Mari El

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Mari El

(mä`rē ĕl`), constituent republic (1990 pop. 760,000), c.8,900 sq mi (23,100 sq km), E central European Russia, in the middle Volga valley. Yoshkar-Ola is the capital. The region is a rolling plain, heavily forested with fir and pine. There is an extensive lumbering industry, and the republic produces paper and pulp and varied wood products. In the nonforested agricultural areas, grain and flax are grown, and there is dairy farming and livestock raising. The main industry, however, is machinery and machine tool manufacture. The population is mainly Russian (47%) and Mari (43%), with Tatar, Chuvash, Udmurt, and other minorities. Previously called Cheremiss, the Mari speak a Finno-Ugric language and are known for their wood and stone carving and embroidery. In the 8th cent. the Mari were under KhazarKhazars
, ancient Turkic people who appeared in Transcaucasia in the 2d cent. A.D. and subsequently settled in the lower Volga region. They emerged as a force in the 7th cent. and rose to great power. The Khazar empire extended (8th–10th cent.
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 rule. Ruled by the Eastern BulgarsBulgars, Eastern
, Turkic-speaking people, who possessed a powerful state (10th–14th cent.) at the confluence of the Volga and the Kama, E European Russia. The Bulgars appeared on the Middle Volga by the 8th cent. and became known as the Eastern, Volga, or Kama Bulgars.
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 from the 9th to the 12th cent., the Mari were then conquered (1236) by the Golden HordeGolden Horde, Empire of the,
Mongol state comprising most of Russia, given as an appanage to Jenghiz Khan's oldest son, Juchi, and actually conquered and founded in the mid-13th cent. by Juchi's son, Batu Khan, after the Mongol or Tatar (see Tatars) conquest of Russia.
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. The Russians under Ivan IVIvan IV
or Ivan the Terrible,
1530–84, grand duke of Moscow (1533–84), the first Russian ruler to assume formally the title of czar. Early Reign

Ivan succeeded his father Vasily III, who died in 1533, under the regency of his mother.
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 assumed control in 1552. An autonomous region was organized in the area in 1920, and an autonomous republic established in 1936. It was a signatory to the Mar. 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation (see RussiaRussia,
officially the Russian Federation,
Rus. Rossiya, republic (2005 est. pop. 143,420,000), 6,591,100 sq mi (17,070,949 sq km). The country is bounded by Norway and Finland in the northwest; by Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, and Ukraine in the west; by Georgia
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).