': Orthodox
Religious Houses in Ingria, 1615–52", Scando-Slavica, vol. 49, 2003.
^ a b c d e f Matley, Ian M. (1979). "The Dispersal of the Ingrian
Finns". Slavic Review. Association for Slavic, East European, and
Eurasian Studies. 38 (1): 1–16. doi:10.2307/2497223.
ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2497223 – via JSTOR. (Registration
^ Inkeri. Historia, kansa, kulttuuri. Edited by Pekka Nevalainen and
Hannes Sihvo. Helsinki 1991.
^ Johannes Angere, Kullankylä (1994) Swedish magazine Ingria. (4),
^ Johannes Angere, Min hemtrakt (2001) Swedish magazine
^ "Inkerinsuomalaisten kronikka", Tietoa Inkerinsuomalaisista
(Information about Ingrian Finns), archived at the Wayback Machine, 13
February 2008 (in Finnish)
^ a b Martin, Terry (1998). "The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing".
The Journal of Modern History. University of Chicago Press. 70 (4):
813–61. doi:10.1086/235168. ISSN 1537-5358.
JSTOR 10.1086/235168 – via JSTOR. (Registration required
Kurs, Ott (1994). Ingria: The broken landbridge between
GeoJournal 33.1, 107–113.
Kepsu, Kasper. 2017. The Unruly Buffer Zone: The Swedish province of
Ingria in the late 17th century. Scandinavian Journal of History.
Site of the Ingrian Cultural Society in Helsinki
Ingermanland and St-Petersburg
Coordinates: 59°38′N 29°18′E / 59.633°N 29.300°E /