In the Republic of Mari El lives about half of the 640,000 members. The remaining Mari live scattered in many regions and republics of the Volga -Urals region. Their language is called Mari. There are two written languages , which are both official languages of Mari El. One distinguishes the so-called " mountain -Mari " who live on the high southern bank of the Volga, the " forest -Mari " of the West, the larger group of " Meadow Mari " at the northern shallow bank of the Volga and the " Eastern Mari ", of which many of them live in Bashkortostan.
A first mention was made of the Mari in the 6th century in Jordanes as sremniscans, a designation that the Volga Bulgarian name çеремçин ( in the literal translation of " steppe dwellers ", from " Cheremises " ) is borrowed. The ancestors of the Mari were first subjected from the 5th to the 8th century by the Goths under Ermanarich and then depending on the realms of the Khazars and Volga Bulgarians. From the 13th to the 15th century, they were part of the Empire of the Golden Horde and the Khanate of Kazan. With the conquest of the Khanate by Ivan IV in 1552 the Marines came under the domination of Russia, they resisted until the 17th century. On October 4, 1920 Autonomous Region, on December 5, 1936 Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Mari ( Mari ASSR ), which in 1990 was declared their sovereignty. Today there are various nationalist organizations Mari, including the party Marij Uschem.
While others of Ivan IV subject peoples were comparatively quickly proselytized of Novgorod, the Mari have resisted until the 19th century Christianization. Many members of the Mari, in particular many Eastern Mari ( Chi -Mari, Mari Pure ), maintain to this day a traditional pagan, nature-based religion, which, however, has also experienced Christian and Islamic influences. In Mari El, there are three pagan communities. However, most religious Mari now belong to the Russian Orthodox Church. Furthermore, there are many of them Protestants of various denominations.
- Andrej Eschpai ( born 1925 ), composer
- Yakov Andreyevich Eschpai (1890-1963), composer
- Nina Makarova (1908-1976), composer
- Zeyad Mari (born 1978 ), President of the Mari