The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Explore Ethnicity

The playing cards make note of the presence of 57 different ethnic groups.

In some cases the cards use ethnonyms (names of ethnic groups) that are unfamiliar to our ears. In other cases they use ethnonyms that are no longer used. No matter what, we reproduce the vocabulary used in the cards. Where relevant, we include alternate terms. 

Even before you begin digging into the data, you might notice a glaring absence: Russians. Russians are listed as inhabitants of 62 of the 77 provinces described on the cards. They were, in other words, almost everywhere. Including them in the tag cloud would have had the same effect as that of a bright full moon on what would otherwise have been a starry sky. By leaving them off the list here, we are able to see the other constellations. Although the Russian tag does not appear in the cloud above, it is at work in our system. If you are interested in finding out which provinces had, for example, both German and Russian inhabitants, you will be able to do so. (You can head over to the data viz section to explore the locations of a subset of ethnic groups.)

One final note: Don't lose sight of the fact that "Deal" tells you only whether or not an ethnic group is mentioned on a playing card. Nothing more, nothing less.

Ready to get your hands dirty? 

Click/drag any colored dot to reveal the associated provinces. Click a second time to collapse the connections. Or click a province name to open up all of its own connections. Drag the dots around the screen as needed.

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