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Main settlement areas of the Circassians in the Caucasus. Western areas in Adygea are officially recognized in Russia as the titular nation "Adygej", written language: West Cherkessian (Adygean) ; Eastern areas: titular nation “ Kabardiner ” in Kabardino-Balkaria , written language: Ostcherkessisch (Kabardinisch) ; Middle area: Titular nation "Circassians" in Karachay-Cherkessia , written language: also Kabardian.

The Circassians or Circassians are a Caucasian people who call themselves Adyge , from which the name Adygejer is derived. The Circassians were involved in the naming of the Russian republics of Adygeja , Karachay-Cherkessia and (via the subgroup of the Kabardines ) Kabardino-Balkaria .

According to the 2010 census, around 719,000 Circassians live in Russia. As a result of the Caucasus War , the great majority of Circassians or people of Circassian origin in the diaspora have lived in the Middle East and the Balkans since 1864 , some of them have recently emigrated to other countries. The Circassians form the largest groups in Turkey , Syria and Jordan . Estimates of their number range from just under three to over four million people. Only a minority of them speak Circassian dialects. These belong to the Northwest Caucasian language family , which has existed in the western Caucasus for several millennia, and are related to the extinct Ubychian and the closer Abkhazian and Abasinic . Whether they are related to the ancient oriental Hattic from Anatolia is disputed.

In the absence of reliable sources, it is not clear how the Circassian tribes formed from previous tribal associations. The external name Circassian appeared in external descriptions in the 14th century. From that time until almost 90% of the Circassians were deported in 1864, they developed into the most numerous and politically dominant ethnic group in the western and central North Caucasus . At that time, some Circassians were also important as rulers, soldiers, civil servants or as mothers of rulers in the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Persia and Russia. Circassian written languages ​​and several autonomous regions did not emerge until the Soviet Union. Since its end, an internationally networked association has been formed from Circassian associations of the diaspora and the Caucasus.

Their common law ( Adat ) is the Adyge Chabse , which governed the entire tradition. Before 1864 it was the most important North Caucasian adat that also influenced neighboring peoples and has been the most researched. The Circassian identity is still particularly associated with the Adyge Chabse.


The origin of the foreign name "Circassians" or English "Circassians" is controversial. It appears in the sources around the same time as Turkish Çerkes , Persian چرکس Tscharkas and merchants from Genoa , who at that timemaintained contactsthrough their colonies in the Black Sea region, as Italian Ci (a) rcassi or Latin Ci (a) rcassiani . Almost all Circassian names in European and Oriental languages ​​developed from this. Perhaps it goes back to the previous foreign name Kerketen , possibly mediated by the Ossetian language , but this is controversial.

The origin of the self-names “Adyge” and “Adygei” is also controversial. An old etymology, according to which it is to be derived from Circassian “attéghéi”, where “atté” means mountain dwellers and “ghéi” means sea dwellers (coastal dwellers), is today considered questionable by many researchers due to the sound structure of Circassian.

Settlement area

Circassia in 1840 with some tribes and neighboring peoples (Map by James Stanislaus Bell)

In the 16th century the settlement area reached as far as the Sea of ​​Azov and included the steppes of what is now southern Russia as far as the lower reaches of the Don . The Circassians were pushed back southwards by war. In the 18th century the Kuban formed the northern limit of their settlement area. This extended over the east coast of the Black Sea , the middle Kuban, the lower Kuban, the west bank of the Terek River and most of the Kabardei to the present day city of Mozdok in North Ossetia . In the 19th century, after the end of the Russo-Caucasian War , over 500,000 North Caucasians were forcibly resettled into the then Ottoman Empire . Christian farmers from the interior of the Russian Empire were mostly settled in the Circassian region.

Today the majority of Circassians live outside the Caucasus : in Turkey about two million, in Syria about 100,000, in Jordan at least. 65,000, in Israel 4000 as well as in the EU 40,000 and in the USA 9000. There are also Circassians in Kosovo (around Obiliq ) and in southern Serbia . The assimilation plays a significant role in the Diaspora, which is why children often do not speak more Circassian.

Map with today's Russian republics of Adygeja, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria in the northwest

A minority has remained in the Caucasus and lives in three autonomous republics . In Adygea , of the 440,000 inhabitants in the 2010 Russian census, 107,048 Circassians, called "Adygejers" in Russia, made up 25.2% of the population of this republic. In the Autonomous Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia , of around 478,000 inhabitants, 56,466 Circassians (11.9%) are also officially called that in Russia. In the Autonomous Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria , of the 860,000 inhabitants, around 490,453 Circassians (57.2%) are officially called "Kabardines" in Russia. Another 17,500 Circassians live as "Adygejer" or " Schapsugen " in the Krasnodar region , especially in the vicinity of the city of Tuapse on the Black Sea coast. With the exception of Kabardino-Balkaria, the Circassians are minorities in their homeland today. The distribution does not correspond to the original settlement area. The subdivision into four official nationalities (titular nations) introduced in the Soviet era gives the impression that the Adygejern, Circassian, Kabardian and Schapsugen are different ethnic groups. All terms basically refer to Circassians. The Circassians call themselves “Adyge” and the Kabardines and Schapsugen are originally tribes of the Adyge and thus Circassians as well. In the whole of Russia, the 2010 census registered 124,835 Adygejes, 516,826 Kabardians, 73,184 Circassians and 3882 Schapsugen, for a total of 718,757 Circassians.


The Circassian language was originally a group of dialects that were spoken by the various Circassian tribes and have probably been around since the 13th / 14th centuries. Century. The two written Circassian languages West Circassian ( Adygean ) and East Circassian ( Kabardian ) were developed from two of these dialects in the 20th century . Adygeic is the official language in the Autonomous Republic of Adygeia and is based on the Temirgo dialect, while Kabardian is in turn in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia and is based on the Kabardian dialect. Other existing dialects were not elevated to written languages. Since Kabardian has fewer consonantic sounds than Adygean, it is more difficult for Kabardian speakers to understand Adygean than the other way around. When asked about their language, they all gave the answer to speak Adygej ("adyghebze / adyghabze") , they rarely use the official terms Adygean and Kabardian or the terms West-Circassian and East-Circassian.

The Circassians used to have no written language of their own. Since the Islamization her was written language , the language Arabic . In 1855 there was the first attempt to write the Circassian language, in 1917 an alphabet based on the Arabic script was formed, and in 1925 the Latin alphabet was used to write Circassian. The Cyrillic alphabet with some additions has been used since 1937/38 .

Circassian and Ubykh (exact origin disputed) in the Northwest Caucasian languages
Circassian, Ubykh and Abkhazian-Abasin according to a possible genealogy, with some dialects

One of the twelve Circassian tribes, the Ubychen , spoke the Ubychian language , which, according to the documentation of several linguists, u. a. Adolf Dirr and Georges Dumézil , was barely understandable with the Circassian (Kabardian-Adygeic) dialects and split off much more easily, even if the Ubyches saw themselves as part of the Circassian tribe. Almost all Ubyks emigrated to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century , where their language skills disappeared and the language died out. The last native speaker was Tevfik Esenç .

Together with the Abkhazian , Abasinian and Ubychic languages, the Circassian dialects belong to the Adyge-Abkhaz language family , which is also known as the (North) West Caucasian language family. The majority of Kaukasiologists believe that the two main branches of this language family, the Abkhazian-Abasin and the Circassian (Adygian), have been separated for about 3000-5000 years. The historical position of Ubychian as a middle branch is controversial. For some researchers it moved away from the Circassian branch, for many researchers it moved away from the Abkhazian-Abasin branch, but came closer to the Circassian dialects through local language contacts.


Settlement area of ​​Circassian tribes (green) 1750 with largely dependent or allied Abasins , Karachayers , Balkars , Ossetians and Ingushes (more clearly delineated). The two principalities of Kabarda are shown in darker green in the east, the Ubyches, who speak other languages ​​in the southwest, and the Schanejer, who also speak another language, in the west.
Today's main settlement areas of the Circassians (green) with their dialect forms in the West Caucasus.

From the beginning of the 19th century until today, Circassian society is divided into twelve ancient tribes who speak different dialects or language forms: Abadzechen or Abzachen, Beslenejer , Bjjedughen , Hatkuajer , Kabardiner (mostly in Kabardino-Balkaria , historically carried the Principality of Kabarda ) , Makhoscher , Mamkeyher , Natkhuajer , Schapsugen , Temirgojer (also called Chemgujer), Ubychen and Yecerikhuajer . The number of members ranges from several thousand (Hatkuajers) to over a million (Kabardines, with diaspora), depending on the size of the former settlement area. Only six of these tribes still live at least partially in the Caucasus. The other six - Hatkuajer, Makhoscher, Mamkeyher, Natkhuajer, Ubychen, and Yecerikhuajer - have gone almost entirely into the diaspora, and the few who remain have joined other tribes.

The Circassian flag. The twelve stars represent the twelve tribes of the Circassians.

Until the middle of the 18th / beginning of the 19th century there were other tribes that joined larger tribes because of their small size to protect them. This concerned especially the Schanejer (Zhane) on the Taman Peninsula , which conflicts with Kuban Cossacks suffered so heavy losses, the remains that in 1802 joined the Natkhuajern and the Adamijer in the region of the turn of the Kuban to the west, the end of the 18 Century in the conflict with the Nogaiern decimated so strongly that the remnants joined the Temirgojern. In sources of the time other, always small tribes are mentioned, all in the extreme west: the Adaler (islanders) in the west of the Taman, the Hegaiken near Anapa and - all in the highlands of the outer western Caucasus - the Nadho and Netaho (perhaps identical), the Koble, the S'schchapete, the Sotochen and the Guajer and Hakutschen . Apart from the last two, however, it is unclear whether they were really independent earlier or only subgroups of larger tribes due to contradicting sources. All of these smaller tribes later became part of the Natkhuajer, Schapsugen or Abadzechen. According to contemporary sources ( Evliya Çelebi , Sultan Khan-Giraj , Heinrich Julius Klaproth and Johann Anton Güldenstädt ) the Shanejer, like the Ubychen, used to speak a language very different from the other Circassian dialects. Due to the lack of tradition of shanei, no more detailed statements are possible. The Hakutschi dialect has only a few speakers today.


Circassians have been partially converted to Christianity since the 5th century ; conversions by Georgian Orthodox , Byzantine Orthodox and Genoese Catholic (one archbishopric and two bishoprics) missionaries followed in the Middle Ages, but none of them lasted due to the geographical and political isolation of Circassia were. The Catholic dioceses disappeared in the 14th and the Orthodox in the 15th century after contact with the mother churches was lost.

Statue of the Narten heroine Satanaya, here as the muse of wisdom, in the Syrian-Circassian settlement of Bi'r Ajam .

The Circassians continued to venerate nature spirits and the Christian- pagan mixed cult was celebrated by its own priesthood (jiur) . The Circassians treated nature with respect, and in the past no tree was felled without a decision by the Council of Elders (Chase). Each clan had its own special tree where people met for meetings or important decisions. Nature gods were z. B. Schible - god of thunder, Tlepsch - god of fire, Soserez - god of water, Mezischa - god of forests. Numerous other animistic spirits and tribal deities were worshiped. Cults in their honor never completely disappeared even with Islamization and have recently been revived or increasingly cultivated as part of the perceived national heritage. They also appear in the Narten epic alongside mythical heroes and historical traditions. The Narten epic is passed down by several North Caucasian peoples, sometimes with actions that differ between the language versions and regions. There are debates in myth research about the origin of the basic motifs from Old Caucasian, Old Iranian or Old Turkish-speaking mythologies. Chants from the Narten epic are still performed in traditional circles today.

Great mosque in Maikop , the capital of Adygea.

Since the 15th century, the Northwestern and Cabardian Circassians were converted to Islam under the influence of the Crimean Tatars . The religion spread among the Circassian tribes and neighboring peoples by the 19th century, and partially pushed Christian and animist cults back.

The Scottish ambassador James Stanislaus Bell, who stayed in Circassia from 1837 to 1839, reported that the Bible and the Koran were read at that time and that old cults were also widespread, with the Koran being preferred.

With the exception of a small minority of the Kabardian Circassians in the area around the city of Mosdok , who are Orthodox Christians , most Circassians are now Sunni Muslims ( Hanafis ). While there is an Islamic religiosity strongly influenced by Sufism in Northeast Caucasia ( Dagestan , Chechnya , Ingushetia ) , through which large majorities of the population are still religious today, the proportion of Sufi followers in the Northwest Caucasus is significantly lower. Due to the atheistic upbringing of the Soviet Union, large minorities of the population of the Northwest Caucasus, including the Circassians, are not or only little religious today.

Ethnology: Circassian tradition (Adyge Chabse)

Circassian tradition is referred to in Circassian as adyge chabse ( adyghe : "Circassian / Circassian"; chabse : "tradition", but the word can also designate many more specific areas of tradition, depending on the context of the statement).

Former social order

"Noble Circassian in ordinary clothes" (middle), "Armed Circassian" (left) and "Circassian princess", picture 1808

Until 19./20. In the 19th century, many Circassian tribes, like some other North Caucasian societies, had a social stratification of four or more classes that only married one another. This stratification was most pronounced among the Kabardians in the east, followed by the northwestern tribes on the Kuban . Tribes in the southwest high mountains - Ubychen, Abadzechen, Natkhuajer and Schapsugen - did not have this social staggering and were also referred to in Russian sources as "free Circassians" or "democratic Circassians", in contrast to the "aristocratic Circassians". The Schapsugen and Abadzechen had in the 18./19. In the 19th century, the privileges of the nobility were abolished; the Ubyches and Natkhuajers never had them.

  1. Princes (pschi) from some dynastic families, who could often be recognized by a concentrically curved cap made of velvet .
  2. Ritter ( worq or elsden ), a lower nobility in the suite, who often appeared in chain armor alongside the princes in the event of war . With the Kabardians it was divided into a higher-ranking group tlakotle , who were allowed to find their own patron, and the lower group deschenugo , who were determined to have a leader. Like other broad classes of nobility, they developed a knightly code of honor and a nobility culture.
  3. Free ( zokol or waguscheh ), the vast majority of the population. With the Kabardians tlofokotle , with some western tribes also called techokotle . They were divided into different clan communities (jamaat)
  4. Serfs ( pschitli = "the prince belonging"), rare personal slaves (asat) , the smallest group. Slaves were either prisoners or Circassians sentenced by court. Belonging to the serfs was hereditary. While they did not occur in the southwest and were relatively rare in the northwest, the Kabardin principality had the largest number and the largest serf population in the North Caucasus.

