Samarskaya oblast (till 1991 - kuibyshevskaya) is formed May, 14, 1928 as Middle-Volga oblast.
3279 thousand people live in Samara permanently. The largest cities are Samara (1210,6 thousand people), Togliatti (724,1 thousand people), Syzran (187,3 thousand people), Novokuibyshevsk (117,6 thousand people), Chapayevsk (86,7 thousand people), Zhigulyovsk (59,8 thousand people), Otradny (53,4 thousand people).
The oblast is quite diverse in terms of its ethnic identity. The Russians make the larger part of the oblast population - 83,4 sq. km.
Other nationalities are represented in the following way: Tartars - 3,6%, the Mordvinians - 3,6%, the Chuvashes - 3,6%, the Ukranians - 2,5%, the Belorussians - 0,6%, the Kazakhs - 0,4%, the Jews - 0,4%, Germans - 0,3%, the Bashkirs - 0,2, the Mari - 0,1 %, other nationalities - 1,3%. Currently the Cossak movement, the first outlaws, is being revived in Samarskaya Oblast.
Samarskaya Oblast territory comprises 11 towns (the cities of Samara and Togliatti are made up of 12 city districts), 24 urban villages and 27 rural districts(comprising 324 local rural administrations).
According to archeologists' data the first human settlements in the Mid-Volga region date from the late Paleolithic period. The main activity of ancient people here was hunting for animals. In ancient times this region was rich in animals like hair rhinoceros, mammoths, diehards, elks, giant deer, etc. In the antiquity odd Scythian and Sarmatian tribes migrated on the territory of Samara Oblast. Archeological findings in the burial barrows of these peoples prove it. Since the VIIth century AC the Mid-Volga Region fell within the power of the Khazar Horde. But after the victory of the Kiev prince Svyatoslav in the Xth century, the Volga region inhabitants became independent of Khazars.
In the Middle Ages on the present territory of Samarskaya Oblast there was the southern border of the Volzhsko-Kamskaya Bulgaria. After the invasion of Europe in the XIII the century by the Mongol and Tatar troops of Khan Baty, the Mid-Volga region has become a part of the Golden Horde and then of its successor - the Khazan Khanstvo. In 1391 on the Kondurcha river one of the most prominent fights of the Middle Ages between the troops of the Central Asian Sovereign Timur and the last Khan of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh took place. In ended with the Timur's victory. With the growth of power and influence of Rus, the Moscow princes showed in particular interest in Samarskaya Luka due to its extremely attractive econimic and military strategic position. Right after the fall of Khazan, by the order of Tsar Fyodr Ioannovich in 1586 at the mouth of the Samara river a fortress with the same name was founded. It became a stronghold of the Russian state to protect it from the forays of the nomads. The prince Grigory Zasekin became the first Samara voivode.
The origin of the name Samara still remains an enigma, and its meaning has lost with time. Anyways, the Venice geographic maps of the XIV century already had the Samarskaya Luka place, marked Samar, as a convenient anchor stop for ships. It is most likely that the meaning of the word SAMARA is hidden in the forgotten language of a disappeared people. The live crossroad trade and fertile chernozem soil, rich pastures and plentiful fishing craft stimulated the influx of population and a fast colonization of this land. In 1850 the Samara Gubernia became an independents administrative division and enjoyed the reputation of the greatest center of bread trade and agricultural production.
A lot of prominent people of the Russian and world culture worked in Samara. Among them are A. N. Tolstoi, V.G. Korolenko, N.M. Garin-Mikhalovsky, A.M. Gorky, I.E. Repin, Y. Gashek and many others.
Dramatic collisions taking place in Russia at the beginning of the XXth century affected Samara as well. Three revolutions, WWI and Civil Was had a huge impact on the history of the region. In 1935 Samara was renamed into Kuibyshev, so the name of the oblast changed as well. It was a common practice back then. The present boundaries of the oblast were established in 1936.
During WWII Samara became on of the greatest industrial centers of the country. A lot of machinery construction and aviation enterprises were evacuated from the west of the country. After the main government and diplomatic institutions moved in 1945 to Kuibyshev, the city was fairly called the capital of the rear. After the war Samara oblast continued to extend its economic potential developing petroleum, aerospace industries, machinery construction, hydroenergy and automobile industries. Today, together with Moscow, St, Petersburg, the Ural region, Samara makes the basis for the industrial might of the country.
In 1990 the city and the oblast were given back their historic names - Samara and Samara Oblast.
The main fossils of the oblast are oil and natural gas. Exploration, extradition and processing have become a pivotal part of the economic potential of the oblast. Among other natural resources significant for the economy of the oblast are oil shale, silicate clay, native sulphur, mineral waters, sodium chloride, construction stone and a number of other substances and minerals. With the creation of the Volzhskaya Hydro Electric Station in 1957, the Zigulyvskoye Sea became the most important hydroelectric resource. Despite active industrial development of the city, the wild nature, floraflora and faunafauna are carefully preserved. The key nature reserves areas are the national park 'Samarskaya Luka', the Zhiguly public nature reserve named after I.I. Sprygin, 'Buzuluksky Bor' and some others. Elks, deer, wild boars, roe deer, wolves, hares, dozens of unique species of birds, fish, insects inhabit Samara Oblast, rare plants grow here, too.