[ End of article ]

Dictionary of Races or Peoples

FINNIC, FINNO-HUNGARIAN, FINNO-UGRIC, UGRO-FINNIC, UGRIAN. The language of the Finns, using this word in the wider sense to include the Magyars and, sometimes, the Bulgarians. (See Finnish, Ural-Altaic, and Ugro-Finnic.)

FINNISH. Best defined for the purposes of this work from a linguistic point of view in a narrow sense as the race or people of Finno-Tataric stock which now constitutes the chief population of Finland and embraces also the related peoples of northwestern Russia, exclusive of the Lapps (see). This group may be also called the " Finns Proper" or "Western Finns", and includes the Esths, Livs, Vots, Veps, Tavastians, and Karelians, together with the Ijores and Chudes, subbranches of the last named. The Karelians extend nearly to the center of Russia and are called by some "Eastern Finns". It would appear more significant to reserve this latter name to designate the Ugro-Finnic peoples living in Eastern Russia and in Asia. Although speaking languages similar to the Western Finns or Suomi, they are widely different from the latter in blood, and to a great extent in civilization. The Western and Eastern Finns are more unlike than the North and South Italians, who are, for a similar reason, counted separately by the Bureau of Immigration.

Finnish immigration has been larger in recent years than that of most other races having so small a population. It is practically confined to the Western Finns or Finns proper. These are Caucasian rather than Mongolian in appearance, while the Eastern or Volga Finns, who are not known to come as yet to America, show distinctly their Asiatic origin. They are divided from the Finns proper by a broad band of Great Russians which extends through Central Russia from north to south. The Lapps and Samoyeds, another very different stock, may be called the "Northern Finns".

The term "Finn" or "Finnic" is equivalent to "Ugro-Finnic" (see) when employed in a still wider sense to include all thus far mentioned and in addition the Magyars and possibly the Bulgarians (see). The former are linguistically Ugro-Finnic; the latter were so originally. The word "Finnic" is even used at times to designate the entire Finno-Tataric division of the Sibiric branch of the Mongolian race. It then includes the Turks (see). Even the Japanese, Manchus, and Kalmuks belong to coordinate stocks. (See Ural-Altaic for the relations of all Mongolian languages.)

Finally the term Finns is used in a fourth sense, narrowest of all, to designate only the Finns of Finland; that is, little more than the Tavastians, considering the Esths and Livs, for instance, as distinct races. It is evidently necessary to analyze further this complex subject.

The Eastern Finns number about 2,000,000; the Northern Finns, or Lapps and Samoyeds, only 17,000; the Western Finns, or Finns proper, nearly 4.000,000. Of the last named, 2,350,000 live in Finland. Certain districts in the western part of Finland are occupied almost entirely by the blondest of Teutons, Swedes, who number not less than 350,000. The total population of the country is about 2,850,000. Until 1809 Finland was a part of Sweden, and before the dawn of history the Finns and Swedes were no doubt intermingling. This will account in part for the prevailing blondness and European cast of countenance amongst the Finns, which has led the Bureau of Immigration to put them into the "Teutonic division" of races. But the entire Ugro-Finnic stock seems to have been, in origin, lighter in color than most other Mongolians, perhaps as a result of their northern residence. Formerly they were taken out of the Mongolian grand division by certain ethnologists and put into a separate division of "ailophylian whites". Whatever their original stock, the Finns of Finland are today the most truly European of any race possessing a Mongolic speech, and in some respects their institutions are abreast of any in Europe.

Other branches of the Ugro-Finnic stock are classified as below in the census of the Russian Empire for 1897. Since this census does not cover Finland, the first item in the table is taken from the census of Finland for 1900. (See article Russian for additional statistics.)


In Europe.

In Asia.






Western Finns




   In Finland a
























Eastern Finns








Eastern Finns-Con.


























Northern Finns
















a Census of Finland for 1900. Subdivisions of Finns in Finland not given.