It is unusual that despite this predominantly hierarchical society, with the exception of the Kabardines, the Circassians never formed states with a prince at their head. It is generally believed that the Circassian tradition of Adyge Chabse viewed the accumulation and display of wealth as a disgrace, which hindered the concentration of power in individual hands. Important decisions were made in chases . These gatherings were often held outside the settlements in traditional holy places by a family, a clan or an entire tribe. In the democratic tribes it was people's assemblies under the chairmanship of the elders, in the aristocratic tribes the princes and knights met in different places and exchanged views on ambassadors, who were rarely attended by an assembly of the free. In spite of superficial differences, the second meetings were therefore already referred to as “congresses” in 19th century literature. From 1861 to 1864, the last three tribes still fighting against Russia, the Abadsechen, Schapsugen and Ubychen, maintained a joint Majlis of permanently elected elders, military leaders and clergy near the village of Sochi , who also established a kind of government and sent embassies to various states. This Majlis is often referred to as the first Circassian parliament.

common law

Influence and development

Gravestone of Prince Zhebaghi ​​with a later commemorative plaque

"Adyge Chabse" (Circassian tradition) is the Circassian form of oral customary law ( Adat ), which regulated many areas of life. The social structure, forms of settlement or music can therefore also be described as parts of the Adyge Chabses. Due to the dominance of the Circassians in parts of the North Caucasus after the Middle Ages until 1864 (Section 8.1), it is the best-known and most widely researched Adat variant of the North Caucasus (before the Abkhaz aṗsny or the Chechen-Ingush nochtschalla ), which also the neighbors on most influenced. The Circassian identity is still particularly strongly linked to the tradition of Adyge Chabse. The code of honor emphasized mutual respect, responsibility, self-control, boldness, reliability and generosity. Greed, wealth and boasting were considered disgrace (haynape) . Although the Adyge Chabse is popularly said to have the legendary Narten , it was reformed again and again, for example by Prince Beslan (approx. 1498–1525), a grandson of Inal, the founder of the Principality of Kabarda, and uncle of his greatest ruler Temryuk, von Fürst Zhebaghi ​​(Dschebachi, approx. 1684–1750) and again in 1807 by several elders.

Certainly all Circassians never followed the ideals of Adyge Chabse, but society tried to obey the rules through social pressure to conform. In its parts still practiced today - slavery and blood revenge are not included - the Adyge Chabse is important for the identity of the Circassians. Today one often means the customs, the music, the hospitality and courtesy, the costume, i.e. the parts that are positively received by the environment, which is why Adyge Chabse also translates “Circassian etiquette” or “Circassian costume” etc. depending on the context becomes. In the present, the Circassians are threatened with the loss of their culture, especially in the Diaspora, and assimilation plays an important role in this.

Regulations in everyday life

Circassian. Painting by Theodor Horschelt , 19th century

All stages of Circassian life were up to the 19th and 20th centuries. Century determined by traditions of the Adyge Chabses. There were restrictions for pregnant women, after the birth the children were cleaned in cold mountain water or snow. The name was given at the festival of the newborn, where many rituals were performed, not by the parents, but by strangers. The baptism was often maintained even after Islamization, since their Christian origin was no longer observed, and was rarely a feast for babies, usually a hard initiation into early adolescence. Between six and ten years of age, children of aristocrats were given away by their biological parents to a foster father (ataliq) , who gave them a warlike and social upbringing in groups, which is why the bond with foster parents and foster siblings was often closer for a lifetime than to the biological relatives. This educational institution (ataliqate) is often compared with the Spartan agoge . The rules of conduct of the Adyge Chabse were so popular that Georgian or Crimean Tatar aristocratic children were sometimes sent to the Circassian ataliqate . Bride and groom got to know each other at dance parties or bridal shows, and afterwards they met in the company of friends, but always without their parents (rules of semercho - the bridal show and flirtation). The engagement and wedding were then planned with the consent of the parents. If the parents were against the wedding, the possibility of stealing the bride , which was strictly regulated throughout the North Caucasus until the 20th century, existed , and the families then had to renegotiate. Serious family feuds rarely resulted from this . The wedding was a central event of Circassian life, accompanied by many rituals, which was called a bridal home (nisascha) in the groom's family, earlier the groom often never got to know the in-laws (see patrilocality ). Divorce was possible in principle, but rarely; an honor killing for adultery was not socially expected and therefore did not occur. In the case of adultery, the marriage could be divorced in exchange for compensation from the families. In principle, society was monogamous , polygamy only appeared in the diaspora and rarely, and is no longer legal in all countries today. The Genoese traveler Giorgio Interiano reported on some rituals related to death in the 16th century: a legal killing of persons in need of care, a ten-day guard on the seated dead, a burial with grave goods for the afterlife and a 40-day daily visit with a favorite meal and favorite horse Invitations to eat together. These rituals no longer existed in the 18th century, but the Circassian tale knew them and confirmed that they were abolished in the Adyge Chabse.

Circassian woman 1855

The chivalrous man's ideal was opposed to a woman's ideal: tall and slender stature and a reserved way of expressing and talking. For girls, the figure should be achieved by a tight-fitting leather corset, which should inhibit breast growth. The growth of the breast was accepted as a sign of growing up. Although society was basically patriarchal and warlike, women were entitled to special rights.

The cornerstone of Circassian society is the social role of a "Thamade". A thamade is also the one who takes responsibility within a wedding party or other event. The prerequisite is that he is familiar with the rules of the Chabse. He is often an elder, and in earlier times also often a singer. He also takes over the management of a banquet table and pronounces the toasts. Even in Georgian cuisine , the banquet table is led by a tamada .

Another element of the Adyge Chabses is u. a. the tradition of regular giving away one's own possessions that in ethnology as Potlatch is called system - by the very bountiful hospitality, but particularly in the West and within the community, v. a. by prohibiting getting rich and displaying wealth.

Knight tradition

The Adyge Chabse included three areas that come from the knighthood and are therefore collectively called worq chabse . But they radiated to other social classes, the princes, free and serfs, and became part of society as a whole: the rules of blood revenge , hospitality and respect for the elderly and women. The latter were also associated with a pronounced ideal of courtesy and moderation.

Like many old customary laws, the Adyge Chabse also regulated in the past in the event of armed conflicts, the murder of relatives, the question of negotiations for compensation, or which steps of blood revenge were possible and which went too far. The blood revenge was socially expected and, because the family of the murderer or of the relatives killed in revenge did not let the shame sit on them, it was often the starting point for longer feuds between the families. There were ways of escaping the circle of violence through forgiveness, compensation payments, or an arranged marriage between families, but they were considered defiant, especially for noble families.

The society was generally considered belligerent. Circassians and other Caucasians, like the steppe nomads, were known in the past for their combat tactics, never to stay in cover for long, but to attack very quickly regardless of their own losses, which is why they were popular as elite warriors. The value of these elite units was diminished by the fact that firearms were frowned upon for a long time, only cutting and stabbing weapons and bows and arrows were recognized. Until the 19th century, the ethos was still valid in the knighthood. This attitude is also known from the Burji Mamluks , which is why their empire had nothing to oppose the artillery of the Ottomans. The very fast Caucasian dances were originally an entertaining exercise in the necessary speed and agility. The basic horizontal posture of the upper arms goes back to the arm posture of archers. It was considered particularly honorable to resolve disputes in a duel instead of in battle. This tradition seems to be very old, because as early as 1022 the tribal king of the early Cherkessian Kassogen , Reidade and the old Russian prince Mstislav von Tschernigow and Tmutarakan fought in a duel instead of in battle.

Hospitality is particularly pronounced among the Circassians. A guest was not only a guest of the family, but also of the whole village and the clan. As in large parts of the Caucasus, he was entertained in the best house on the homestead with the best provisions. This hospitality was seen as a duty even to enemies. When an enemy entered the house, he was treated and served with respect. It was also not appropriate to ask the guest who he is, where he comes from and where he is going. The Kaukasiologist Adolf Dirr wrote: “The guest is like a slave to the host”, by which he meant that the guest also had to obey the rules of the Chabse, so the guest could not become a guest of another family without the permission of his host. In the past there was a complicated hierarchy of guests, but this is hardly common today.

In addition to hospitality, courtesy has traditionally also played an important role. Every Circassian gets up as soon as someone enters the room, offers them a place and only speaks when asked to. There used to be a complicated system of greetings that is largely forgotten today. The presence of the elderly and women demands respect. In the presence of women, quarrels are prevented; if a woman breaks into such a situation, the argument is ended immediately. Women also had the option of protecting someone threatened with blood revenge in their home, or to end the argument by throwing a handkerchief between two armed fighters. The tradition of kaschen or psetluk comes from chivalry in particular : an idealized relationship between men and women that is sometimes compared to medieval love .

Traditional lifestyle

Circassian dwelling house, picture 1810

With a few exceptions, traditional Circassian settlements differed greatly from the Central and East Caucasian Aul , where the houses are very close to the slope. Rectangular long houses made of clay were typically covered with straw. Often there was a guest house, a kitchen house, a barn, stables and other farm buildings next to the house, which was usually only surrounded by a wicker fence for defense. Defense towers were rare. According to numerous reports in the 19th century, the inhabitants of the precipitation-rich West Caucasus had developed a different defense strategy than that of the central and eastern Caucasus. They did not stay in their localities, but withdrew into the densely wooded and rugged wilderness, from which they recaptured the villages. The farms in the settlements were often far apart, a tradition that the Circassians repeated in the diaspora.

Circassian knight with cabardine horse

Like many inhabitants of the Caucasus and other high mountains, the Circassians traditionally lived semi-nomadically in transhumance , i. H. a large part of the population moved the herds of cattle to pastures on the edge of the mountains in winter. In return, the Circassians of the northern steppe-like hill country and also neighboring ethnic groups drove their herds to the mountain pastures in midsummer . Sheep breeding was the most important part of cattle breeding, followed by horse breeding, which took up a very large part of the culture. Since the Middle Ages, mountain horses have been bred in the central and western North Caucasus, which are known as " Kabardines " because the noble families of the Principality of Kabarda were the most famous breeders. Cattle, chickens, sheepdogs, and cats were other pets. In agriculture, grain dominated, mostly millet and lentils, also wheat, then fruit, vegetables and spices, to which potatoes, tomatoes, corn and chillies from America were added since the 18th century. Viticulture played a major role, as Genoese travelers reported. The fishing of fish and caviar in the Black Sea and the rivers of the West Caucasus was also important for export. In addition there was the hunt, the v. a. was cultivated by the nobility. The Circassians, like the Abkhazians or Ingush, had a secret "hunter's language".

Everyday culture

Traditional costume in the Circassian Heritage Center of Kfar Kama (Israel). From left to right: blouse robe with cape for women, including wooden sandals, men's clothing, papacha cap with hooded bashlik and boots, burqa cape.

In the 16th to 19th centuries, the traditional dress of the Circassians increasingly resembled the costume of other inhabitants of the Caucasus , which was also adopted by the South Russian Cossacks . Men wore a Chokha (Circassian: sai , Russian: Circassian ), including a shirt (Dschané) , a papakha (pa'o) or Filzmütze beshmet (sch'harchon) , soft leather boots (schasma) and a silver-mounted belt (tidschhin bghiripch) . In wind or rain, the Caucasian burqa (jako-shchaque) and bashlik were worn over it. The child's scarf (kama) , a shashka and the gazyr or gaziren gunpowder charges in the chest area served as defense . Women wore an ornate blouse robe ( sch'i'w or bgh'ewlh ) with a false shirt front and harem pants, which were publicly accompanied by a caftan-like linen cape and, depending on the festive occasion and the cold, an embroidered cap, a tunic-like cape (zey ) as well as other garments, e.g. Some with gold applications and jewelry, but only on festive occasions or with aristocratic women. Face veils were not common. Ornate high wooden sandals (pch'evaqe) were striking . Today this costume is only worn in remote regions, by the elderly or at festivals and was similar among many peoples of the Caucasus.

Kabardian folklore ensemble Islamej

The traditional dance of the Circassians is the Lesginka , which largely corresponds to the Circassian couple dance islamej / islamij (Islamic). It is widespread throughout the Caucasus and, contrary to the Circassian name, not only among Muslim peoples, but also among Christian and Jewish people. The lheperischw (leperischu) is a variant that is only danced by men, plus the jumping dance zighelhet . In addition to these often very acrobatic dances, there are others, such as the slower gender dance zechwek'we (zefaqu) and the old ritual dance w (u) idsch , which ends a dance party (zekes) , with its Schapsug variant ch'wrasche . The qafe (= dance), a slow, very sedate dance, was particularly popular among the aristocracy, where it was also called worq qafe (knight's dance ).

There used to be singers (dschegwak'we) who performed romantic, melancholy and heroic chants, but also chants from the North Caucasian Narten epic, folk songs, fairy tales, jokes, satirical and hymns of praise. Her duties included leading dance banquets. The Circassians used soothing music, rituals, motivational speeches and entertainment to treat the wounded. A special form of Circassian folk songs are the so-called Istanbulako (= way to Istanbul; also Jistanbulakue ) chants: polyphonic lamentations that are reminiscent of the flight into the Ottoman Empire in 1864 and were remembered especially in the diaspora.

Circassian cuisine was often vegetarian in the everyday life of the common people: bread, spicy soups or casseroles made from pearl barley, lentils, vegetables or millet. Due to the great role of animal husbandry, meat and dairy products were also more common. Much of today's national cuisine in the 19th century was the kitchen of the nobility, on festive days or especially for entertaining guests. There are similarities to the cuisine of other North Caucasian ethnicities, to the Georgian cuisine and to the cuisine of the Crimean Tatars . Cooked or fried dumplings , skewers, egg dishes and halva were common . The "Circassian cheese " (q'wey) made from cow's milk or "Circassian chicken " in walnut paste is also known in the Middle East . The usual drinks were the so-called " Kalmuck tea" (with butter and pepper or chilli), kefir and the alcoholic drinks millet and corn beer ( machsima or bachsima ), beer (sira) , wine and mead, which became rarer with Islamization .

The traditional handicrafts of the Circassians included sheepskins , clothing, cradles, raffia mats, saddles and gold, silver, iron and armory work, which were often of very high quality because they were destined for export in addition to fish, wood, grain, caviar or wax were. From antiquity to the 19th century, captured slaves from the West Caucasus were also repeatedly sold.

