Meshchera(redirected from Meshcheryaks)
an ancient tribe that lived along the middle course of the Oka River in the first millennium A.D. Members of the tribe spoke a language belonging to the Finno-Ugric group. Archaeological data have linked the second- to 12th-century burial grounds and town sites situated along the middle Oka with the Meshchera tribe, whose culture closely resembled that of the ancient Mordovians. The Meshchera tribe is mentioned in the explanatory Paleia —a 13th-century Russian literary work—and in Russian chronicles, particularly in connection with Ivan IV’s Kazan compaign. Most of the tribe’s members had become Russified by the 16th century. The rest merged with the Tatars during the time of the Kazan Khanate (15th and 16th centuries).