Muslim and Newly-Baptised Tartars in Novgorod: The Formation and Functioning of a Minor Social Group in the Late 16th and Early 17th Centuries

Adrian Selin

Abstract


The article uses the prosopographical method to examine the history of Muslim and newly-baptised Tatars in Novgorod after 1550. 418 biographies were studied. The main sources were documents from the Razryad (service lists) and Pomestny Prikaz (land chancellery): local Novgorod court records also furnished further information. The history of the Novgorod Tartars began in the 1550s, when groups from Astrakhan and Kazan were settled in the eastern part of Novgorod region (Sugletsa and Udomlya districts). As they served the tsar, they received landed estates in Novgorod that were populated with Orthodox peasants. Between 1550 and 1611, different Muslim groups were transferred to Novgorod from Azov, the Crimea, and Bukhara; these groups maintained special identities for a long time. The conversion of Muslims to Orthodoxy is focused upon in this article: the process was slow, but the predominance of Orthodoxy in the region gradually induced local Tartar groups to accept baptism. In 1605, there were 197 newly-baptised Tartars and 48 Muslims. After the Time of Troubles, the differences between the various groups of Tartars disappeared. Most of the Tartars lost their landed estates and started to serve for food and salary; nonetheless, this special group of Novgorodian servicemen continued to exist until the Great Northern War.


Keywords


16th–17th centuries Russian history; Novgorod Land; Tartars; Newly-Baptized; settling; conversion; prosopography

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2016.3.177

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