Origin, prehistory and ethnogenesis up to the 14th century

Origin of Adyge-Abkhaz languages

The early history of the Northwest Caucasian languages ​​in the region is difficult to reconstruct because they were not written languages ​​for a long time and only from the 17th century (Abkhazian) or from the 18th and 19th centuries. Century (Circassian, Abasin and Ubykh) were written down and researched. Scientists are therefore dependent on hypotheses based on the comparison of linguistic-historical reconstructions with archaeological research and the information about tribal associations in the western Caucasus in sources . Most Kaukasiologen going since the 1960s on the assumption that the Northwest Caucasian languages in addition to the Northeast Caucasian languages and South Caucasian languages of the indigenous language families include that in for at least 5,000 years Caucasus are spoken and not, as was believed until the 20th century, immigrated from the south. In the never straightforward process of ethnogenesis , various groups with different languages ​​were assimilated over and over again . This also applies to the rugged area of ​​the Greater Caucasus , where many languages ​​have been preserved for a very long time. The changes were only rarer and slower here than under the mobile riders - nomads of the steppe to the north .

Many older researchers see similarities between the Northwest Caucasian languages ​​and the Hattic language , the oldest written language in Anatolia (until approx. 1500 BC), and suspect a relationship. Based on this and based on similar tribal names, older Caucasiologists (most recently Igor Diakonow, among others ) put forward the hypothesis that the presence of Northwest Caucasian languages ​​was due to the immigration of Hatti into the West Caucasus. It is still represented today by some Abkhazian historians and linguists ( Wladislaw Ardsinba , Vyacheslav Chirikba and Stanislaw Lakoba) and Circassian (such as Kadir I. Natho and Amjad M. Jaimoukha). Circassian national associations have adopted this hypothesis as an ideology. The eagle in the coat of arms of Kabardino-Balkaria is supposed to symbolize the eagle of the Hattier, whose descendants are national Circassians and Kabardines. Leading Caucasus scientists counter that this immigration from the south cannot be proven archaeologically, that the time interval of over 3000 years is too great for reliable linguistic statements, that the system of grammatical insertions , prefixes and suffixes in Hattic is still too poorly researched and many reconstructed Northwest Caucasian basic words indicate a settlement area in the high mountains and by the sea, i.e. the region where these languages ​​are distributed today.

Another question, previously recognized and now again controversial, is the hypothesis of the connections between the West Caucasians and the inhabitants of the more northern steppes from around 4000 BC. BC to 300 AD. The cultures in the West Caucasus at this time show strong archaeological similarities to those in the Black Sea steppes. According to many Indo-Europeanists, this western steppe region was possibly from 5000 BC. Language area of ​​early forms of the Indo-European languages . Until the beginning of the 20th century it was believed that Indo-European languages ​​were also spoken in the West Caucasus, this thesis is generally rejected today and it is assumed that Northwest Caucasian languages ​​were already predominant in the region and there were only contacts with the northern neighbors. Some linguists tried to prove these contacts by means of a group of loanwords from early Indo-European in the Northwest Caucasian languages. This hypothesis is also criticized methodologically, because the large time gap barely allows reliable statements to be made without linguistic historical reconstructions. The hypothesis of contacts with and possible inclusion of Indo-European groups in the Northwest Caucasian remains, like the hypothesis of the immigration of the Northwest Caucasian languages ​​from the south, “highly speculative” ( James Patrick Mallory ), but both are also represented by authors.

Early history

Maykop culture (drawn too large, it only reached the coast on the northern Taman Peninsula)

In the late Neolithic ( New Stone Age) and the Bronze Age, there existed in Western Caucasus approx. 3700–2500 BC. The Maikop culture, for example, from the Taman Peninsula to the western border of today's Dagestan (named after the first site of the Maikop ), which developed a social hierarchy with richly furnished princely burial mounds . As mentioned, many researchers suspect that the Maykop people may have spoken at least some of the early Northwest Caucasian languages, although their culture was similar to more northern cultures, especially the Yamnaja culture . From the Maikop culture (among other finds between Central Europe and the Indus culture ) early remains and depictions of wheels and wagons and the oldest wagon graves were found.

The more northerly Novotitarovskaya culture (3300-2700 BC, between the Azov and Caspian Seas , after the first site of the Novotitarovskaya ), which is very similar to the Maykop culture, but had different ceramics and more wagon graves, overlapped in time with it .

A typical Caucasian dolmen

The West Caucasian dolmen culture (approx. 3100–1900 BC) emerged from the north of Gelendzhik to Otschamtschire , which in the central area also extended over the Caucasus ridge to the east to the central north of Adygeia and the western tip of Karachay-Cherkessia. The dolmen ("stone table") or megalithic cultures ("giant stone cultures ") were a group of independently developed archaic cultures from Western Europe and North Africa to India and Korea that used these structures either for burial chambers under burial mounds or for other religious places of worship. West Caucasian dolmens, which are often decorated with stone carvings and provided with characteristic " soul holes ", are partly interpreted as burial chambers, partly as other religious sites, it has not always been clarified.

Metal jewelry from a tomb of the Koban culture

In the second half of the 3rd millennium to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC These three cultures were followed by the North Caucasian culture , whose found objects were artistically somewhat easier than those of their predecessors and successors.

It followed approx. 1200–400 BC. BC, the Late Bronze Age- Iron Age Koban culture , which despite contacts to the north and south showed a certain independence with large, planned settlements with a rectangular network of streets and black ceramics. Like the West Georgian Kolchis culture , the Koban culture was a supraregional center of metal mining, metal processing and metal export, especially of iron, copper, zinc, tin, gold and silver.

Vorscherkessische history up to the 14th century

Statue of a warrior of the Sindi

In historical times the tribal associations of the Mayots and Siraks are mentioned in the foothills of the West Caucasus . Strabon mentions several sub-tribes of the tribal association of the Maioten, of which the Sindi in the land of Sindika, today's Taman Peninsula , with the capital Gorgippa, today's Anapa are later mentioned frequently. Sindika was long allied with the Greek-dominated Bosporan Empire . The Sindi culture was under Greek influence; high-quality artifacts of the Maioten, Siraks, especially the Sindi were found. While older and western research often assumes to this day that these settled tribal associations were subgroups of the actually nomadic, Iranian- speaking Sarmatians , since the 1960s and 1970s Soviet and Russian research has considered it likely that the Maioten, but the Siraks were not speaking in the West Caucasus.

Undoubtedly forerunners of the Circassians were the Kerkets (called Kaschagen, Kassogen or similar) north of the western Caucasus from the Taman Peninsula to the upper Kuban , from whose name the Circassian name may be traced back, and the Zichi tribal association (Zekchi, Zygii, Sichen ) south of the West Caucasus, roughly between today's Gagra and Gelendzhik .

The Kerkets were first discovered by Pseudo-Skylax around 330 BC. Next to other tribes in the region. Since then, they have been mentioned again and again from ancient Greek and Roman sources (such as Strabo, Pomponius Mela , Quintus Curtius Rufus ) to medieval Byzantine (such as Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos), Armenian, Georgian, Muslim, Russian ( Nestor Chronicle ) and Genoese sources and described. According to the sources, the Kerketen / Kaschagen / Kassogen seem to gradually move from their originally small settlement area on the northeast coast of the Black Sea with hinterland to their medieval settlement area of ​​the Taman Peninsula and the area around the Sea of Azov in the 5th to 10th centuries To have extended west to the upper reaches of the Kuban in the east. In doing so, they seem to have assimilated or displaced older tribes of the Maioten and the Siraks, whose mention from historical sources disappears. From the 6./7. From the 19th century, short inscriptions by the Kassogen in a rune-like script that can be read because they resemble the Murfatlar runes of the Proto- Bulgarians, which show that the Kassogen were speaking in the Western Caucasian region. Possibly the symbols used by Circassian noble families were formed from this without a phonetic value. It is a very recent invention that a phonetic systematic “old Circassian script” was formed from these.

Approximate area of ​​retreat and origin of the Circassians (gray-green) in the West Caucasus around 1311

The Zichi were described by Strabon over 2000 years ago. They also lived in a small settlement area between today's Gagra and Tuapse and spread in the 3rd-8th centuries. Century north to about Gelendzhik , with the older tribes of the Acheans and Tetraxites (an eastern splinter group of the Crimean Goths ) were ousted or assimilated. From the 10th century onwards, sources north of the Kingdom of Georgia and west of the Caucasian Empire of the Alans only mention the two tribal associations of the Kerketen and Zichen. The majority of the researchers assume that the Zichi also spoke West Caucasian. Despite uncertainties about the exact linguistic relationships of the Zichi, it is undisputed that they, like the Kerkets, were forerunners of the Circassians, which is why they are included in Circassian history, especially in Russian specialist literature, alongside the Kerkets and often also the Maiotes, Sindi and Siraks.

In the 13th century, the Caucasus was devastated by the Mongol campaigns led by two grandsons of Genghis Khan - Möngke Khan and Batu Khan - in the North Caucasus . The Alan Empire collapsed and the surviving Alans fled partly to the higher Caucasus, partly as Jász to Hungary or joined the Mongols. The kingdom of Georgia, which had previously dominated the south, also fell into several sub-kingdoms. At the end of the 14th century, Timur's campaigns brought renewed destruction to the Caucasus. Because of these events, the remaining Zichi and Kerkets withdrew to the high mountains, where the ethnogenesis of the Circassians came to an end. The Zichi and Kerketen were no longer mentioned in the sources, but only the Circassians since the 15th century. This also corresponds to the view of Kaukasiology that the Circassian dialects, apart from Ubychian, have been different since around the 14th / 15th centuries. Century diverged. The relatively small area of ​​the Western Mountain Caucasus became the starting point for the expansion of the Circassian tribes from the 14th / 15th centuries. Century.

History until 1864

Circassian history since the 15th century

The Kabarda (light green) and other Circassians (gray-green, then up to the mouth of the Don) in 1532 in Caucasus shortly before the maximum expansion (then to the mouth of the Terek ).

After the war campaigns of Timur began in 14./15. Century the territorial expansion of the tribes, which are now referred to in the sources as Circassians or Adygians. They initially settled along the West Caucasus north to the lower Don , and sometimes even to the Crimea . Since the 15th century, the Kabardines also settled eastwards in the partially depopulated northern foothills of the Central Caucasus, where the Alan Empire had previously existed. With this expansion the Circassians came into conflict with the Islamized Crimean khanate , one of the successor states of the disintegrated Golden Horde , the northern regions claimed for himself and also with the Crimean khanate associated Nogaiern . In particular the trade route from Derbent to Azov (Tana), one of its economic lifelines, did not allow the Crimean khanate to be interrupted by expanding Circassians. Especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Crimean Khanate, the Nogaiians and their hegemonic powers, the Ottoman Empire , which had conquered some fortresses on the coast from the Genoese, waged several wars against the Circassians, who had to retreat behind the Kuban. In order to gain political influence among the Circassians, the Crimean khanate resorted to the unusual means of forced Islamization since the 15th century, whereby Circassian places were occupied for twelve years, priests of the Christian-pagan mixed cult were expelled or killed, mosques were built and Islam was preached. This practice has not been handed down since the 17th century; the majority of conversions, which only a small part of the Circassians had achieved in the 18th century, were not enforced.

Coat of arms of the prince of Kabarda in the 18th / 19th centuries century

During these conflicts, the Circassians in the 15th century began to develop political centralization. Several tribes gathered under the leadership of the Circassian prince Inals the Great (another Circassian nickname nef = "the cross-eyed") to successfully defend against the Crimean Khanate and the Ottomans. Information about him comes mainly from orally transmitted Circassian stories, but contemporary sources confirm his existence. According to the information provided by the Catholic missionary bishop Johannes de Galonifontibus (Jean de Gaillefontaine), he could have been a son, and according to other sources another relative of the Burji-Mamluk sultan (see next chapter) al-Ashraf Sayf ad-Din Inal and successfully bundled the resistance against outside opponents. When he tried to consolidate his power, many tribes are said to have fallen away from him, and ultimately his princely party was defeated in the war against their opponents. Inal is said to have led the tribe of the Kabardines on its expansion to the east and founded the only Circassian principality Kabarda (older German name "Kabardei") that achieved dominance in the central North Caucasus. This expansion made the Kabardines the largest Circassian tribe. The rest of the Western Circassians remained in stateless society.

Signet ring of Maria Temryukovna

Inal's death was followed by a phase of internal conflicts over the rank of prince of the Kabardines until the 16th century. After that, the Kabarda reached the height of power under Inal's great-grandson Temryuk the Great (died around 1571) and also dominated the majority of the other North Caucasian language groups. The influence of Kabarda reached under Temryuk as far as the mouth of the Terek , but these eastern areas were later lost again. In the 15th to 19th centuries, the politically inconsistent Circassian tribes had a dominant position in the North Caucasus with the exception of Dagestan and the settlement area of ​​the Chechens , and they also formed by far the largest language group in the North Caucasus. The Kabarda became a developed state and ruled politically, economically and culturally parts of the North Caucasus. Against the pressure of the Crimean Khanate, Temryuk sought alliances with Tsarist Russia , which since Ivan IV the Terrible after the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan had established itself as a new power in the foothills of the Caucasus. His daughter Maria Temryukovna (Circassian name actually Kutschenej) was one of the wives of Ivan IV and several of Temryuk's sons and their followers put themselves in the service of Russia and founded the Russian princely house of Cherkasski , which was followed by further descendants of the princes of the Connected Kabarda. While the Cherkasski and Bekowitsch-Cherkassky belonged to the princely families, thus belonging to the high nobility of Russia, there are also individual families with Circassian origins in the lower nobility of the Principality of Moldova and, since 1562, in the numerous Polish nobility . Although Circassian associations like to refer to them, today there are practically no connections to Circassia, as was the case with some historical personalities during their lifetime, e. B. the Circassian princess daughter and society lady Charlotte Aïssé , who was sold as a toddler, or Carlo de 'Medici (1430–1492), illegitimate son Cosimo de' Medici and a Circassian slave girl.

In the 17th century, the principality split into the western "Great Kabarda" and the eastern "Little Kabarda" through the division of inheritance. At the same time, since the 16th century, tribes on the Kuban submitted to the Crimean Khanate, while the rest remained without political alliances with Russia, the Crimea or the Ottomans.

From the time of internal Russian turmoil, the Smuta in the first half of the 17th century, Russian influence declined in the North Caucasus until the 18th century, while the new nomadic people of the Kalmyks expanded in the northern foothills and temporarily separated Russia from the North Caucasus. During this time, first the Little Kabarda and then the Great Kabarda sought alliances with the Crimean Khanate. It was then that the conversion of the upper class, the princes and the nobility of the Kabardines to Islam began, while the religion also spread among the north-western tribes at the same time. Some members of the Girej family, the ruling family of the Crimean Khanate, who were respected as descendants of Genghis Khan, gained social influence in the North Caucasus.

