Mordovia (môrdōˈvēə) [key], Mordovian Republic môrdōˈvēən, or Mordva Republic môrdˈvə, constituent republic (1990 est. pop. 965,000), c.10,000 sq mi (25,900 sq km), E European Russia. Once a densely forested steppe, it consists of the Volga upland in the east and the Oka-Don lowland in the west. Agricultural processing and the manufacture of machinery, furniture, paper, and wood chemicals are the major industries. Beekeeping is a long-established economic activity. Cattle and sheep are raised, and grain, hemp, potatoes, and flax are grown. Saransk, the capital, and Ardatov are the major cities. The population is composed mainly of Russians (60%), Mordovians (33%), and Tatars (5%). The Mordovians (Rus. Mordva ) speak a Finno-Ugric language and are Orthodox Christians. The Mordovians were first mentioned by the Gothic historian Jordanes in the 6th cent. A.D. They were land tillers and herders, with close ties to the Slavs. In the mid-13th cent. they came under the political control of the Golden Horde and, when it disintegrated, passed to the Kazan khanate. Russia annexed the territory of the Mordovians in 1552. The Mordovian Autonomous SSR, also known as the Mordovian Autonomous SSR, was formed in 1934. It was a signatory, under the name Mordva Republic, to the Mar. 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation (see Russia).
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