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Khanty children in front of a reindeer sledge
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (Russia)
 Russia30,943 (2010)
 Ukraine100 (2001)
Khanty, Russian
Russian Orthodoxy, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups

The Khanty, or Khants,[1] are a native population of Russia. They used to be called Ostyaks. They are an Ugrian people. They live in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug with the Mansi. In the 2010 Census,[2] 30,943 people said they were Khanty.

History[change | change source]

In the second millennium BC, a population of people lived in land in the Kama and the Irtysh rivers. They spoke a Proto-Uralic language and had contact with Proto-Indo-European speakers from the south.[3] Some researchers believe this is where the Khanty people came from. Other researchers say that the Khanty people came from the south Ural steppe.[4] They were nomads, which means they didn't stay in one place for very long.

Khanty probably appear in Russian records around the 11th century, under the name Yugra. Yugra was the word for different Uralic tribes, like the Mansis. The first time the Khanty people were mentioned alone was in 1572. They were called the Ostyaks.

Contact with Russians and Tatars[change | change source]

The Russians and Tatars colonized the Khanty. Khanty children were taken as hostages and converted to Christianity. Khanty people and other indigenous peoples were punished when they did not follow church rules. Their idols were burned, but some were secretly made again and hidden.[5]

Some Khanty and other indigenous Siberian people fled into the tundra. The settlers were interested in the southern areas, which they could use for mining and farming. Some settlers married Khanty people and learned their language.[5]

Khanty shamans, or spiritual leaders, were not treated well. Their burial grounds were destroyed, and Khanty children were forced to go to boarding schools. The Khanty resisted this, and elders led the Kazym rebellion.[1] The Red Army beat the Khantys, burning their villages. Any Khanty who took part in traditional funeral rites could be put in prison, and bear hunting was no longer allowed.[1][5]

Culture[change | change source]

Khanty family in front of a chum
Khanty family in front of a chum

Ways of life[change | change source]

Traditionally, the Khantys fished, hunted in the taiga, and herded reindeer. They lived as trappers.[6]

During the winter, the Khanty lived in huts made out of earth and branches. During the spring, they moved towards hunting and fishing grounds, where they made tents out of birch-bark and poles, called chums. These were for temporary shelter and could be moved, but the huts in the winter were stationary, meaning they did not move.[6]

The Khanty used longbows, arrows and spears as weapons, and iron helmets and chain mail as armour.[6]

Religion[change | change source]

Language[change | change source]

The Khanty speak the Khanty language, an Uralic language. The Khanty language is related to Mansi and Hungarian.

Famous Khanty people[change | change source]

  • Ambal (lived in the 16th and 17th century), Khanty and Tatar prince

Gallery[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: Khants".
  2. "Впн-2010". Archived from the original on 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2022-03-10.
  3. Wiget, Andrew; Balalaeva, Olga (2011). Khanty, People of the Taiga: Surviving the 20th Century. University of Alaska Press. pp. 3. ISBN 978-16022-3125-2.
  4. "Khanty and Mansi". Britannica.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Balzer, Marjorie Mandelstam (1983). "Ethnicity without Power: The Siberian Khanty in Soviet Society". Slavic Review. 42 (4): 633–648. doi:10.2307/2497372. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 2497372. S2CID 155219886.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Forsyth, James (1994-09-08). A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia's North Asian Colony 1581-1990. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47771-0.