Circassians outside Circassia until the 19th century

As traders and merchants, more often than prisoners of war and slaves, Circassians repeatedly had external contacts. In the foreland of the North Caucasus, a trade route ran from Eastern Europe and the trading cities of Crimea (such as Kaffa or Sudak ) to Derbent and on to Persia and India or China since the Middle Ages . Sea routes to Anatolia ran from the Crimea or the North Caucasian coast . Circassian and previously Zichische and Kerketische traders traded mainly in salted fish and meat , sheepskin and wool, wood and products of local handicrafts, including raffia mats and textiles or gold, silver and armory.

Tomb complex with mosque and madrasa of the first sultan of the Burji dynasty, Barqūq (1382–1399) in Cairo
Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghauri (1501–1516), the penultimate sultan of the Burji Mamluks, contemporary engraving by Paolo Giovio

From antiquity to modern times, the West and North Caucasus were also one of the regions of origin of captured slaves for the slave trade in the Mediterranean region and Persia. Some as harem women - several Ottoman rulers had Circassian mothers - others as military slaves.

In several Islamic empires, the army and administration - both were combined in traditional oriental empires - were formed from military slaves ( Mamluks in Arabic , gholām in Persian ) who rose to become military and political elites. In some empires they rose to sultan, so in the Egyptian-Syrian Mamluk Empire 1252–1517 , which was ruled by sultans of the Bahri Mamluks in 1279–1382 and by the Burji Mamluks in 1382–1517 . Both dynasties were generally not hereditary family dynasties, but two factions within the Mamluks of this empire. The Bahri Mamluks had their military training center on the Nile island of Roda (in the Bahr an-Nil = " Nile River "), the Burji Mamluks, however, in the Citadel of Cairo ( Burdsch al-Qāhira = "Tower of Cairo"). The Bahri Mamluks were mostly Cumans from Central Asia, whereas the Burji Mamluks are usually referred to in sources as Zichi, later Circassians. The death of one of the Mamluks sultans was often followed by bloody succession battles between the Mamluks factions and between the commanders of the factions, with the sons seldom asserting themselves. Often the successors were other commanders of the Mamluks, from 1382-1517 the Burji Mamluks, who were mostly of Circassian origin, held their own. Even after the conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1517, the Mamluks had a decisive role in the province of Egypt until 1811, but were increasingly different, besides Turkish and Circassian, Georgian, Albanian and others. v. a. Origin. Because the Adyge Chabse stipulated the sole inheritance of the eldest son, and in some regions also of the next younger brother, there are reports that some younger sons let themselves be sold in order to pursue careers abroad. Often, however, the enslavement was a result of being a prisoner of war. Up until the 19th century there were Circassian immigrants among the Egyptian upper class, who were often no longer slaves in the end.

Caucasus War and Deportation

Since the 18th century, the Russian Empire expanded again into the northern foothills of the Caucasus and finally into Transcaucasia . In contrast to the 16th century, there were increasing military confrontations with the majority of the Circassians and other residents of the North Caucasus and the Greater Caucasus . The fighting escalated to the Caucasus War of the 19th century, which only ended in 1864 with the conquest of the last areas in the Greater Caucasus.

Memorial of the Caucasus War in Maikop with the frequent dating of 1763–1864 by Circassian historians

The war of conquest of Russia against the bitter resistance of the Caucasian peoples began for some Circassian authors in 1763 when some Circassians attacked the Russian fortress Kislyar and shortly afterwards the fortress Mosdok because they wanted to prevent the construction of the Caucasus line , which separated them from their winter pastures, whereupon Russia answered with the first campaigns to Cherkessia and Kabarda. For other authors, it began with the Peace of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774, when the Crimean Khanate and the two Kabarda principalities became protectorates of Russia, or in 1801, when Russia annexed the area around the Georgian military road from Mozdok via Vladikavkaz to Tbilisi . Most authors start the war in 1817, when the hostilities soared that the Russian viceroy of the Caucasus Alexei Yermolov made the conquest of the entire Caucasus a war goal.

Scheretluko Kysbetsch Tughusique was one of the Circassian military leaders. He died of war injuries in 1840. His father Scheretluko Said Osman had already fought against Russia at the end of the 18th century. Image by James Stanislaus Bell.

For the Circassians the wars already started when in the mid-18th century, a group of nomadic Nogai before the resident of Russia wehrbauer, the Cossacks , retreated to the region south of the Kuban and thereby defeating the Tscherkessenstamm the Adamijer. The Kuban Nogaier were later involved in the struggles for independence on the Circassian side. Soon after, the conquered Kuban Cossacks the Taman Peninsula from the tribe of Schanejer. The two Kabarda principalities were annexed in 1825. While there was very strong resistance from the pro-Crimean Tatar party of the Kabardines to Russia and the pro-Russian party in the years around 1774, after the annexation the resistance here was only low. In the 19th century, the western Circassian tribes in particular, commanded either by leading princes or elected war leaders, were still fighting for their independence.

Muḥammad al-Amīn, Shamil's governor for the West Caucasus.

From around 1827/29 many Northeast Caucasian peoples (Chechens and Dagestans) united under Ghazi Muhammad , then Hamsat Bek and finally Imam Shamil in the Islamic uprising against the expansion of Russia, making it difficult for the Russian Empire to conquer. Shamil was captured by Russian troops in 1859, which broke the Chechen-Dagestani resistance. In the Northwest Caucasus, however , this so-called Murid War only played a role temporarily. He was commanded by Shamil's governor for the West Caucasus, Muḥammad al-Amīn . He succeeded in 1848-1851, most Bjedughen, Schapsugen, and smaller parts of the Natchuajer and Ubychen and the majority of the Turkic-speaking Karachay and Balkar people behind. His rival was the Ṣaffār-bey, supported by the Ottoman Empire, who by 1845 had most of the Natchuajer and Abadsechen behind him. Both temporarily important supraregional commanders got on the defensive in the 1850s and were defeated in 1859, with Muḥammad al-Amīn surrendering and Ṣaffār-bey perishing. For most of the war, the Circassian tribes were led by war leaders who were independent from Shamil or the Ottoman Empire.

After Shamil surrendered, the Russian army was able to focus its combined forces on the Circassians and Abkhazians from the West Caucasus . Since 1861 the resistance of the last tribes still fighting against Russia - the Abadsechen, Schapsugen and Ubychen and some Abasins - coordinated the common Majlis , which met on the site of today's Sochi . The former village of Sochi is therefore called the last capital by some Circassians. The last battles were fought above Sochi near today's Krasnaya Polyana . May 21, 1864, on which the first victory parade was held in the clearing of today's Krasnaya Polyana, is officially considered the end of the war. The fighting of the last few years was a devastating climax of the Caucasus War.

Caucasian refugees. Artist's impression.

After the war, the Circassians were expelled from their homeland or resettled to the Kuban. Around 500,000 to 1,000,000 Circassians, Abkhazians and other Caucasians were forcibly shipped across the Black Sea to the Ottoman Empire, so-called muhajirs . It is estimated that over 100,000 people were displaced. The proportion of Circassians is estimated at 600,000. The remaining almost 100,000 western Circassians and Abasins were resettled in designated settlement areas on the Kuban outside the mountains. In the rest of the West Caucasus, non-Cherkess settlers were allowed; only between Sochi and Tuapse were some Schapsugian villages able to establish themselves from 1878 onwards.

While some older Russian literature euphemistically characterized these events as resettlement and resettlement, Circassian associations first described the fighting at the end of the war and the deportation as genocide ; the dispute between representatives of both viewpoints sometimes has political features. The Georgian parliament classified it as genocide in 2011. Academic genocide research has also been concerned with it in recent years, but it has still come to different conclusions. Increasingly genocidal traits are seen in some measures.

It is believed that a Circassian identity was only formed or strengthened beyond the tribal borders during the long war, at least among the upper class. So was z. B. the Circassian flag by a Circassian acquaintance James Stanislaus Bells initially designed with seven stars for noble families and, therefore internationally known, now occasionally used by the Majlis with twelve stars, but was not established as the national flag until 1993.

Islamization was probably also intensified by the long war. While in the middle of the 18th century less than half of the Circassians were Muslims, in 1864 almost all of them, with the exception of a small group near Mosdok, professed Islam.

History from 1864

Ottoman Empire

Circassians (green) and Abkhazians and Abasins (red) in what is now Turkey.
Circassians in the Ottoman Empire between 1880 and 1900. The person in the front center is probably an Ottoman civil servant according to clothing and medals. Photo by the Ottoman court photographer Abdullah Frères .

The treaty between the Russian and Ottoman empires in 1860 on the Caucasian refugees provided for them to be settled away from the border from Samsun from south to central Anatolia. The Ottoman authorities, however, had little interest in completely concentrating the population group known to be warlike. Instead, they were also used as irregular border security and as a counterweight against nationally troubled Christian subjects and rebellious Kurdish and Arab tribes.

Ethnographic map of the European part of the Ottoman Empire and autonomous areas 1877 by the Austro-Hungarian consul Carl Sax. Circassians, Abkhazians and others. a. Caucasians: purple checkered hatches.

Some of the settlements took place against the will of the Caucasian muhajirs. The ancestors of Kosovo Circassians were, for example. Samsun via Istanbul to Thessaloniki forwarded, in the hinterland they found free farmland and intended to settle, while the Ottoman administration to north near the border with the formally autonomous principalities Romania and Serbia have wanted to. After an uprising was put down by the Ottoman army, they were transported to their later settlement areas on the new Saloniki-Pristina railway. Thus, in addition to the main settlement area south of Samsun, further villages were formed on the Balkan Peninsula and in Eastern Anatolia.

In the first decades, the muhajirs were poorly integrated, their agricultural knowledge from the Caucasus was often of little use in the new environment, which is why there were repeated conflicts over land and other disputes with the surrounding population. These conflicts gave the great powers, who viewed themselves as protective powers of the Ottoman Christians, opportunities to intervene in the Ottoman Empire. The Russo-Ottoman War of 1877/78 and the Berlin Congress was followed by another wave of refugees and resettlements from the Balkan Peninsula, especially from the now Romanian coastal areas , from the new autonomous Principality of Bulgaria and from Eastern Rumelia . Only in Kosovo, the now southern Serbian areas and the European part of Turkey were some Circassian villages preserved. Some of the Circassian and Caucasian villages in Western Anatolia and almost all of them in Syria, Jordan and Palestine were not formed until 1878.

The hierarchical society of some tribes, whose disintegration had already begun in the Caucasus War through recessions, a civil war 1770–1790 under the Abadsechen to eliminate the nobility and its bloodless deposition under the Schapsugen at the beginning of the 19th century, could not be maintained in the diaspora society . Many impoverished aristocrats tried to improve their position with the money they gained by buying their serfs and slaves. There were also bloody battles of the second group against the nobility, in which even the Ottoman army had to intervene near Istanbul in 1876/77.

Çerkez Ethem (with fur collar) and Ataturk (with white cape) with Ethems Circassian men of the Kuvayı Milliye in June 1920

The integration of the Circassians and other Caucasians into society began as early as the Ottoman period. A disproportionately large number of Circassians had risen to higher officer ranks in the Ottoman army and the following Turkish army in the Balkan Wars , World War I and the Turkish Liberation War , especially in irregular troops and cavalry units. The best- known example is Çerkez Ethem (Ethem of the Circassians), who commanded Ataturk's auxiliary militias in the Turkish Liberation War , but later fell out with him and died in exile. An example of the rise in traditional dynastic relationships was the Egyptian Queen Melek Tourhan (1869-1956), the wife of Hussein Kamil from Circassian nobility.

Russian Empire

In the Russian Empire , the slavery found among the Circassians was banned on July 31, 1864, serfdom had been abolished in the Reich in 1861. The settlement restrictions for all North Caucasians applied until the revolution in 1905 .

Officers of the Wild Division on August 31, 1917 at the time of the Kornilov putsch with Muhammad-Zahir Shamil, a grandson of Imam Shamil (front center).

From the 19th century to the military reform in 1916, all North Caucasians, as well as Central Asians and steppe nomads, were considered inarodzy (for example "not belonging to the (state) people"). In contrast to the narodzy (mostly Christian peoples, but also e.g. Tatars and Azerbaijanis ), the inarodzy were exempt from military service, but carried a higher tax burden. Voluntary entry into the Russian army was allowed. Therefore, a Cabardian volunteer division had existed since the 19th century, and the Kabardines had a long tradition of life in Russia behind them. At the beginning of the First World War , the "Caucasian Native Cavalry Division " was formed around them, which soon became generally known as the Wild Division in reference to their less disciplined but aggressive fighting style . In addition to the Kabardians, they included Ingush, Dagestani, Azerbaijanis, Chechens and West Chechen people, but also some Ossetians, Karachayans, Balkars, Abkhazians and Georgians. It was mainly used on the front against Austria-Hungary in the Carpathian Mountains and was one of the last units that remained on the Russian Western Front after the February Revolution of 1917 . When their commander in chief Kornilov wanted to use them against the revolution in Petrograd , the main reason for the failure of this "Kornilov putsch" was that large parts of the Wild Division refused to take part in political activities. Many returned to the Caucasus on their own. The arrest of another unit of the Wilden Division by the Baku Commune was one of the triggers for the March fighting or March massacre there in 1918 .

The government of the mountain republic, 3rd from right standing Pschemacho Kozew

During the looming Russian Civil War , the autonomous mountain republic was established in the North Caucasus and existed from May 1917 to February / March 1919. She declared herself independent in December 1918. It came into being as a union of spontaneously formed national councils of the peoples of the North Caucasus from the Abkhazians in the west to Dagestan in the east, including the Cabardian National Council. The government consisted of the chairmen of these councils and some aristocrats and Sufi empires . For the Kabardines, the lawyer Prince Pschemacho Kozew sat in the government, since December 1918 the second and last Prime Minister. The West Tscherkessen, however, were soon no longer involved in the mountain republic. Many of them allied with the Cuban Cossack Autonomous Rada . The mountain republic was ultimately smashed by the White Army under Denikin , the somewhat longer existing "Republic of Ter-Dagestan" and the later "Imamat Caucasus" were limited to the Northeast Caucasus and Circassians did not participate. However, their area remained the battlefield between “whites” and “reds” troops until the reds, the Bolsheviks , prevailed in early 1920. The time of the civil war was the only period before 1992 in which there was limited return migration from the likewise crumbling Ottoman Empire.