Western Finns

Only brief additional data may be given concerning the above-mentioned and other divisions of the Ugro-Fiuns. Chude is an old name once applied to all Finns by the Russians. The census limits the name to those locally called "Chotscher" or "Kaivan", who speak a Karelian dialect. They live in one of the two Karelian provinces, Olonetz; that is, northeast of St. Petersburg. The Veps are northern Chudes; the Vots, southern Chudes. The largest Karelian population is found in Tver province, southeast of St. Petersburg. The Karelians are the easternmost branch of the Finns proper, and show perhaps more trace of an Asiatic origin. They are mainly agriculturists. The Ijores, on the contrary, are found mainly in the city of St. Petersburg. They are descendants of the Ingers, but no longer a pure Tavastian stock, and therefore not good types of the Western Finns. Yet they apparently constitute the group called "Finns" in the Russian census; as the latter live mostly in St. Petersburg.

The Finns of Finland are mainly Tavastians, or Hemes, and Savolaks. The Kwaenes extend farther north and are in a transitional stage between the more cultured Finns toward the south and the Lapps on the north. The Esths and Livs do not differ much from the Finns of Finland in stock. They live south of the Gulf of Finland and along the Baltic, forming about 90 per cent of the population of Esthonia ,and 40 per cent of that of Livonia. The extinct Krevs formerly lived near these in Courland, in Esthonia, and especially in Livonia. The agglutinative language of the Finns is modified by the radically different Aryan speech of the Letts and Lithuanians (see), who adjoin them on the south. In the province of Pskof they speak a dialect called the "Verros". Other names given to certain Baltic or Western Finns are the Lopari, the Evremeiseti, the Savakoti, and the Izhora (Ijores) or Ingers. In religion nearly all the Western Finns are Lutherans.

Eastern Finns

Most of the Eastern Finns live in the middle Volga region of Eastern Russia. Those farthest west are the Cheremisses, in Viatka and Kazan provinces. Not long ago they were nomadic. Though nominally Orthodox, their religion is corrupted with Tatar Mohammedanism and even Mongolian Shamanism. The Chuvashes, adjoining the Cheremisses on the north and the Kazan Tatars on the east, have some of the characteristics of both. Many of them speak Türki, the Tatar tongue. They are thought by some to be a branch of the Mordvinians, but are counted in the Russian census as Tatars (see).

The Mordvinians form the largest division of the Eastern Finns, numbering over 1,000,000. They are most numerous farther down the Volga basin, in the provinces of Samara, Simbirsk, Penza, and Saratov, reaching to within one province of the Caspian Sea. They are also widely scattered through the Great Russian and Tatar populations of other provinces, and are often Russified in language and customs.. The. Erzu and Mokcha are two dialects of the Mordvinian.

The Votyaks, Permyaks, and Zyrians are the northernmost of the Eastern Finns in Europe. The last named extend to the Samoyed country on the Arctic. Most of the Toguls and all the Ostyaks, who are nomads, live in Siberia. These two peoples, small in number, may be called the Ugric division of the Ugro-Finnic stock (see). They are nearly as Asiatic and primitive in their manner of life as are the stunted Samoyeds and Lapps of the frozen ocean. Finally, the Bessermans are a small group of Mohammedans distinguishable only by their religion from the Votyaks, among whom they live, but related to the Voguls.

Finnish emigrants to the United States are all, so far as known, Western or true Finns. Immigration has been rapid in recent years. In the thirteen years from 1893 to 1905 Finland lost 128,600 by emigration. Nearly all of these came to America - in 1905, all but 37. In the twelve years 1899-1910, 151,774 Finnish immigrants were admitted to the United States, the race ranking fourteenth in that regard among all races or peoples. The rate per 1,000 of the population of Western Finns arriving per year (4 in 1907) is only half that of the Italians, Irish, or Norwegians, and less than one-fourth that of the Hebrews or Slovaks. During the twelve years mentioned, 109,229 of the Finnish immigrants admitted were destined to four States as follows: Michigan, 40,915; Massachusetts, 25,153; Minnesota, 22,799; New York, 20,362. It will be seen that about 27 per cent of the Finns went to Michigan and 15 per cent to Minnesota, which States received, respectively, only 2.4 and 1.9 per cent of all immigrants during the period.

FINNO-TATARIC or FINNO-TURKIC PEOPLES. A term sometimes used to embrace the Finnic and Tataric (see) groups of the Siberic stock of the Mongolian race. To be defined as that group of Mongolian races speaking the Ural-Altaic languages (see).

Printed in Reports of the Immigration Commission. Dictionary of Races or Peoples, p. 58-61. 61st Congress. 3d Session. Document No. 662. Washington 1911.

[ Beginning of article ]