The Chuvans are ethnically derived from Yukagir clans that resided in western Chukotka along the Anyuy, Chaun, Palyavaam, and the upper part of the Amguema rivers in the 17th century. During Russian colonization in the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Chuvans became one of the first groups that had to pay yasak (a tribute mostly raised in the form of furs).

Subsequently the Chuvans were used by the colonialists as allies in their struggle to subdue neighboring ethnic groups, the Chukchi and Koryaks. After having suffered severe losses from these skirmishes, the Chuvan retreated to Russian villages and partly assimilated with Russians, Chukchi, and Koryaks in the middle of the 18 th century. By the end of the 18 th century, the main part of the population had emigrated to the upper Anadyr River area, separated into a sedentary group in the Markovo District, mostly living in the small town of Markovo, and a nomadic group. The latter resides in the upper reaches of the Anadyr River and its tributaries in the Chuvanskii Khrebet (Chuvanskoe, Lamutskoe, and Tavaivaam villages), and from the 1910s at the Penzhina River (Slautnoe and Aianka villages) where they have since died out. Most of these areas belong to the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug, except for the Penzhina area, which belongs to the Koryak Autonomous Okrug.

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