Soviet Union

Origin of the Territories

In early Marxism , national questions were seen as artificial alongside actual social questions, but even before the First World War Lenin had ideologically equated oppressed national minorities with workers. During the civil war, the Bolsheviks faced many national autonomy and independence movements; the mountain republic was less important. In 1917 they tried to integrate national movements through assurances, which they mostly only succeeded in with socialist wings of the movements. After their victory in the civil war, the Bolsheviks intended to keep their promises. In the last months of Lenin's life, over the administrative answer to national questions, a conflict arose between him and the leading nationality politician Stalin , which ultimately led to Lenin's political testament against Stalin . Lenin strove for a "Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia" with the right to withdraw because he believed that socialistically developed peoples would have no conflicts. Stalin, who distrusted national movements and nationalisms, on the other hand, wanted a Russian Federal Republic with at most autonomous republics with no right of exit. The result of the power struggle was the establishment of the USSR on December 30, 1923 and a complicated mixed system of Union Republics (SSR) with formal exit rights, autonomous republics (ASSR) subordinate to them without exit rights, autonomous oblasts or territories (AO) that were subordinate to the provinces and as the smallest autonomy national circles (NO, German also NK).

The mountain ASSR with its city districts and national districts, including the Kabardian national district in blue

The North Caucasus was assigned to the Russian Union Republic RSFSR , which corresponds to today's Russia. In addition to the Dagestani ASSR , the Mountain ASSR (January 1921 – November 1924) were founded here as subordinate Autonomous Republics. The borders of the mountain ASSR were based on those of the previous mountain republic without Dagestan and without Abkhazia, which was no longer claimed by the mountain republic . It consisted of the city districts of Vladikavkaz and Grozny and seven national districts for the Karachay, Kabardine, Balkar, North Ossetian, Sunsha - Cossack , Ingush and Chechen district. From it the Kabardian NK was spun off as the Autonomous Oblast in September 1921, which in January 1922 was combined with the now also spun off Balkarian NK to form the Kabardino-Balkarian AO with the capital Nalchik . It was elevated to the Kabardino-Balkarian ASSR in 1936 .

Map of the Caucasus 1957 with the ASSR Kabardino-Balkaria and the AO Karachay-Cherkessia and Adygeja

To the west, two further AOs were set up for the West Tscherkessen on the Kuban: the Circassian Autonomous Oblast with the capital Cherkessk , which belonged to the Stavropol region, and the Adygeian Autonomous Oblast with the capital Maikop in the Krasnodar region. In January 1922 the Circassian AO was united with the Karachay AO to form the Karachay-Cherkess AO, but in April 1926 both parts were separated again; the Circassian part was an NK until April 1928, then an AO. In January 1957 they were reunited to form the Karachay-Cherkess AO. A temporary fourth autonomy, also within the RSFSR, was near 1924-1945 Tuapse existing Schapsugische National Rayon . Accordingly, the Circassians were divided into the officially designated and counted titular nations of the "Adygejer", "Kabardiner", "Circassian" and "Schapsugen".

Circassian national associations today accuse the Soviet national policy of having pursued a policy of partitioning the Circassians. The division into several titular nations was unusual and only occurred among the similarly speaking Turkic peoples in an overall Soviet comparison , although here, too, historically anchored association boundaries were almost always taken, but the Adygians and Circassians were not. A border between Adygea and Cherkessia was avoided, although the settlement areas would allow a connection on the Kuban around Armavir . Also in the area between the titular nations of the Kabardines and Circassians, non-Cherkess Karachay settled, which also makes a merger impossible here. There are no evaluations of Soviet files for the reasons for this policy.

Separate identities of the titular nations were only formed to a limited extent in Soviet times, most likely among the Kabardians, who had a different history. Belonging to the titular nation was used more in an official context, an awareness of similarities remained. The system was also not well suited for separation, as it was known that the names "Adygejer" and "Circassian", which were now to be used for two different groups, were only the external name and self-name of the same group. Also that there were members of the tribe of the Kabardines, who did not belong to the titular nation of the "Kabardiner", but to the "Adygejern" or "Circassian", or Schapsugen, who did not belong to the titular nation of the same name, but to the "Adygejern" the separation does not. Finally, the regulation that the “Kabardines” and “Circassians” had to use the Kabardian written language , while the “Adygejer” and “Schapsugen” had to use the Adygeic written language, meant that an awareness of similarities did not disappear.

Territory of the Adygeian AO 1922–1936 (yellow) and extensions in 1936 (darker yellow), 1940 (gray) and 1962 (reddish)

While the Shapsugian National Rajon near the coast was abolished in 1945, the territory of the Adygeian AO was gradually expanded in Soviet times in 1936, 1940 and 1962. This included some tourist areas in the south, but on the other hand the Russian-Ukrainian population of almost 50% increased over 60%.

Nation building: Korenizazija and its termination

The time of the Soviet Union was, as in the entire national territory, in the West Caucasus, especially in the first forty years, an era of fundamental social upheaval and modernization. The Soviet administration took action very early on against the tradition of blood revenge, which it ended with the help of the elders, later banned the possession of weapons and which has therefore practically disappeared from everyday life. Since the 1920s, beginning with the wicked movement, the influence of all religions has been fought and, through education in atheism, an unreligious portion of the population emerged and grew. The privileges of the Circassian nobility and their larger land holdings were also eliminated in the early days of the Soviet Union.

Fundamental changes went hand in hand with the early Soviet policy of Korenisazija ("rooting" from Russian koren "root"), with which the national minorities were to be promoted. In addition to the formation of SSRs, ASSRs, AOs and NKs, the Korenisazija also included the attempt to establish a proportion in the workforce, among Communist Party members, in the state administration and in the education system through quota regulations , the creation of new national languages ​​mostly in Latin script, the definition of national cultures and national histories and finally the introduction of compulsory schooling and the rapid literacy of the entire population, with everyone being taught in their mother tongue ("Socialism in 100 languages"). Linguists established dialects as the basis of the written languages ​​within the many languages ​​of the Soviet Union, created Latin characters for the vowels and consonants, and wrote dictionaries, grammars, school books and sample texts. With Circassian, as with all Northwest Caucasian languages, problems arose from the particular wealth of consonants (depending on the language and dialect, almost 50 to over 80 consonant sounds) and from the fact that many sounds are changed in different word positions and inflections. After an experimental phase with additional letters in Arabic until 1927, an agreement was reached on additional letters in Latin and a systematic spelling that does not always correspond to the concrete pronunciation (cf. the pronunciation of the letters in Kabardian, which varies depending on the position in the word ). Compulsory schooling for children and adults was introduced in 1930 and the population was literate until the 1960s. The formation of a vocational school, high school and university system in the minority languages ​​was more complicated. Through the Korenisazija, Circassian in the two forms Adygej and Kabardian became a written language for the first time in history. These measures were followed by the writing and in some cases the construction of national histories and national cultures, which were taught in schools as a further part of “nation building”. During the Korenizazija period, the Circassian version of the Narten epic, old stories and fairy tales, as well as the provisions of Adyge Chabse were also written down in Circassian for the first time. The Bolsheviks, who themselves placed little value on national affiliation, with this policy not only accommodated national identities in language borders (which they did not question), they consciously promoted and consolidated them. In some regions of Central Asia and Dagestan, in which one previously thought within the boundaries of the tribe, the region of origin or the religious community, identities were actually only invented. Among the Circassians, before the Korenizazija, only the upper class had developed an overall Chekess identity; parts of the simple population still thought in terms of tribal boundaries.

The Korenizazija was increasingly accompanied by repression of Stalin against imagined or actual nationalist deviants in the Communist Party, which increased through the forced collectivization of agriculture with subsequent deculakization to the Great Terror Purge at the end of the 1930s. While the forced collectivization was carried out more slowly in the Caucasian areas than in the fertile areas of the Ukraine , on the central Volga and still in the neighboring Russian-Ukrainian populated regions of the Northwest Caucasus and thus resulted in fewer deaths from starvation, the areas of national minorities were affected by the following purges particularly badly affected because of the distrust of nationalists. At the same time as these events, the Korenizazija 1932–1938 was ended. An influx of Russian skilled workers and functionaries into the minority areas was encouraged again, the quotas for minorities lifted and the importance of Russian in school education significantly increased. The result was that at the end of the Soviet Union, apart from a few remaining areas, practically the entire population was also fluent in Russian. The replacement of Latin alphabets for minority languages ​​by new Cyrillic alphabets in 1937/38, also for Adygej and Kabardi, was striking. In addition, there was propagation of “friendship among peoples” and, since the Second World War, also of the “Soviet people”. Resistance to Russian expansion in the 19th century was no longer rated as an “anti-colonial struggle for freedom” but as an “anachronistic resistance to progress”. Even so, not all elements of the Korenizazija policy have been eliminated. The right to maintain the national languages, national literature and national cultures was retained; for example, the Caucasus dances were further developed by professional dancers and composers. Schooling in the minority languages ​​also continued, albeit reduced to primary school for less important languages. These remnants without the possibility of political deviation were summarized under the slogan “cultural autonomy”, the characterization of which in the Soviet Union was joked: “Cultural autonomy is the right to express the will of the Kremlin in one's own language.” But also with that the USSR has a more developed minority policy than most of the neighboring states.

World War II and post-war period

Wehrmacht soldiers in the burning oil fields of Maikop.
Soviet soldiers in the North Caucasus. According to the architectural style of the building in the background, probably in a Circassian or Ukrainian-Cuban Cossack village

After the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Circassian settlement areas were also temporarily included in the fighting in the following year. In the Edelweiß company in June to August 1942, the Wehrmacht conquered the western and central North Caucasus with the aim of occupying the Baku oil fields . The offensive got stuck in heavy fighting in the Greater Caucasus, while another part of Army Group South was included in the Battle of Stalingrad . In January / February 1943 the conquests by the North Caucasian operation of the Soviet army were completely reversed. Although the Wehrmacht developed very intensive propaganda among national minorities, especially Baltic peoples, Ukrainians, Cossacks, steppe peoples and Caucasian peoples ("Caucasus propaganda") in order to weaken the cohesion of the Soviet Union, they had - contrary to their own propagandistic claims - the mistrust Stalin's increased - only limited success. Some village soviets tried to continue working under German rule. At the beginning of 1943 regional uprisings against the invasion of the Red Army formed in the neighboring Karachay and Balkar people to the south . Although these evidently did not arise directly on German initiative, but rather as a spontaneous resistance against the re-establishment of the Stalinist system, the Soviet leadership viewed them as a collaboration and in 1943 all Karachayans, in 1944 all Balkars, were deported to Central Asia or to Siberian Gulag camps. These complete ethnic deportations also affected the Crimean Tatars , Chechens , Ingush and Kalmyks at the end of the World War , although in all cases the number of collaborators was fewer than that of Soviet soldiers or partisans. The Karachay and Balkar areas were divided between the Georgian SSR , the Stavropol Krai , the Circassian AO and the now Kabardian ASSR. In addition, a region around Mozdok , in which the Kabardines are the minority, was added to the North Ossetian ASSR . After Stalin's death, all deported peoples were rehabilitated from the mid-1950s and some, including Karachay and Balkar people, were allowed to return to the old areas. The Kabardino-Balkarian ASSR and the Karachay-Cherkessian AO were re-established in 1957, but the region around Mozdok remained with the North Ossetian ASSR.

Like the entire Soviet Union, the Circassian settlement areas were industrialized since the 1930s, especially with ore mining, building materials industry and the food industry. Oil fields were also discovered around Maikop in Adygea, the yields of which declined at the end of the Soviet era. Compared to other Soviet areas, the North Caucasus was less industrialized. In addition, tourism gradually developed from the 1920s, with a focus on the Black Sea coast and around the Elbrus . In the post-Stalinist era, as everywhere in the socialist world, the image of the settlement was strongly shaped by prefabricated buildings. Fundamental new developments were hardly to be observed in the increasingly stagnant post-Stalinist society. As the Stalinist pressure on society subsided, however, some historians developed a national approach to history again.



Most Circassians today live outside the Caucasus, where they have seen similar modernizations, such as social advancement, urbanization, and broader literacy and education. The main difference was that there was no Circassian written language in the Diaspora. Established written languages ​​in the area (Turkish, Arabic, etc.) were used for written communication. Due to similar costumes and traditions, the Caucasian muhajirs and their descendants were often perceived as uniform in the surrounding societies and mostly referred to as Circassians, although the actual Circassians only form the largest group and among them are other Northwest Caucasians (Muslim Abkhazians , Abasins , Karachays , Balkars , Nogayers , Muslim Ossetians ), Northeast Caucasians ( Chechens and Ingush , Avars , Dargians , Lesgians and other Dagestans ) and South Caucasians (Sunni Azerbaijanis , Muslim Georgians ). This foreign image was used by the Caucasians, v. a. the Northwest Caucasians, which is why they founded joint cultural associations, often also summarily referred to as Circassians. Due to imprecise tradition and the isolation of the Soviet Union, they formed vague, mythically inflated ideas of their lost homeland in the Caucasus. Conflicts are rare, the Circassians are not discriminated against in all diaspora societies, but rather recognized, also because of their reputation for producing good military and civil servants. This facilitated social integration and, for over half of the diaspora Caucasians, also linguistic and cultural assimilation. Attitudes towards Islam vary. Because pre-Islamic traditions of the adyge chabse were not supplanted by Islamic traditions due to the late Islamization and have this importance for Circassian identity, there is less identification with more Islamic lifestyles, especially with the politicized Islamism that has emerged since the 1980s. Only a few isolated Circassian villages have adapted more strongly to Islamic traditions; many consider it essential to reject Islamism. The tendency is somewhat less among Chechens and other north-east Caucasians of the diaspora, who have longer Islamic traditions.


Resident of a Circassian village near Adapazarı on the fringes of funeral services for the founder of the state Ataturk, November 25, 1938. Clearly visible are the changed clothing style according to the fashion of the 30s and the Turkish names.

The largest group of Circassians in the Diaspora are the Circassians in Turkey : an estimated 1.5–2.5 million people, with less than half speaking Circassian today. It is estimated that there are over 900 villages with Caucasian, mostly Circassian, inhabitants; in smaller areas of western and central Anatolia they make up the majority of the population. They are similarly urbanized and educated as the average population of Turkey.

Although the Circassians have a long tradition of regulating internal questions themselves, formal associations rarely emerged from this in the context of personal contacts. As everywhere, Circassian associations were founded especially by the modernized, mostly urbanized population and were initially associations for the care of culture and history. Authors speak of “contrapuntal modernization”: in the plural isolation of modernity, part of the population seeks its own origin and identity, whereby the previously diverse historical memories and culture are unified, bundled, and thus constructed. Circassian associations were exclusively cultural associations until the 1980s because the Turkish Association Act of 1938 forbade all associations to participate in political activities and because the inaccessibility of the Soviet Caucasus prevented the formation of national goals. The first Circassian associations emerged as early as the Ottoman period and mostly formed the umbrella organization Çerkess Ittihad ve Teavun Cemiyeti (Circassian Union and Aid Association, 1908–1923), which published a newspaper.

