Table of contents:
- Shards of the Golden Horde
- We have always been buffaloes
- Tatars are highly noted in the history of Poland
Video: Indigenous Tatars of Poland: Why there was no Pan over the Uhlans, but there was a Muslim crescent
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
The Poles traditionally object to the statements in social networks "Europe did not know the Muslim diasporas before": "What are we to you, not Europe?" And the thing is that since the time of Khan Tokhtamysh, Poland has had its own Tatar diaspora. And Poland owes her some iconic things and names in its history.
Shards of the Golden Horde
In the fourteenth century, Chingizid Tokhtamysh, the one who ruined Moscow for disobedience, was defeated by Khan Timur Kutlug, also, of course, Chingizid. Left without a throne, Tokhtamysh left with loyal soldiers (some of whom were Tatars of various kinds and some of whom were Russians) to Vitovt in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. They entered into an alliance for the joint conquest of the scattered Russian and Volga principalities - the Russians would retreat to Vitovt, and the Volga lands to Tokhtamysh. However, it was not possible to defeat Timur Kutlug, and Tokhtamysh's supporters remained forever in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Later they were joined by families from different fragments of the Golden Horde, from the Crimean Tatars to the Astrakhan Tatars, and, of course, the Volga Tatars. The main migration of Tatars to Polish lands took place in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Any fugitive from home - whether from a Russian tsar or from a native khan - was assigned to serve in the west, especially since the Poles and Lithuanians recognized the titles of nobility of the Horde and former Horde as their equal.
There was, however, a peculiarity: the Tatar nobles of the Polish and Lithuanian lands were directly subordinate, first to the Grand Duke, then to the King, and were quite dependent on him. This gave rise to a special knightly core in their midst, devotion to the king and, as a counterbalance, contempt for the gentry "excessive" liberties.
Quite a lot of documents related to the history of the Polish Tatars have survived, including letters from the Crimean Khan. In them, he calls the Tatars of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania "sticka" or "lifka" - this is how the word "Lithuanian" was distorted in the language of the Polovtsian descendants. This word in the form "Tatars-lipki" entered the Belarusian and Polish languages. This is how the Tatars of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus are often mentioned in our time.
Vitovt and subsequent kings were so kind that they gave the Tatars lands quite generously. But - always on the border (then) lands, as a buffer between themselves and their German neighbors. In case of aggression, the Tatars were the first to take the blow. This is not a purely Polish practice - for example, in the United States, the Choctaw and Cherokee peoples were forcibly resettled from the east of the country to the only conquered west so that they literally closed off white settlers from those who disagreed with the conquest of the Indians of the West, and in Russia during the times of Catherine, Armenians were settled in the south as the barrier of Russian cities from the raids of the highlanders (the difference, however, is big - the Armenians and Tatars agreed to the place of settlement voluntarily).
We have always been buffaloes
Although the last couple of centuries the Tatars of Poland usually refer to themselves in documents as “Muslims” (yes, precisely by faith, not by nationality), initially they used a different word, albeit with the same meaning - “bisurmans”. Actually, in the language of the Crimean Tatars, this word meant followers of Islam. The Tatars began to use a more European form after the war between the Poles and the Turks, since the word "bisurman" then became abusive for the Poles.
As a matter of fact, although the Poles treat their Tatars quite well, no, no, but someone will remember the war with the Turks. The fact is that in 1667 the Polish Sejm passed laws that limited the traditional religious freedom and military privileges of the Tatars. It is not surprising that when the troops arrived, no less than two thousand Tatar soldiers (or even more) joined the co-religionists. Only after the recognition of the previous privileges did the Tatars of Podillya return to the service of the Polish kings.
So the Poles realized that it is more profitable to rely on brotherhood in the land, and not in religion - otherwise, you know, a religious minority can find large and toothy allies of the same faith. But the word “bisurman” nevertheless became a dirty word - “bisurmane” fought on the side of the Turks. The Tatars had to call themselves in a European manner, thereby showing their loyalty to the European civilization. In addition, the practice has spread to take two names: Polish for documents, also to demonstrate loyalty, and Muslim - at home.
Over time, the Tatars in general have become strongly Polonized and now they have to literally revive their knowledge of the language: they pass it at school in a special circle. So far, the main goal has become to make it the language of culture, and only time will tell whether it will become the language of everyday communication. Despite the Polish language at home and the Polish names in the document, the Tatars of Poland are still for the most part "bisurmans" - that is, Muslims, they visit mosques and celebrate Muslim holidays.
True, only five mosques are now open. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were seventeen of them, but in socialist times, as part of the struggle against obscurantism (or, rather, under the pretext of this struggle), they were destroyed or given for other needs. By the twenty-first century, only three mosques have survived, and two more have been built in our time. Surprisingly, the oldest mosque was built by a Jewish architect, focusing on Catholic churches.
Tatars are highly noted in the history of Poland
Recently, a monument to a Tatar warrior, a loyal ally of Poland, was unveiled in Gdansk. It was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald with the Germans. True, the Russian diaspora was somewhat offended - after all, his Russian soldiers took part in the battle under the command of the Tatar Khan, and this is not reflected in the monument in any way. But the Tatars themselves are very pleased, especially since the monument depicts the ulan in general, and not the participants in that battle.
The Tatars of Poland became the ancestors of the Uhlan troops. The word "ulan" itself comes from their language, it means "son" or "young man" - most likely, the first uhlans were recruited from the youngest (and lightest) cavalrymen who could make swift attacks. Tatar lancers could be distinguished in the nineteenth century by the crescent on the headdress. However, the version according to which the name of the Ulans came from the surname of the Polish Tatar nobleman Alexander Ulan is much more likely.
From the Tatars, the saying “do not mash the pan over the ulan” also went - it reflected the subordination of the Tatar uhlans exclusively to the king, in contrast to other warriors who were loyal to different pans.
From the Tatar national headdress comes the confederate hat, which Polish patriots and patriots loved to wear at the time when they expressed their clothes against the Russian or Austrian authorities in the lands of the former Great Poland "from sea to sea". Both the Lancers and the Confederates eventually spread across Europe and North America.
Several high-profile names emerged from among the Polish Tatars. For example, Henryk Sienkiewicz is a Nobel laureate in literature (though his family was already a long time ago Catholics). The hero of the First World War, Yakov Yuzefovich, was from the Lipok Tatars. Filming by cinematographer Kenan Kutub-zade in Auschwitz, just occupied by Soviet troops, was among the main evidence at the Nuremberg Trials. Sculptures of Magdalena Abakanovich, Tatar women, are in museums around the world. The Polish ambassador to Kazakhstan Selim Khazbievich is also a Tatar.
It is clear that even after the division of Polish lands during the Napoleonic wars and after 1939, the Tatar diaspora was also divided into German, Belarusian, Lithuanian and Polish. The first quickly disappeared, and the other three still consider themselves one people. After the war, part of the Soviet Tatars moved to Poland - not only those who lived on the lands of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but also some Crimean and Volga Tatars, simply taking advantage of the opportunity that opened then.
Now, after so many centuries of assimilation, wars and political upheavals, the Polish Tatar population numbers only two thousand people - but many Poles can find Tatar roots in their family. Since the Tatars have lived here for many centuries, they are already considered one of the country's indigenous peoples.
Although in Poland all Muslims from the collapsed Golden Horde have fused into one Tatar brotherhood, in Russia the situation is different: why not all who are called Tatars are one people.
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