The first settlements in history on the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan date back to the Palaeolithic period – about 100,000 years ago. The first state – the Volga-Kama Bulgaria – was set up at the end of the 9th – beginning of the 10th centuries. It was the first feudal state in north-eastern Europe. In 922 Islam was accepted as a state religion. The Bulgar mosques and madrasah – Muslim cleric schools – spread knowledge and culture in the neighbouring regions. In the 13th century the territory of the Volga-Kama Bulgaria was annexed to the Empire of Genghis-Khan. And then it became a part of the powerful Zolotaya Orda (Golden Horde) State.

The collapse of the Golden Horde in the thirties-forties of the 14th century resulted in the formation of a number of new states including the Kazan Khanate (1445). Kazan became the capital of the newly formed state. The Kazan Khanate ceased its existence in October 1552, after a two-month siege when troops of Ivan IV (the Terrible), numbering 150,000 people, conquered Kazan. A few decennia after a path-breaking step on the way to the restoration of the statehood of the Tatar people was the declaration of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1920.

Tatarstan today

The end of the last century brought new opportunities for the development of the statehood of Tatarstan. On August 30, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Tatarstan declared the State Sovereignty of the republic. Later, 61% of referendum participants supported this declaration. The referendum, which was held in March 1992, officially established the State Sovereignty. Since then, August 30 has been celebrated as The Day of the Republic of Tatarstan. In 1994, the republic officially assumed the name Tatarstan. In March 2008, the republic was declared a part of the Russian Federation.

F.A.Q. on History

When did Tatars convert to Islam?

Islam in Tatarstan existed since the 10th century. It began to grow major in 922 when Bulgar ruler Almısh was converted to Islam. 

Are Tatar people indigenous to Russia?

The Kazan Tatars are one of the most visible ethnic minorities and indigenous people in Russia.

Who are the Tatars today? 

Most of the people known as Tartars in the Russian Federation are descendants of Turkic tribes who inhabited two eastern parts of the Mongol Empire. The name Tatar was later used to describe the Mongols.