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Chambers 21st Century Dictionary

1 a. historical a group of peoples, including Mongols and Turks, which overran Asia and parts of Europe in the Middle Ages;
(b) a group of peoples related to the Turks now living especially in the republic of Tatarstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and W Siberia.
2. an individual belonging to these groups or peoples.
3. their language.
adjective belonging or relating to these groups or their language.

[14c: ultimately from Persian Tatar.]

Member of a Turkic people, the descendants of the mixed Mongol and Turkic followers of Genghis Khan. The Tatars now live mainly in the Russian autonomous republic of Tatarstan, western Siberia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (where they were deported from the Crimea in 1944). There are over 5 million speakers of the Tatar language, which belongs to the Turkic branch of the Altaic family. Traditionally many were teachers, traders, Islamic missionaries, and artisans. Today Tatars farm, fish, and breed horses, although many are urbanized. They are mainly Sunni Muslims, although some have converted to the Orthodox Church and many retain practices from shamanism. Tatar demonstrations in Moscow 1987 demanded the restoration of the Crimea as an autonomous republic to which they could return. A special commission, established to look into the community's grievances, subsequently reported that such a move was not feasible because the C...    Continue Reading

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