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Flag of the Nogaier
Nogai girls in the early 20th century
Ethnolinguistic map of the Caucasus region with the Nogai settlement area

The Nogaier ( Nogai Ногай / NOGAJ , Ногайлар / Noġajlar ; Russian Ногайцы / Nogajzy ) are a Turkic ethnicity of the Caucasus area . They are a western Turkish people of the Kipchak subgroup.

There are around 130,000 Nogaiians worldwide, the vast majority, just under 104,000, of whom live in Russia.

Alternative names

For the ethnic group of the Nogaier, “Noghaier” is also used in German . Earlier names are also “Karatatars” or “Black Tatars”, “Nogai Tatars”, “ Mountain Tatars ” or simply “ Tatars ”. In Turkish , the term “Nogay Türkleri” (Nogay Turks) is common.

Origin of name and ethnogenesis

The common name "Nogaier" is derived from a descendant of Genghis Khan . Nogai Khan split off from the Golden Horde with various Tatar regional tribes in 1260 and established an autonomous khanate from 1280 . "Nogai" comes from the Mongolian word Нохой / Nochoj (dog) and was a formidable name in the Mongolian cultural context, in contrast to the Islamic one - cf. also the flag of the Nogai, which goes back to the personal standard of Nogai Khan. Under certain circumstances it was also a possible Turkic name for “nomad”, especially when the Nogai people ruled over larger western parts of the Eurasian steppes.


The religion of the Nogay are mostly Sunni Muslims, next exists with the communities of Karaagatsch a small Shiite minority.

Settlement area

Russia and Europe

Today the Nogaiians live mainly in southern Russia . Your main Russian settlement area is the North Caucasus and there mainly the steppe areas of the North Caucasus. The Russian census of 2010 determined 103,660 Nogais for the whole of Russia, 40,407 of them in the Russian republic of Dagestan , here mainly in the Nogaiski rajon , 22,006 in the western neighboring areas of the Stavropol region , 15,654 in the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia , where a Nogiski rajon has also been located since 2007 exists, and 3,444 in Chechnya .

In Dagestan, the Nogaiski rajon is an autonomous district of the Nogai people; The main town is Terekli-Mekteb . This area is also known as the “Nogaier steppe” after them. The Nogai steppe, and thus the largest contiguous Nogai settlement area, extends from Dagestan to the adjacent part of the Stavropol region ( Neftekumski rajon ) and to the northernmost part of Chechnya ( Schelkowski rajon ). While the number of Nogai people in Stavropol is increasing, their share of the population in Chechnya has fallen sharply, where it has more than halved between 1989 and 2010. But also in northern Chechnya there are still predominantly Nogai villages, such as Karschyga-Aul , Sary-Suu and Oras-Aul .

Since 2007 another, albeit smaller, Rajon of the Nogai people has been founded in Karachay-Cherkessia . This is not spatially connected to the rest of the Nogai settlement area. The main town is Erken-Schachar .

Another isolated settlement area of ​​the Nogai people is the lower Volga near Astrakhan , where around 8,000 Nogai people live today. However, they do not have any autonomy there and, because of their small number, are exposed to high pressure to assimilate on the part of the more populous neighboring peoples.

Nogai minorities were and are to be found outside of Russia. One of the Nogai settlement areas was present-day Ukraine , where Nogai people lived in the Budschak , Jedisan and Tauria areas . When the Russian tsars conquered the whole of Ukraine from the Ottomans in the 18th century, they initiated a resettlement of the Nogai people in the Caucasus, as they feared the Nogaiians would continue to cooperate with the Ottomans as a Muslim Turkic people. Thousands of Nogai people resisted the resettlement and then fled to the Ottoman Empire. In Dobrogea today a few thousand live Romanian Nogaier that there officially are summed as "Tartars". In Romania , the Nogai people mainly settle in the regions around the towns of Kogălniceanu , Kocali, Valea Dacilor and Kubadin. There are also very small Nogai minorities in Lithuania , Poland and Bulgaria . An uncertain number of Nogaians also live in Western Europe as an ethnic minority . But there they are recorded by the respective countries not according to their nationality, but according to their citizenship. Most of them were officially summed up as "Russians".

In Turkey , up to a million people derive their origin from the Nogai people. These are descendants of Nogai emigrants and refugees from the Russian Empire who settled in Turkey in the provinces of Ceyhan / Adana, Eskişehir and Ankara, as well as Tokat, Konya and Istanbul. Although several thousand people in Turkey still refer to themselves as Nogai, they are almost completely assimilated there and only rarely speak the Nogai language.