With the rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk , a policy of fundamental modernization and Turkishization began . The most striking example was the Hat Act of 1925, which replaced traditional headgear and then all traditional clothing styles with Western clothing. The Circassians could no longer use their Caucasian costumes in Turkey. However, the modernization was much more extensive, for example due to the new constitution and the change in the legal system. Society was also Turkishized, so the Circassians had to Turkishize their names, with the Family Name Act of 1935, replacing their family names, which always came first, with Turkish surnames. Until a few years ago, lessons were only held in Turkish . For a long time, Turkish was the only permitted public language. Circassian associations and their schools were dissolved during Ataturk's reign, including the umbrella organization in 1923.

When his successor İsmet İnönü relaxed politics from around 1943, Circassian clubs were formed again. In the early 1950s there were over 30. However, these local and regional associations were allowed to be closed by the police if they suspected political activity. To avoid this, some sought the status of the foundation (Vakıf) , which is not so easily dissolvable. According to the Turkish Law on Associations, a foundation must have registered capital and be socially active, which is why some Circassian associations now operate public hospitals, schools and other social institutions. The first umbrella organization with other Caucasian and Azerbaijani associations was the Dost Eli Yardimlasma Derneği ( Fiduciary Welfare Association), followed by Kuzey Kafkas Kültür Derneği (North Caucasian Cultural Association ), founded in 1964 . They are the biggest associations with most of the member associations. Although they were sometimes used as anti-communist instruments during the Cold War , they are apolitical and today maintain good relations with Russia, especially with Adygeja and Kabardino-Balkaria.

It was only with the dissolution of the Soviet Union that political associations emerged, organized in the umbrella organization Kafkas Derneği (Caucasian Association, 1993, Kaf-Der for short ), which incorporated associations of the North Caucasian Cultural Association , and as the smallest since 1995, Kafkas Vakfı (Caucasian Foundation) and Birleşik Kafkasya Derneği (United Caucasian Association), which are religiously conservative and among which the Chechens are more strongly represented. Kaf-Der is officially apolitical, but some mostly Chechen, Abkhaz and Ossetian sub-associations supported the separatists in the Chechen wars, the Abkhazian war and the South Ossetian war. The Caucasian associations, like Kurdish and other minorities, are often hostile to Turkishization and strong Turkish nationalism. Not all people of Circassian origin still see themselves as Circassians or are organized in these associations.


Circassian cavalry unit of Vichy France on the way to surrender to Free France in Damascus, 1941.
Entry of the Generals of Free France Georges Catroux and Paul Louis Legentilhomme into Damascus in June 1941 with Garde Tcherkess .

In Syria, the number of Circassian residents is estimated at around 80–120,000. The main settlements are the Aleppo governorate near Aʿzāz , near Manbidsch and in the eastern Sfireh district, the predominantly Druze- inhabited Hauran Mountains and formerly the Golan Heights , today their eastern neighborhood, where there were also some conflicts with the Druze pre-population. A well-known small town is the almost deserted Quneitra in the buffer zone east of the Israeli-occupied part of Syria. The social recognition and development is comparable to Turkey. Here, too, they are disproportionately represented in the army. Several Circassian cavalry units and life guards already existed in Syria during the time of the French mandate . However, the Syrian Circassians were also divided in their attitude towards the mandate power of France; Circassian villages took part in the Syrian uprising , which mainly came from the Druze. Circassian national associations and charities have also been established in Syria since the 1920s. The umbrella organization published the magazine Marǧ (Arabic: meadow), in which articles in Circassian were also published. With the takeover of power by the Ba'ath party , which advocates pan-Arabism , these Circassian associations and schools were dissolved. Circassians are not generally disadvantaged, but unlike in Turkey there are no autonomous cultural associations outside of the state's one-party system.


British, Circassian and Arab-Bedouin dignitaries at the reception of the British High Commissioner for Palestine Herbert Samuel in April 1921 at the Amman airfield, when he announced the British recognition of the emirate of Transjordan. (2nd from right: Lawrence of Arabia)
Circassian bodyguard at the 24th anniversary of the Arab uprising in 1940 in Amman.

The Circassians developed unusually in Jordan, some of whom managed to rise to the country's upper class. In the fertile north-west they were settled after 1868/78 as a counterweight to restless Arab Bedouin tribes. They repopulated the almost empty ancient ruined cities of Amman (initially camps in the amphitheater) and Jerash and founded five Circassian and one Chechen village in the area. The British colonial government counted 5,850 Circassians in 1933, officially only 23,000 in 1997, and to this day the state has given a number of 40,000. Their total number is now estimated at 50,000 to over 100,000 people. The constitution of Jordan has given the Circassians political influence since 1921 because of their loyalty, for example in the form of two seats in parliament, which they could lose if the population fell. Hence the dispute over the corresponding estimates.

As almost the first non-Bedouin residents of the region, they started a rural reclamation. During the First World War, the region was conquered by British troops and tribes of the Arab revolt under the Hashimites and Lawrence of Arabia in 1917/18 . After the Hashimites were denied a Greater Arab Empire by the great powers, the British accepted the establishment of the emirate of Transjordan with the capital Amman under a British mandate here in April 1921 . The ruling system of the new Emir Abdullah ibn Hussein was based on political and economic relations with the tribes of his population, the Arab Bedouins and the Circassian inhabitants. After Circassians defended the monarchy against a rebellion by three Bedouin tribes in 1923, the ruler's Bedouin bodyguard was replaced by a Circassian, which still exists today. Circassians (and Bedouins) are also disproportionately represented in the army , politics and administration of Transjordan - the Kingdom of Jordan since independence in 1946. A well-known politician of Circassian origin was the multiple prime minister Saʿid al-Mufti . Two seats in the lower house are reserved for Circassian and one for Chechen MPs, as well as two senatorial seats and one ministerial post for Circassians. With the population increase due to Palestinian refugees who were integrated into Jordan, another cause of rise followed in addition to the proximity to the royal family. Because Circassians were most of the landowners in Amman, which was expanding into a metropolis, they were able to use the position financially, as they did before building the Hejaz Railway . This enabled some Circassians to become leading entrepreneurs, doctors, scientists, etc., the lecturers Amjad M. Jaimoukha and Kadir I. Natho are Jordanian Circassians. In contrast to Turkey, Syria or Iraq, there have always been Circassian associations in Jordan, and Jordan is the only country besides Israel in which there are schools with Circassian language instruction.

Despite this support, there is assimilation in Jordan too, only a minority belong to the cultural and welfare associations. Jaimoukha estimates that only 17% of Circassian youth speak fluent Circassian dialects. However, as everywhere in the diaspora, the proportion of people who identify themselves as Circassians is greater. A well-known functionary of the Jordanian Circassians is the brother of King Ali bin al-Hussein , who speaks Circassian, was temporarily the commander of the bodyguard, and led a ride by Jordanian bodyguards through Syria, Turkey, Georgia to Kabardino-Balkaria in 1998, which was noted in the diaspora.

Other countries

Only a few Circassians live in Iraq, estimates amount to 19,000–35,000, mostly in the north of the country (east of Zaxo and around Qashqa ). However, the largest group of Caucasian residents in the triangle of northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey and northeastern Syria are Chechens, and there are also Dagestani villages. The number of the actual Circassians is therefore much lower. In keeping with their number, their significance for the history of Iraq is also relatively minor.

Memorial plaque in the Circassian-Israeli village of Rihanya. On the outside, the gender symbols often used by Circassian noble families.

While the Circassian villages on the Golan Heights were abandoned during the Six Day War, the two Circassian villages of Kfar Kama with Schapsugen and Rihanya with Abadsechen exist in northeastern Israel . There are a total of 4–5,000 Circassians in Israel. Although Muslims in Israel are not subject to conscription, some do military service. State schools with language classes exist in both places. Because schooling is compulsory, almost all Israeli Circassians still speak Circassian today.

There are still a few Circassian villages in Kosovo, and two more in southern Serbia. The exact number of Circassians here is difficult to determine because they are often counted among the Turkish minority. Some emigrated to Turkey during Tito's socialist reforms .

There are no Circassian or Caucasian villages in Egypt that emerged after 1864. However, many people of Caucasian origin live here, who often belong to the upper class, including some entrepreneurs, politicians, military, scientists, artists and actors from Egyptian cinema, to which Circassian associations like to refer today. Their families go z. Some of it goes back to the time of the Mamluks , whose power in the Ottoman province of Egypt was ended in 1811. According to Kadir I. Nathos, all Circassians in Libya are of Egyptian-Mamluk origin. Although a small minority has found connection to international cultural associations, most of them have no cultural or personal connections and knowledge of the Caucasian languages ​​has disappeared.

In other countries, too, there is an often well-organized Circassian diaspora, for example in France and the USA, initially mostly emigrants after the Russian civil war, after the Second World War and after the socialist reforms in Syria and Germany, mostly through immigration from Turkey .


Russian Federation

Spread of nationalisms

From the end of the 1980s to the new millennium, society in the Soviet Union and its successor states, including Russia's severe economic and social transformation crises . At the same time, there was an early boom in nationalisms in the socialist world in resistance to Moscow's hegemony, which was therefore initially less widespread among the Russian population than among the national minorities in the Soviet Union and the populations of the satellite states. Some authors speak of an "explosion of the ethnic". Large sections of the population turned to nationalist doctrines that were believed to be oppressed in the socialist era. As a result of the goal of mono-national statehood, which is typical for many nationalisms, regions such as the Western Balkans and the Caucasus, in which several nationalities have lived mixed for a long time, have developed into trouble spots. Numerous ideological nationalist popular fronts formed. When it became clear that the Soviet Union would be partitioned on January 1, 1992 at the borders of the sovereign Union republics, many demanded sovereignty as a preliminary stage of independence for the national republics that they often quickly unilaterally proclaimed. Disputes quickly followed over ethnically mixed areas. Whipped up by often exaggerated, sometimes bogus reports from nationalists about the misdeeds of the “others”, parts of the masses were mobilized by fear of neighboring ethnic groups, which were often nationalistically mobilized for their part. Nationalisms could quickly lead to armed conflicts and ethnic cleansing . The North Caucasus, with its many nationalities, was also affected. In contrast to other regions, however, no nationalist disputes from the time of the Russian civil war revived here, because national identities were often only widespread since the Korenizazija. In the neighborhood, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict escalated to the war of 1992–1994, the South Ossetia War 1991–1992, the Abkhazian War 1992–1994, the first Chechnya war against Russia 1994–1996 and in November 1992 even a war between the Russian republics of North Ossetia and Ingushetia .

Around 1992/94 a rethink began in large parts of the population. Many people understood that their own homeland was also on the brink of civil war. The result was that in elections in all North Caucasian republics except Chechnya, moderate post-communist, often social-democratic parties, which were considered to be less nationalistic, received the vast majority of the votes. Under Boris Yeltsin, Russia adopted a federal constitution with internal autonomy rights of the republics, with all former ASSRs, including Kabardino-Balkaria, and almost all AOs, including Adygeja and Karachay-Cherkessia, becoming republics in the State Union of Russia. With the exception of Chechnya, all republic governments signed the underlying federation treaty. Under the pressure of moderating public opinion, some national parties also moved away from maximum demands.

Circassian national symbolism on a monument to the Caucasus War in Karachay-Cherkessia.
Apparently a Circassian wedding convoy in Karachay-Cherkessia.

The largest national movement of the Circassians is called Adyge Chase ("Circassian Council" or "Circassian Congress"). The goals of the national Circassian movement are the international recognition of the events of 1864 as genocide, the creation of a unified Circassian republic within Russia, a right of return for all Diaspora Circassians if they so wish, and the elimination of the official division into "Adygejer", "Circassian", " Kabardiner ”and“ Schapsugen ”. In order to avoid conflicts with neighboring ethnic groups, the Circassian associations waived their initial demands for land connections between the main settlement areas, which are predominantly inhabited by Karachayers or Russians and Ukrainians, and called for a Circassian republic consisting of three sub-areas. Even with this solution, considerable territorial disputes with Karachay and Balkar, with Cossacks, Russians and Ukrainians were to be expected. Because the national parties were never able to achieve a majority of the votes, even during the Yeltsin era, when there were no suspicions of forgery, the opposition continued to make demands. Adyge Chase does not advocate a separatist course of detachment from Russia or a course of restoration of the historical settlement area.

To this day there are nationalist disputes, for example about the very extensive Circassian historical tradition, which historians often view with a distance because of the poor verifiability and the unreliability of oral tradition. In August 2008, Kabardians celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Battle of the Qenzhal (Kanjali) Mountains, where, according to tradition, the Kabarda under Zhebaghi ​​(tombstone above) won the decisive victory over the attacking Crimean Khanate. Balkarian youth organizations tried to block the entrances because they thought this battle was a legend. There were attacks on the memorial. The events were repeated on the 310th anniversary in September 2018 with two-day clashes between Circassian-Cabardian memorial riders and Balkar villagers, which escalated into violent clashes between residents of the Balkarian village of Kendelen and the neighboring Kabardian village of Sajukowo, with 45 injured and 120 arrested by the Russian National Guard Involved, whereupon the President of Kabardino-Balkaria, Yuri Kokow, resigned. The first person to climb Elbrus on July 22, 1829, was a native of the expedition of the Russian officer Georgi Emmanuel, who reached the summit on his own. According to Circassian tradition, he is said to have been the Cabardine Chaschir Tschilar. Karachay associations declared this tradition a legend and dedicated a memorial in Cherkessk to him as Karachay Hilar Hakirow. There were arson attacks on the memorial and Circassian youth organizations reacted with a mass ascent of Elbrus. During the German occupation, the inhabitants of a Circassian-Beslenej village hid Jewish children from a holiday camp in the village at their own risk. In November 2009, the Karachay newspaper Express-Post described this episode as a legend, apparently out of habit. After protests by Circassian and Russian-Jewish associations, because this event has been proven, the newspaper apologized. Such mutual provocations were almost commonplace, especially in the 1990s. They don't always stay peaceful, e.g. B. on May 14, 2009 the youth functionary who led the mass ascent of Elbrus was shot dead by unknown persons. The use of force to “resolve” political disputes is by no means rare - and not just in the North Caucasus.


