The Neva river cuts across the Karelia Isthmus, a land about 15,000 square kilometers in size, from lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland. The 4,000-year history of that region is a tumultuous one.
The early pioneers on the shore of the Baltic Ice lake, Gulf of Finland, Neva river, and Lake Ladoga, had relative peace for about 2,800 years. Things started to change around 800 AD, as the major political players grow stronger and clashed.
Ingrians were often scattered, uprooted, and relocated. The study of history paints a clear picture of how desperate, irrational, cruel and war mongering the human race can become, fueled by capricious power.
Sometimes, small violations over property or encroachments into traditional hunting and fishing grounds led to violence. But there was another level, the political power play, which often involved building up force to resist force, and using the political power of a group to build a larger group, to take over neighbors' territories, effect selfish land grabs and paybacks, repress truth, and deny justice.
The current Inkeri Coat of Arms presents the historic conflict of the Inkeri region particularly clearly in its depiction of the wide-flowing water border of the Neva river; travel, transportation, and trading; defensive castle walls of the opposing North and South sides, covered with red blood; and the idealistic hope for a judgment by the wise, old King (God), with his golden crown and embedded jewel stones.
Between 1299 and 1300 AD, Sweden built a town and stronghold at the west end of the Neva river, where it flows into the Gulf of Finland. They called it the Crown of the Land. (Novgorod First Chronicle).
The word Inkeri (or Ingria) is used in two ways in this article:
1. To describe the geographical area
2. To describe the people of the Inkeri / Ingria community
Because the history of the Inkeri is so tumultuous, it is easy to lose the thread of the original meaning and the original spirit of the Inkeri Baltic Finns community, summarized as follows:
- They were a free, independent tribe and part of the region's pioneering rural community.
- The initial Inkeri / Ingria community was made up from the Baltic Finns, Votes, and Izhorians.
- They grew together and shared the Finnish language with the Chuds, Estonians, Izhorians, and Vepsians.
- The Neva river traffic by the Vikings, the Swedish and Novgorod Wars, and the formation of Russia and the totalitarian Stalinism that followed.
- The King and country of Sweden welcomed the Russians and gained control from 1580 to 1595, and from 1617 to 1702.
In early times, the nomadic people simply settled on land that nobody else was using, due to low population. The planet's population was estimated at 30 million in 2000 BC.
Because of the Ice Age, the Nordic region during the Stone Age was not as attractive for the hunters / fishers / gatherers as a Mediterranean city or remote island, the Black Sea, or some tropical island on the Pacific.
Then, it all changed. It has been said that hunger for power and "the love of money" are the "root of all evil", and that certainly seems to be true in the history of the Neva River region, and the lands to its east.
Political / military dictators in history have typically campaigned for political power, followed by a quest for more military power, and then a campaign to horde territory and riches. Richness and fame is what drives them, and in order to obtain them, they are willing to wipe out the opposing side, which is simply defending its own rightful land.
The ordinary inmates of the land – natives, pioneers, and rural people – have built families, tribes, community, education, culture, and tradition. They have a particular close interaction and connection with their land, the seasons, the natural food ingredients, local resources, and the environment, but they are run over as if they are just part of the earth.
If it had not been for the lure of trading foreign goods, wealth, and money (opportunities taken by the Entrepreneurial Vikings starting in the Nordic around 800 AD), life / people could possibly have continued working their land: growing crops, building cabins, hunting animals, catching fish, picking berries and mushrooms, and trading fairly at the local marketplace.
This was a simple life; a life devoid of lusting after, and spending time and assets on gold, silver, and gem stones, silk and crystals, emeralds, flashing metal swords, helmets, and face guards, long boats, mantels, leather sandals and shields.
When the Mongols marched north and east during the 12th century, invading the territory of the Kievan Rus, Moscow was just a trading post, located in the Vladimir Suzdal principality. The Mongols burn down Moscow in 1238, and returned back to pillow it in 1239.
A similar pattern reemerged with another nation (Russia), as the Kievan Rus got back on its feet; Moscow's outstretched bear claw of expansion was activated. The insatiable lust to conquer, dominate, and consume the riches of the foreign lands fueled their ambition and drove them further and further north into Siberia, fanning out east and west. Typically, this was done in the name of religion and culture promotion, followed by forced submission, taxes, and the working of the silver mines.
From Siberia, the movement headed west into Fennoscandia and into Lapland (Kola Peninsula), again represented first by religion, custom, culture and trading, and followed by taxes and mining. Finally, political control of Moscow went south, and then bear claw swung down into the Baltics including the Novgorod republic.
The outward expansion of the Grand Duchy continued in the 14th and 15th centuries, by which time the rulers of Moscow considered the entire Russia territory their collective property. (Wikipedia)
Wikipedia. Grand Duchy of Moscow.
Novgorod First Chronicle.