Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ostyaks. (1) Ostyahs of the Obi, a historical people of West Siberia, who before the Russian invasion (1501) were very powerful, possessing numerous fortified towns and a well-developed national organisation. They are now reduced to a number of small groups scattered over a space of about 400,000 square miles, chiefly in the Obi basin, but numbering altogether scarcely more than 26,000 in 1880. They call themselves Manzi, "men," Ostyak being a Tatar word (Ushtiak) meaning "strangers," unless it be a corruption of As-yak, "people of the As" i.e. the Obi river. The Ostyaks form one of the three main divisions of the Ugrian Finns, their language, of which there are three marked dialects (Irkutsk, Surgut, and Obdorsk), being most nearly related to that of the Voguls of the Ural Mountains. (2) Ostyaks of the Yenisei, Siberian aborigines of the Upper Yenisei basin as far as the confluence of the lower Tunguska, usually classed as Samoyedes; but the language, of which there are several varieties (Assan, Arinzi, Kotti, etc.), appears to be quite distinct. It is highly agglutinating, and has been compared with the Basque of the western Pyrenees, with which, however, it has no structural resemblance.