The Crimean Tatars is a Turkic ethnic groups that formed on the Crimean Peninsula from the 13th century. It should be noted however, that as early as the 10th century, Islamic Turkic tribes from the Asian steppes invaded the Crimean Peninsula, which at the time was settled by Greek communities.
Until the mid-1800s, a majority of the residents on the Crimean Peninsula were Crimean Tatars, and until the end of the 1800s they were still the single largest ethnic group there even though they now constituted less than 50% of the total Crimean population.
In May 1944, the USSR State Defense Committee ordered all Tatars to be removed from Crimea and re-settled in Central Asia. They were transported in trains and boxcars, and most of them were taken to Uzbekistan. Some fled to Turkey instead, which explains why there is now large diasporas of Crimean Tatars in both Uzbekistan and Turkey.
Starting in 1967, some Tatars were allowed to go back to Crimea. In 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union issued a condemnation of the 1944 removal, calling it inhuman and lawless.
Crimean Tatars today
Nowadays, roughly 12% of the Crimean population are Crimean Tatars.
At the 2001 Ukrainian census 248,200 people in Ukraine identified as Crimean Tatars, and of these, 98% lived in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and about 0.7% (1,800 people) lived in the city of Sevastopol, which is on the Crimean peninsula but not within the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Examples of places with notable Crimean Tatar populations:
|United States||Circa 7,000|
The official number of Crimean Tatars in Turkey are about 150,000, but some Tatar political activist claim that the true number is actually somewhere between 4 million and 6 million. They have come to this conclusion by assuming one million Tatar immigrants to Turkey as a starting point, and then increasing this number based on an assumed birth rate for the last hundred years.
In Turkey, the officially identified Crimean Tatars chiefly live in the Eskisehir Province, a province that has received waves of Crimean Tatar immigration from the late 18th century to the first half of the 20th century.
The Crimean Tatars can be subdivided into several smaller ethnic groups, of which the most well-known ones are the Tats, the Yaliboyu, the Mangit, and the Ortayulak.
The Tats (not to be consfused with the Iranic Tat people) inhabited the mountains of Crimea before 1944. They have a lot of Greek and Goth ancestry mix with their Tatar ancestry. An alternative name for this group is Hellenic Urum people.
Traditionally, the Yaliboyu inhabited the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula.
The Mangits are traditionally associated with the Crimean steppe.
The term Noğay is also used for this subgroup of Crimean Tatars, but can cause missunderstandings since it easy to confused the Noğay people with the Nogai people, a Turkic ethnic group who live in the Russian North Caucasus region.
The Ortayulak traditionally inhabited central Crimea.