Settlement area

In the course of history, five subgroups developed in the various settlement areas:

  • the Kuban- Nogai east of the Sea of Azov , today mainly in Karachay-Cherkessia , also called Ak-Nogai (= White-Nogai)
  • the Kara Nogai (= Black Nogai ) in Dagestan , sometimes including the Central or Achikulak Nogai in the Stavropol region , sometimes both as separate groups
  • the Bujak (or Bicak), which originally lived between the Danube and the Dniester (today's Budschak region )
  • Jedsan (or Cedsan), originally between the Dniester and Bug (the area was therefore also called Jedisan )
  • Jamboyluk, originally between Bug and Crimea
  • Jedishkul, originally north of the Crimea

The Nogai were sometimes only divided into three territorial groups:

This subdivision only includes the Nogai, who are registered as a separate ethnic minority in Russia and who use the Nogai language as written, school and literary language. The regional groups that live in Ukraine, Romania and other countries and are usually counted as "Tatars" there and use Tatar as a written language are not included in this subdivision.


Nomadization areas of the Nogai people. Orange: Nogai Khanate at the end of the 13th century under Nogai Khan; Darker orange on the Ural River : remaining horde end of the 16th century shortly before the defeat by the Kalmyks; Violet: small horde; Light orange: large horde in the middle of the 17th century.

Around 1260, the ancestors of today's Nogai people split off from the Golden Horde and founded the independent khanate of the Nogai Horde around 1280 . Later they were vassals of the Mongolian khanate Astrakhan . The Nogaier had a nomadic tradition for a long time and moved their cattle to the pastures. In addition, they also occasionally cultivated grain. However, the Nogai had little to oppose the Russian expansion towards the Black Sea and the Caucasus and were subjugated by the Kalmyks or the Kalmuck Khanate at the beginning of the 17th century and their tribal associations migrated to the west shortly afterwards. There they founded two new nomadic hordes: the "Great Horde of Nogai" in the northern steppe foreland of the Caucasus and the "Small Horde of Nogai" north of the Crimean Khanate , which temporarily extended to Jedisan and Budschak in the west and to the Kuban in the east. After this was subjugated by Russia in 1556, the Little Horde joined the Crimean Khanate , for which they took over the northern border protection. Thus they were temporarily the rulers of the Pontic steppe area up to the Dobruja . Nogaier contributed to the spread of Islam in Ukraine. The Nogai of the Great Horde, on the other hand, moved to the northern foreland of the Caucasus in the middle of the 17th century after the invasion of the Kalmyks.

While the constant raids by the Nogai people initially prevented Slavic settlers from advancing, the Muslims were pushed south after Russia's victory over the Crimean Khanate and the annexation of the corresponding areas in 1783. Their tent settlements were now often set on fire by the Russians and their property confiscated, so that most of the Nogai people sought refuge in the Circassian area at the foot of the Caucasus or emigrated to the Ottoman Empire. In particular, members of the Bujak and Jedsan (around 7,000 people in total) settled in the Dobruja area, but many more later moved to Anatolia. The largest exodus, however, took place around 1859, when around 50,000 of the 70,000 Nogai people living around Stavropol and the Kuban left the Tsarist Empire for the Ottoman Empire. They were also joined by Nogai people who lived in Crimea and Ukraine. In 1860 around 300,000 Crimean Tatars, with whom the Nogai were traditionally allied, also moved to the Ottoman Empire. Other Nogai people, together with Circassians, moved directly from the Caucasus to Turkey. Almost all Nogaians outside Russia are assimilated today.

In 1928, the “Karanogaiski rajon” was founded in the Soviet Union, the first autonomous Nogai district. This was renamed in 1966 and is now called Nogaiski rajon . In 2007, a further, albeit smaller, Rajon of the Nogai people was founded in Karachay-Cherkessia . In addition, there are still individual villages in the steppes of the coastal areas of Ukraine and Romania, whose inhabitants go back to the Nogai of the Little Horde. In contrast to Russia, however, these are often referred to as "Tatars" and therefore not ethnically differentiated from the Tatars .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. James Minahan: One Europe, Many Nations. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000, ISBN 978-0-313-30984-7 , p. 493 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  2. a b Der Neue Brockhaus , 3rd volume L – R, Leipzig 1938, p. 388
  3. Excel table 5, line 128 .
  4. ^ Results of the Census of Russia 2010 , Excel table 7, rows in the order in the text: row 454; Line 535; Line 493; Line 519.
  5. Another listing of the censuses for Chechnya , table 1989, third from last column above.
  6. Heinz-Gerhard Zimpel: Lexicon of the World Population , p. 386


  • Heinz-Gerhard Zimpel: Lexicon of the world population. Geography - Culture - Society , Nikol Verlagsgesellschaft mbh & Co. KG Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-933203-84-8

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