Lipka Tatars

The Lipka Tatars (also known as Belarusian Tatars, Lithuanian Tatars, Polish Tatars, Lipkowie, Lipcani or Muślimi) are a group of Turkic-speaking Tatars who originally settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the beginning of 14th century. The first settlers tried to preserve their shamanistic religion and sought asylum amongst the non-Christian Lithuanians. Towards the end of the 14th century, another wave of Tatars - this time, Muslims, were invited into the Grand Duchy by Vytautas the Great. These Tatars first settled in Lithuania proper around Vilnius, Trakai, Hrodna and Kaunas and later spread to other parts of the Grand Duchy that later became part of Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. These areas comprise present-day Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. From the very beginning of their settlement in Lithuania they were known as the Lipka Tatars. While maintaining their religion, they united their fate with that of the mainly Christian Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the Battle of Grunwald onwards the Lipka Tatar light cavalry regiments participated in every significant military campaign of Lithuania and Poland.

The Lipka Tatar origins can be traced back to the descendant states of the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan - the White Horde, the Golden Horde, the Crimean Khanate and Kazan Khanate. They initially served as a noble military caste but later they became urban-dwellers known for their crafts, horses and gardening skills. Throughout centuries they resisted assimilation and kept their traditional lifestyle. While they remained very attached to their religions, over time however, they lost their original Tatar language and for the most part adopted Polish. There are still small groups of Lipka Tatars living in today's Belarus, Lithuania and Poland, as well as their communities in United States.

Read more about Lipka Tatars:  Origin of The Term 'Lipka', Lipkas in The Past, Lipkas Today, Famous Lipka Tatar Descendants

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Tatarian - Subgroups - Lipka Tatars
... Main articles Lipka Tatars The Lipka Tatars are a group of Turkic-speaking Tatars who originally settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the ... Towards the end of the 14th century, another wave of Tatars – this time, Muslims, were invited into the Grand Duchy by Vytautas the Great ... These Tatars first settled in Lithuania proper around Vilnius, Trakai, Hrodna and Kaunas and later spread to other parts of the Grand Duchy that later became part of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth ...
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... Nemėžis is one of several Lithuanian settlements where Lipka Tatars live ... Brought as prisoners of war, Tatars were allowed to settle here in 1397 after Vytautas' expeditions against the Golden Horde (see the Battle of Blue Waters) ... At first Tatars served as personal guards for the Grand Duke of Lithuania, but later took up more civil professions breeding horses, tanning, gardening ...
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... Charles Bronson - Lithuanian American actor whose father was a Lipka Tatar, born in Druskininkai (Druskienik) Aleksander Romanowicz - general of cavalry in Russian Imperial Army and Polish Army ... on his father's side deriving from the Lipka Tatars Aleksander Sulkiewicz - Polish politician of Tatar ethnicity, activist in socialist and independence movements and one of the co-founders of Polish Socialist ... Her maternal Lipka Tatar background was unearthed in an episode of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr ...