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(Voguls), a people, the indigenous population of the Khanty-Mansi National Okrug in Tiumen’ Oblast, RSFSR.
The Mansi are settled in the Ob’ River basin, mainly along its left tributaries—the Konda and Severnaia Sos’va rivers—and in the vicinity of the city of Berezovo; some live among the Russian population in Sverdlovsk Oblast, RSFSR. The Mansi population totals 7,700 people (1970 census). The Mansi speak the Vogul language, but many also speak Russian. Since the early 17th century the Mansi have regarded themselves as members of the Orthodox Church, although they have held on to various pre-Christian beliefs, including ancestor worship and shamanism. The Mansi probably formed an independent ethnic group in the first millennium A.D. during the merging of the Ugrians, who had pushed up from the south, with the ancient hunting and fishing tribes of the taiga region of the Trans-Urals. The Mansi are related to the Khanty. With them they are known from 11th-century literary sources under the name “Ugrians” and from the 14th century under the names “Vogulichi” and “Voguls.” Their chief occupations are fishing, hunting, reindeer breeding, farming, livestock raising, and fur farming; some Mansi are industrial workers.