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HISTORY

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Chuvashes are one of the most numerous nationalities of Russia. They occupy the 5-th place after Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar and Bashkir people. At present the Chuvashes are the onlyTurkic nationality of Orthodox beliefs.

The Chuvash ancestors were semi-nomadic tribes of ancient Bulgars and Suvars that resided in the Northern Caucasus in the 5th - 8th centuries. In the 7th and 8th centuries one part of the Bulgars left for the Balkans, another part moved to the middle Volga region where they formed the ethnic foundation of future Chuvashes and Kazan Tatars. The Chuvash nationality was formed from the part of the Bulgar population that did not adopt Islam; this formation was completed when the Chuvash people joined the Russian Empire in 1551.

There are three ethnographic groups of the Chuvash people: upper-land Chuvash people (viryal, turi) live in the north and north-west parts of Chuvashia, lower-land (anatri) Ц live in the south of the republic and outside the republic, middle-land (anat enchi) Ц in the north-east and central districts of Chuvashia. There are two dialects of Chuvash: Upper (УoФ pronouncing) and Lower (УuФ pronouncing).

At present the Chuvash Republic is an independent republic and a constituent of the Russian Federation. In tsarist Russia the territory of modern Chuvashia belonged to two administrative regions Ц Kazan region and Simbirsk region. On June 24, 1920 the Chuvash autonomous oblast was formed, which was transformed into Chuvash ASSR in April of 1925. In its present form the Chuvash Republic was formed in 1992. Since December 26, 1993 the republic is governed by the Chuvash President.

The Coat of Arms of the Chuvash Republic looks like a heraldic golden yellow shield with the purple symbol of УTree of LifeФ in the center. It not only symbolizes the revival but also represents the peoples of the Chuvash land. From the purple Ђfield-earthї grows Ђtrunkї and Ђbranchesї of ethnic Chuvash people, living on the native earth. From the lines parallel to this Уfield-earthФ come УbranchesФ of ethnic Chuvash people who live outside the republic. The crown of УTree of LifeФ contains the branches of nationalities living on the territory of the Chuvash Republic. The Coat of Arms shows the Chuvash emblem УThree SunsФ which symbolizes the unity of present, past and future time along with golden hop branches and cones and the name of the Republic in gold on a purple cartouche.

The state flag looks like a square golden yellow cloth with the purple color at the bottom of the flag perpesenting the land. There are also the armorial emblems УThe Tree of LifeФ and УThree sunsФ in the center of the flag.

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