In Adygeja , a group of Adygee politicians came to power in the 1990s. They occupied important offices and made up about 1.5% of the Adygejes with relatives. They represented a national policy, the adoption of the Circassian flag as the flag of Adygeja and the Narten hero Sosruqo as the coat of arms is clear, which also made them contradict Russian politics. Russia set a restrictively low return rate of 50 diaspora Circassians annually, which Adygeja disregarded and allowed up to 2000. Tensions also arose with the opposition party "Union of Adygejas Slavs", which sees the largest population group at a disadvantage. The generic term “ Slavs ”, which is common in the West Caucasus , was chosen because some of the inhabitants are not only Russians but also Ukrainians and Cuban Cossacks from Ukraine. The aim was to avoid internal disputes. Experts pointed out that at that time a political caste ruled with such a high corruption index that Adygeia's economy fell far behind the economy of the surrounding Krasnodar region . They also used nationalism as a distraction. Obviously angry about this policy, the central government took up the demand of the "Union of Adygejas Slavs" in 2005 and planned the unification with the Krasnodar region and thus the dissolution of Adygejas. After Circassian protests broke out in April 2005, with associations of small minorities of Armenians, Kurds and Azerbaijanis and part of the Russian-Ukrainian population showing solidarity, Moscow dropped its plans. This also resulted in the resignation of Adygeian President Hazret Sovmen and, in 2006, the election of his successor Aslan Tchakuschinow , who is considered less corrupt and nationalist. It was not until around 2009/10, later than in many other regions of Russia, that Adygeja also experienced an economic upturn.

Karachay Cherkessia

Flag of Russia and national flags as a tourist souvenir: the Circassian, the Nogai (winged wolf), the Karachay (howling wolf in the crescent) and the Ossetian (white-red-yellow).

The multiethnic republic of Karachay-Cherkessia went through crises , in which the largest nationality is the Turkic-speaking Karachay, followed by the Russian-Ukrainian population with Cossacks, the Circassians and the smaller groups of Abasins and Nogais. From 1990/91 the Karachay national parties proclaimed a republic of their own here and demanded unification with the Balkars further east, after which the Circassian national parties proclaimed their republic and demanded unification with other Circassian areas. When a Cossack and an Abasin republic followed, all of which declared themselves sovereign, and a Nogai was planned, territorial disputes increased. More radical supporters armed themselves and there were violent attacks. In this explosive situation, on March 28, 1992 over 70% of the republic's residents voted for moderate politicians. An informal poll was carried out in which over 70% were against the division of the republic. The situation calmed down over the next few years and a coalition of Karachay and Russian-Ukrainian-Cossack parties was established, in which the Circassian, Abasin and Noga minorities often feel excluded from politics. This sometimes resulted in disputes up to and including the severe crisis of the republic in 1999/2000. The situation in Karachay-Cherkessia has been more peaceful in recent years. In some cases, an equalization policy is being pursued, at least one minister from these three minorities is appointed, and an Abasin Rajon and a Noga Rajon have been established. Demands for a Circassian Rajon have not yet been implemented. The Circassians dominate in two more of the ten republic rajons. In contrast to Adygeja and Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia does not accept any Diaspora Circassians and, in contrast to the other two capitals, there is no Circassian-speaking university in the capital Cherkessk.


In Kabardino-Balkaria there were initially disputes between the proclaimed republics of the Circassian Kabardines and the Turkic-speaking Balkars, but these were successfully defused from 1992 onwards through a compromise policy of the elected moderate republic leadership. After the first Chechnya war, Islamist groups increasingly prevailed among the warlords in Chechnya through clever pacts, a process that ended with the proclamation of the Caucasus emirate , which now pursued supraregional goals. They also wanted to establish themselves underground in neighboring republics, including in Kabardino-Balkaria, which Jochar Dudayev had already described as "unapproachable beauty" because of its landscape and political stability. For a long time this did not succeed because even among young people there was hardly a religious milieu with a tendency to radicalization. With an attack on the capital Nalchik in October 2005, the republic was also drawn into the spiral of violence between Islamist militants and Russian anti-terrorist units for a few years. A decline in violence has been observed since 2010/11. The central government plans to support the ailing regional economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism, by expanding ski areas ("ski clusters").

Putin era

Under Vladimir Putin , the regions were more strongly subordinated to the headquarters (“new power vertical”). Federation law now takes precedence over republic law and presidents of republic are no longer elected directly, but instead by regional parliaments on a proposal from Moscow. Circassian associations are partially affected by the pressure on opposition groups, independent media and non-governmental organizations, nationalist groups and youth associations are viewed with suspicion and are subject to restrictions. The central government has agreed with Adygea on strict conditions for the naturalization of Diaspora Circassians. Neither a blocking attitude towards exchange with the diaspora and naturalization (both often on the initiative of Adygeja or Kabardino-Balkaria), nor a strong concession, e.g. B. by the creation of a Circassian republic, whose demanding parties cannot refer to any electoral majorities, can be seen so far.

International Circassian Movement

The opening of the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s was followed by a lively exchange between the Caucasus and the Caucasian diaspora and thus also the Circassian. Today there are flight and ferry connections between Middle Eastern and West Caucasian cities; Circassian radio or television programs are easy to receive in the Diaspora and the exchange with the Internet has increased significantly. In the meantime, the vast majority of people who still identify as Diaspora Circassians have seen the Caucasus, which has also replaced mythical ideas with realistic and current ones.

Street sign in the Israeli-Circassian village of Kfar Kama, below also Circassian in Cyrillic script.

Since that time, an internationally networked Circassian movement has been formed from associations of the Diaspora and the Caucasus. As early as 1989, the first international congress of Circassian associations and parties of the diaspora and the Caucasus met in Maikop. At the May 1993 congress in Maykop, the flag with the twelve stars was adopted as the Circassian national flag and May 21, the date of the end of the Caucasus War (according to the calendar at that time ) in 1864, was declared the most important day of remembrance on which ceremonies and Demonstrations take place. In the following years the clubs organized themselves in the umbrella organization of the International Circassian Association (ICA). Every two years he holds an International Circassian Congress (ICC, Circassian called Adyge Chase , not to be equated with the party in Russia) in alternating cities in the Caucasus or the Diaspora, between the leadership of the clubs and parties, often with the participation of the Presidents of Adygeia and Kabardino-Balkaria and the Jordanian Prince Ali. Most of the topics discussed there are questions of cultural coordination, e.g. For example, the Circassian spelling in Cyrillic letters was introduced throughout the Diaspora, replacing the Latin and Arabic writing systems that were previously rarely used, which were also developed in the Soviet Union. Subsidiary associations of the ICA and ICC were formed to promote the literacy of the diaspora in Circassian. Other subsidiary associations organize remigration from the diaspora to the Caucasus. Returning to the Caucasus is a goal already sung about in the Istanbulako chants, but only a few thousand people are personally interested. Some only come to the West Caucasus to study. Several hundred have been naturalized, which also requires knowledge of Russian. Given the good integration and often assimilation in the diaspora, mass immigration is hardly to be expected. More concrete constraints arose during the Kosovo war , when Circassian villages were exposed to attacks by the Albanian nationalist UÇK because of the stereotype that they were pro-Yugoslavian , whereupon 42 families fled to Russia and were naturalized in Adygeja. In the course of the Syrian civil war , the processes were repeated: thousands of Syrians of Circassian origin are on the run and over 1000 have so far been taken into the Caucasus.

Circassian rally on May 21, 2011 in Taksim Square , Istanbul.

Some of the diaspora associations have political goals, but most of them are exclusively or mainly cultural associations. Their cultural and linguistic activities also depend on aid from the Caucasus, where there has been better cultural and linguistic support since the Soviet era. Some want the events of 1864 to be recognized as genocide, a right of return from the diaspora and a unified Circassian republic, perhaps also within Russia. You are thus nationalistic, but not extremely nationalistic. The fact that moderate politicians like the presidents of Adygeja, Kabardino-Balkaria or Ali of Jordan have influence in the networks of the associations also speaks against the suspicion of general radicalization. Extreme nationalists who dream of an independent Circassia in the old expansion are more likely to be active in the diaspora: partly because the realities in the Caucasus are less familiar or unwilling to accept them, partly because such efforts are not tolerated in Russia in an organized form. Apart from proclamations - for example, demonstrations in Istanbul sometimes call for Russia's withdrawal from the Caucasus - its real influence is difficult to determine. The positioning towards other Caucasian national movements is also unclear. Because the Diaspora Caucasians were used to cooperating, they initially faced the conflicts in the Caucasus without understanding, but in the long term the associations in the Diaspora diverged. Institutional overlaps sometimes still exist with the Abkhazian diaspora, although the Circassian associations make demands on Russia, while the Abkhaz ones tend in a different direction because of Russia's help for the separatist Abkhazia . The clubs often use the Internet to draw attention to themselves and their culture. The 2014 Winter Olympics , which came about on Putin's initiative and which should not be linked to political discussions on Circassian affairs, were used by Circassians to draw the world's attention with the “No Sochi!” Campaign. What is less well known is that a Circassian museum was built next to the Olympic Park, which was also received positively by representatives of the diaspora associations.


Overview representations

Overall presentations, manuals

  • Oliver Bullough: Let our fame be great. Journeys among the defiant people of the Caucasus. Allen Lane, London et al. a. 2010, ISBN 978-1-84614-141-6 , pp. 15-144: The Circassians.
  • Amjad Jaimoukha: The Circassians. A handbook. = Adygėchėr (= Peoples of the Caucasus. 6). Curzon, London 2001, ISBN 0-7007-0644-5 .
  • Charles King: The Ghost of Freedom. A History of the Caucasus. Oxford University Press, Oxford u. a. 2008, ISBN 978-0-19-517775-6 .
  • Kadir I. Natho: Circassian History. Xlibris, New York 2009, ISBN 978-1-4415-2389-1 .
  • Manfred Quiring: The Forgotten Genocide. Sochi and the Circassian tragedy. With a foreword by Cem Özdemir . Links, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86153-733-5 .
  • Walter Richmond: The Northwest Caucasus. Past, Present, Future (= Central Asian Studies Series. 12). Routledge, London a. a. 2008, ISBN 978-0-415-69321-9 .
  • Emanuel Sarkisyanz : History of the oriental peoples of Russia until 1917. A supplement to the East Slavic history of Russia. With a foreword by Berthold Spuler . Oldenbourg, Munich 1961, pp. 99-114.

Investigations on individual topics

  • Abdurahman Avtorkhanov, Marie Bennigsen Broxup (Ed.): The North Caucasus Barrier: the Russian advance towards the Muslim world. Hurst, London 1992, ISBN 1-85065-069-1 .
  • Austin Jersild: Orientalism and Empire. North Caucasus Mountain Peoples and the Georgian Frontier, 1845-1917. McGill-Queen's University Press, Montréal et al. a. 2003, ISBN 0-7735-2328-6 .
  • Jeronim Perović : The North Caucasus under Russian rule , Cologne 2015, ISBN 978-3412224820
  • Barbara Pietzonka: Ethnic-Territorial Conflicts in the Caucasus. A political-geographical systematization (= series of publications of the Federal Institute for Eastern and International Studies, Cologne. Vol. 26). Nomos, Baden-Baden 1995, ISBN 3-7890-3720-6 (also: Dresden, Technical University, dissertation, 1994).

Descriptions in the 19th century

  • James Stanislaus Bell: Diary of his stay in Cirkassien during the years 1837, 1838 and 1839. Dennig, Finck & Co., Pforzheim 1841, ( digitized ).
  • Theophil Lapinski: The mountain peoples of the Caucasus and their struggle for freedom against the Russians. 2 volumes. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1863, ( digitized volume 1 , digitized volume 2 ).
  • Karl Friedr. Neumann : Russia and the Circassians. Cotta, Stuttgart a. a. 1840, ( digitized version ).


  • Bagrat Šinkuba : In the sign of the crescent moon. Historical novel. From the Russian (translated by Hans-Joachim Lambrecht). Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1981, (Original title: Последний из ушедших. ). (Novel by a prominent historian and Caucasus scientist, especially on the fate of the Ubyches at the end of the Caucasus War).

