WHO ARE THE Carpatho-RusynS?
The Carpatho-Rusyns are a distinct group of people with their own language, religion, and customs. Carpatho-Rusyns can be referred to by other names such as Lemkos, Ruthenians, Rusins, and Rusyns. Carpatho-Rusyns are considered to be an ethnic minority by the European Union. Their homeland, known as Carpathian Rus’ , is located on the southern and northern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, where the borders of Ukraine, Slovakia, and Poland meet.
Carpatho-Rusyns are linguistically and culturally an East Slavic people, descendants of the White Croats who lived alongside the West Slavs (Poles and Slovaks), Magyars (Hungarians), and Romance (Romanians) people. They have their own language, which uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Traditionally, Carpatho-Rusyns follow the Byzantine Greek Catholic or Eastern Orthodox religion.
There are approximately 1.5 million Carpatho-Rusyns in Europe today and over 750,000 Americans that have at least one Carpatho-Rusyn immigrant ancestor.
The Carpatho-Rusyns of Minnesota
From 1880 to 1920 an estimated 250,000 Rusyns immigrated to the United States. For the most part they settled in Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Some moved on to settle in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.
As far as we can tell, approximately 1,200 Rusyns settled in Minnesota. There were three areas in Minnesota where Rusyns settled – Northeast Minneapolis, Browerville-Holdingford, and Chisholm-Hibbing. With its urban setting, Minneapolis provided work for the Rusyns through its developing railroad, Chisholm-Hibbing, on the Iron Range, provided mining jobs, and the Bowerville-Holidingfield area provided farmland.
The largest number of Rusyns in Minnesota settled in Minneapolis. The first wave of Rusyn immigrants came to Minneapolis between 1880 to 1900. They came from an area in the northeast of present-day Slovakia with the largest number from the villages of Becherov, Komlosa (today Chemlova), Regetovka, and Stebnik.
The map below shows the largest settlements of Carpatho-Rusyns in the United States.