- The Slavs are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group living in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia, who speak a Slavic language. They may share cultural traits and history.
- Slavs are categorized as follow: EastSlavic (Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians); West Slavic(Poles, Czechs, Slovaks), and South Slavic (Bosniaks, Serbs, Croats, Bulgarians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Slovenes). However, many of these cultures reject the notion of being Slavic.
- History. Little is known about the origin of the Slavs. In about 2000 BCE the Slavs may have come from western Asia to the area of Poland, the Carpathian Mountains and/or Belarus. In the early 6th century CE the Slavs lived in Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe; they had split linguistically. Slavic groups were also found among the Vikings in Scandinavia, among mercenaries fighting for the Byzantines and Arabs, in Asia Minor and Syria.
- East Slavs. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, the theory is that they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, Rusyn, and Belarusian peoples. Little is known about the Eastern Slavs prior to approximately 859 AD because of the absence of a written language and the remoteness of East Slavic lands. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River, in the forest and steppe regions of what is now Ukraine and southern Belarus. Next they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of Moscow. They also went west to the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers in Moldavia and southern Ukraine. Later, East Slavs colonized Siberia and Central Asia. The East Slavs farmed, raised animals, made cloth and ceramics, and built fortified settlements, many of which later developed into important cities. Among such early settlements was Kiev.
- West Slavs. Westward migration of the early West Slavic tribes followed the collapse of the Roman Empire. The East Slavs and most South Slavs were influenced by the Byzantine Empire and converted to Orthodox Christianity. The West Slavs and the western South Slavs (Slovenes and Croats) converted to Roman Catholicism. About 20 tribes formed small states between 800 and 960 AD. One of these tribes, the Polanie People of the Plain, settled in the area of Poland. Over time the Poles settled to the east of the Germanic regions, the Czechs and Slovaks to the south.
- South Slavs. This is the most hotly debated of the Slavic categories. The South Slavs live in the Balkan Peninsula, southern Pannonian Plain and eastern Alps. They include the Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Slovenes. The country of Yugoslavia merged most of the South Slavic nations into a single state. The name was created by the combination of the Slavic words "jug" (south) and "sloveni" (Slavs).
- Etymology. The name Slav is from "Slověninъ" (Sloveninu) meaning a Slav. Commonly believed to be related to the word "slovo" meaning word or speech. In other words "people who speak the same language", in contrast to the Slavic word "němci" meaning foreign or mumbling, murmuring people.
- Slavs are Europe's largest ethnic and linguistic group. The current estimated population of Slavs in America is over 20 million.
- As a whole, the Slavic people became absorbed into the cultures that became more firmly established in the Middle Ages.
- Religion. The Slavs embraced Christianity very early, around the 6th century. Most of these people who are still residing in Europe and who are Christians are either Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox or Uniate. A few Slavs, like the Pomaks in Bulgaria, are Muslim.
Statistics for the Slavic Peoples
- According to data from the 1989 Soviet census, the population of the Soviet Union was 70% East Slavs.
- Overall there were more than 200 languages and dialects spoken in the Soviet Union (at least 18 with more than 1 million speakers), of which the Slavic group made up 75%
- Russia’s Muslim population is increasing dramatically relative to Russia’s Slavic population
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- Slavs (Wikipedia)
- Slav (Encyclopedia Britannica)
- Slavic Peoples (Princeton)
- Who Are Slavic People?
- The Slavic Ethnogenesis
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