Votes are people of Votia in Ingria (part of modern day northwestern Russia, roughly (south)west of Saint Petersburg, near, and east of the Estonian border-town of Narva). Their own ethnic name is Vadjalain (plural: Vadjalaizõt). The Finno-Ugric Votic language spoken by Votes is close to extinction . Votians were one the founding people of Veliky Novgorod.
As a distinct people, Votes have become practically extinct after Stalinist dispersion to Soviet provinces far away — as 'punishment' for alleged disloyalty and cowardice during World War II. In 1989, there were still 62 known Votes left, the youngest of whom was born in 1930. In 1848, the number of Votes had been 5148 (Ariste 1981: 78).
Along with the Izhorians, they are generally Orthodox, while the other Finnic inhabitants of Ingria, the Ingrian Finns, are Lutheran.
Votes in Latvia
The historical sources inform that about 1445 the Livonian Order
captured many people in Ingermanland
and moved them to Bauska
, where working force was needed to built a castle. After the castle was built, the Vots did not go back but were settled in the vicinities of Bauska and became farmers. Gradually, they forgot their own language and customs and were assimilated in neighboring Latvians
. This process was not very fast - it is estimated that about 1000 Vots could yet be counted there 400 years later in the middle of the 19th century.
- Paul Ariste 1981. Keelekontaktid. Tallinn: Valgus. [pt. 2.6. Kolme läänemere keele hääbumine lk. 76 - 82]