Web links

Commons : Circassians  - Collection of images, videos and audio files



  1. Beatrice Manz: Čarkas in: Encyclopædia Iranica , 3rd paragraph, with further references.
  2. ^ Louis Loewe A Dictionary of the Circassian Language. London 1854, p. 5.
  3. This map of the Lingvarium project of Lomonosov University offers a better overview of the distribution of the Circassian, Ubychic, Abkhazian, Sads-Abkhazian and Abasin dialects in the middle of the 19th century (excluding eastern Kabardines).
  4. Exact overview: this map by the historian Artur Zuzijew (Russian). All shades of blue: Circassians and archaeologically similar abasins in the 16th century, medium and dark blue: suppressed distribution in the 17th – 18th centuries. Century, dark blue: areas still populated by Circassians and Abasins today, red: today's borders of Adygeja, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.
  5. ^ Andreas Kappeler : Russia as a multi-ethnic empire. Origin History Decay , CH Beck, Berlin, 1993, p. 153.
  6. Ülkü Bilgin: Azınlık hakları ve Türkiye . Kitap Yayınevi, Istanbul 2007; P. 85. (Turkish)
  7. Hans-Joachim Hoppe : The Circassians - an unknown people awakens ( Memento from October 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), Eurasisches Magazin, issue 10-11, October 2, 2011.
  8. ^ Results of the 2010 Russian Census , Excel table 7, line 330.
  9. Results of the 2010 Census of Russia , Excel table 7, line 491.
  10. ^ Results of the 2010 Census of Russia , Excel table 7, line 471.
  11. Results of the Census of Russia 2010 , Excel table 7, lines 464 (13,834 “Adygejer”) and line 470 (3839 “Schapsugen”).
  12. Excel table 5 , lines 29 (Adygejer); 79 (Kabardiner); 185 (Circassians) and 194 (Schapsugen).
  13. EI2 , Art. Čerkes , Vol. 2, p. 22; Georgij A. Klimov: Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, pp. 49-50
  14. ^ Georgij A. Klimov: Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, p. 49.
  15. ^ Georgij A. Klimov: Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, p. 47.
  16. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: A Brief Account of the Circassian Language (PDF) mentions this change of perspective in Kaukasiology towards the second interpretation at the beginning of the 2nd paragraph.
  17. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: A Brief Account of the Circassian Language (PDF) mentions on p. 5-6 the 2 East Cherkess and 4 West Cherkess tribal dialects still occurring in the Caucasus.
  18. WA Dimitriew: Die Westlichen Adygen: Socium and distribution from the 18th century - first half of the 19th century. (Russian). There is also the hypothesis that these smaller, aristocratic democratic tribes joined the larger ones after they had eliminated their nobility.
  19. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller : Between Constantinople and the Golden Horde: The Byzantine church provinces of the Alans and Zichen in the Mongolian sphere of influence in the 13th and 14th centuries. in: Jürgen Tubach (Ed.): Caucasus during the Mongol Period. Wiesbaden 2012, pp. 199-216.
  20. John Colarusso: The Woman of the Myths: The Satanaya Cycle. ( Memento of December 11, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF).
  21. Circassians . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 15, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885-1892, p. 883., 2nd page (884) above.
  22. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 112-120, based on several Russian and Circassian researchers. Or Amjad M. Jaimoukha Ancient Circassian Religion & Mythology. ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. with link to the Pantheon. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. Brief overview: Amjad M. Jaimoukha: The Nart Tales of the Circassians. ( Memento of the original from June 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. James Stanislaus Bell: Journal of a residence in Circassia during the years 1837, 1838, and 1839 Volume 1, p. 177 and Volume 2, pp. 110-145; Avtorkhanov, Broxup p. 68.
  25. After an initial period of religious reconsideration, 35% of the Kabardians, Adygejes and Circassians described themselves as followers of Islam in a 1999–2000 survey (for comparison: 83.3% of students in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala in 1998 ). The proportion should now be significantly higher. Particularly difficult to classify is “ Adyge Chabse ”, used by large (especially rural) sections of society as a catchphrase of Circassian identity . This can be used to express many things: from observance of (formerly) pagan customs to cults for pagan deities or Christian saints. See SB Filatow, RN Lunkin: Russian Religious Statistics: Magic of Data and Non-Correlating Reality. (Russian) in: Religionssoziologie 2005, p. 38. Filatow and Lunkin therefore call the Adyge Chabse “parareligious” (i.e. pre-religious / towards the religious / side-religious / counter-religious).
  26. Sarkisyanz, pp. 99-107; Wolfdieter Bihl : The Caucasus Policy of the Central Powers. Volume 1: Your basis in Orient politics and your actions 1914–1917 . Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1975, pp. 30–31.
  27. ^ Amjad Jaimoukha: Social Hierarchy in Eastern Circassia: The Kabardian Class System. (PDF) with several subgroups.
  28. Chantal Lemercier-Quelquejay: Cooptation of the Elites of Kabarda and Daghestan in the sixteenth century. in: Avtorkhanov; Bennigsen Broxup et al. a. (Ed.): The North Caucasus Barrier: the Russian advance towards the Muslim world. London 1992, pp. 25-26 (Kabardiner) and pp. 27-28 (Western Circassians and non-Cherkess abasins).
  29. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: The Social Structure of the Circassians. (PDF) p. 2, on the structure of the Westcherkessen with examples of the noble families of Hatkuaj and Macho and their “congresses”.
  30. Brief description of the Caucasus War by Kawkaski Usel .
  31. Presentation by Irfan Genel ; Main text of the chapter: Amjad M. Jaimoukha: Circassian Costums and Traditions. (PDF) 2009, the few information that cannot be read there have separate footnotes.
  32. Influences of Circassian groups are particularly evident in the style of clothing, s. Men's clothing from the North Caucasus 18th – first half of the 19th century (Russian) from Nauka (1989) seen, in the RT report min. 3:95 simply “The people of Kabarda have always been trendsetters in the Northern Caucasus. Nearly every piece of clothing that we usually call "caucasian" has been invented here. ", Also with etiquette and social order. In the case of forms of settlement, religion or dances, influences and special developments were more complex.
  33. Results of a sociological study by Maikop University (Russian) on compliance with the Chabse in Adygeja. The vast majority of Adygejes knew his rules and around 70%, especially the rural population, live by them. Simplifications occur in intra-family relationships and the complicated mourning rituals.
  34. ^ Amjad M. Jaimoukha: Circassian Costums and Traditions. (PDF) 2009, pp. 22–53. See this performance in an Eastern Cabardian variant . For some wedding songs and toasts (toasts and congratulations at the same time): Amjad Jaimoukha: Circassian Ceremonies and Festivals.
  35. Girls' corsets from the 18th to the second half of the 19th century (Russian) from Nauka 1989.
  36. Kaya ( Memento from April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  37. Richmond, pp. 26-28
  38. Amjad Jaimoukha: Circassian History (PDF) pp. 12-15.
  39. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: Circassian Greetings & Salutes. ( Memento of the original from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  40. On this and other traditions Kaya ( Memento from April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (below)
  41. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 90-94.
  42. Ayhan Kaya essay, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4 ( Memento of April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  43. Kadir I. Natho p. 102.
  44. ^ Entry in the album of the horse breeding of the USSR with breeding dates (Russian); Description (Russian), other recognized horse breeds from the mountainous regions of the Greater Caucasus are called "Abkhazes" (named after the Abkhazia region ), "Lesgine" (named after the southern Dagestani-North Azerbaijani border region of Lesgia ), "Pschawier" (named after the Georgian mountain region of Pschavia , south of Chewsureti ) and "Tushetier" (named after the Georgian mountain region Tusheti ). The “Karachay” breed (after the Karachay settlement area ) has also been officially recognized in Russia since 2016, but it is almost identical to the “Cabardian”. The breeding of horses on high mountain pastures is a peculiarity of the Caucasus, in most other mountains donkeys or mules have to be used. To view this report from at least 1:50 pm
  45. On cattle breeding, agriculture, hunting and fishing also in Genoese reports Kadir I. Natho pp. 102-103.
  46. ^ Georgij A. Klimov Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, p. 50; Amjad Jaimoukha: The Secret Language of the Hunters: One of the Twelve Secrets of the Caucasus. ( Memento of the original from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  47. ^ Amjad Jaimoukha Circassian Costumes and Accoutrements. (PDF).
  48. ^ Kadir I. Natho, p. 89.
  49. ^ Men's clothing from the North Caucasus, 18th to first half of the 19th century (Russian) from the magazine Nauka (= science) 1989.
  50. Men's headgear of the peoples of the Caucasus from the 18th to the first half of the 19th century (Russian) from Nauka 1989.
  51. The Russian name gazyr comes from the Turkic languages ​​of the Caucasus and means "ready", Turkish "hazır"
  52. Women's clothing from the 18th to 19th centuries Century (Russian) from Nauka 1989.
  53. Shoulder dresses of Northern Caucasus from the 18th to 19th centuries Century (Russian) from Nauka 1989.
  54. Circassian Dance by Amjad Jaimoukha with audio examples.
  55. E.g. this performance of the State Academic Dance Ensemble Kabardino-Balkariens "Kabardinka" , in which the high wooden sandals mentioned in the text can also be seen. It is one of the melodies that was danced in the presence of princes and is therefore also called pschi qafe .
  56. The Circassian Ministrels by Amjad Jaimoukha.
  57. See the texts of some Circassian war songs and some British songs that emerged from the popularity of the Circassian struggle at that time in Amjad Jaimoukha ( Memento of the original from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  58. Amjad Jaimoukha: The Circassian Nart-Epos .
  59. Amjad Jaimoukha: Traditional Circassian Songs ; Circassian Music and Musicology by Amjad Jaimoukha with audio samples.
  60. This video from the 1980s shows how jokes and humoursques are presented in the predominantly oral cultures of the Caucasus . The subject is typically Caucasian: how do you kidnap a girl? The text of the folk song Siy Paq (= my round nose) also shows that irony occurred .
  61. Music as a Medicine for Adyghs ( Memento from March 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) by Alla Sokolova at a conference of the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media . This excerpt from a Circassian feature film shows what that could have looked like . The rituals had to be performed around the clock at the bedside.
  62. Description at Circassianworld ( Memento from April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  63. Jaimoukha Circassian Cuisine. ( Memento of March 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) with recipes; To view: Al-Jazeera English Jordanian Cuisine from at least 13:30 .
  64. On trade: Kadir I. Natho p. 103. The main buyers for slaves in modern times were traders from the Crimea, the Ottoman Empire, Genoa and Venice.
  65. ^ Georgij A. Klimov: Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, pp. 15-23. (under evaluation of numerous authors)
  66. Chirikba: "Abkhazian Origins" in: George B. Hewitt: The Abkhazians: A Handbook. Richmond 1998, p. 23 ff. The claim there, without mentioning other views, that the speakers of the Northwest Caucasian languages ​​are the "indigenous people" from Anatolia to western Georgia has national backgrounds because they make the Abkhazians the oldest population in western Georgia, with older rights to the Land than the Georgians should do. Ardsinba, Chirikba and Lakoba are also politicians in the Abkhazian separatist government .
  67. ^ Victor Shnirelman: The Politics of a Name: Between Consolidation and Separation in the Northern Caucasus. (PDF; 784 kB) in: Acta Slavica Iaponica 23 (2006) pp. 37-73. Here p. 63 (with footnote 176).
  68. ^ Georgij A. Klimov Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, p. 83. According to the translation by Jost Gippert : “... can be made accessible as hereditary words, the distribution area of ​​the West Caucasian basic language can be localized with great probability; it is likely to have been largely identical to the present-day settlement area of ​​the West Caucasian tribes in the Caucasus on the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea, but not with the lowlands of the Colchis . ”(= West Georgia).
  69. See Kurgan Hypothesis and Anatolia Hypothesis
  70. The Indo-Europeanist and archaeologist JP Mallory formulates in his work In Search of the Indo-Europeans p. 233 the cultures in the West Caucasus are "precisely in regions which later demonstrate the presence of non-Indo-European populations."
  71. ^ Georgij A. Klimov Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, p. 87
  72. Roland Bielmeier: Language contacts north and south of the Caucasus in: Roland Bielmeier, Reinhard Stempel (ed.) Indogermanica et Caucasica: Festschrift for Karl Horst Schmidt on his 65th birthday Berlin, New York 1994, pp. 427–446, especially p. 429 .
  73. Article "Maykop Culture" in the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture by Mallory: "Such a theory, it must be emphasized, is highly speculative and controversial although there is a recognition that this culture may be a product of at least two traditions: the local steppe tradition embraced in the Novosvobodna culture and foreign elements from south of the Caucasus which can be charted through imports in both regions. "
  74. ^ So Kadir I. Natho pp. 28–58 or Jaimoukha.
  75. Introductory article in the Soviet Historical Encyclopedia (Russian).
  76. JP Mallory: Novotitorovka Culture. In: Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy 1997.
  77. MB Rysin: Cultural transformation and the culture of the dolmen builders in the Caucasus. (PDF) in: Old Caucasian Population in the Paleometallic Era. (Russian) St. Petersburg 1997, pp. 85–123.
  78. Brief description in the Soviet Historical Encyclopedia with older literature (Russian)
  79. Geographika XI 2.11 (English translation)
  80. The assignment of the Maioten is here mostly recognized. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia already describes the Mayots as Praetcher Kessian tribes. Finally also Boris Piotrowski : Меоты - предки адыгов. Maikop 1989 (= The Maioten - ancestors of the Circassians. ).
  81. Kadir I. Natho, p. 46; Amjad Jaimoukha A Brief History of Kabarda (PDF) pp. 11–17. The unjustified connection of the Kerketes with the later Kabardians is not made by any other author, and is not possible at the time.
  82. Geographika XI 2.14
  83. Kadir I. Natho pp. 46-78.
  84. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 69-75
  85. ^ Amjad Jaimoukha: Mediaeval Kabardian Alphabet. (PDF); he refers to P. Dobrev: inscriptions and alphabet of the Urbulgaren. Sofia 1995.
  86. Ibid, p. 6. (PDF).
  87. See the opening words of this declaration .
  88. Geographika XI 2.12 and the following paragraph
  89. ^ Kadir I. Natho p. 59
  90. On the series of Mongolian marches for the Circassians: Kadir I. Natho, pp. 89–95.
  91. Kadir I. Natho pp. 95-98
  92. See this card by Artur Zuzijew (Russian) . Light blue the expansion in the 16th century, the northern border corresponds to the trade route, medium blue settlement areas pushed back by the Crimean khanate in the 17th / 18th. Century, dark blue areas still inhabited by Circassians today.
  93. On these wars Kadir I. Natho pp. 133-137, described by Giacomo de Lucca, the Russian ambassador Tschelischew, the Ottoman Ibn-i Kemal and mostly Ottoman and Crimean Tatar reports and sources. The wars were z. Sometimes very bitter and accompanied by the hunt for slaves.
  94. On the various forms of Islamization Kadir I. Natho p. 123f. and 136-137.
  95. ^ Russian translation of the text in Galonifontibus, II. (Chapter 9), third to last paragraph (the Inal is not mentioned by name).
  96. Amjad Jaimoukha A Brief History of Kabarda (PDF) pp. 17-20.
  97. See p. 26 picture of the capital (PDF) from Adam Olearius' travel report .
  98. On the Polish families see Amjad Jaimoukha: Circassians in Poland: The Five Princes from the Five Mountains. ( Memento of the original from June 10, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  99. Chantal Lemercier-Quelquejay: Cooptation of the Elites of Kabarda and Daghestan in the sixteenth century. In: Abdurrahman Avtorkhanov, Marie Bennigsen Broxup (Ed.): The North Caucasus barrier: the Russian advance towards the Muslim world. London 1992, pp. 27-28
  100. ^ Walter Richmond: The Northwest Caucasus. Past, present, future. , P. 45
  101. Kadir I. Natho pp. 123-125
  102. Kadir I. Natho p. 88f.
  103. Chapter II of the article Čarkas in: Encyclopædia Iranica .
  104. EIR , see also Ottoman Janissaries
  105. Kadir I. Natho pp. 149-265
  106. Amjad Jaimoukha: The Social Structure of the Circassians. (PDF) p. 6 below.
  107. From the cover at Bell .
  108. ^ Richmond, Northwest Caucasus, chap. "The Beginnings of Russian Colonization."; for evidence of the general information, see Caucasus War article.
  109. Summary of the Caucasus War on the page kavkaz-uzel , chapter on the third phase, fourth phase and final phase.
  110. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 366-377, 393-395.
  111. Ulle Rannut: Maintenance of the Circassian Language in Jordan. Self-identification, attitudes, policies and practices as indicators of linguistic vitality. PhD, Amman 2011, p. 5.
  112. See this map by the historian Artur Zuzijew (Russian) . The colored areas are those in which members of the so-called "mountain peoples" were allowed to settle according to the determination of the land commissions from 1868–1905: 1–4 western Circassians, Abasins and Kubannogians, 5 Karachays and 6 Kabardians and Balkars. The hatched areas are settlement areas for Cossacks.
  113. Barbara Lehmann: Deutschlandradio: Black Sea terminus - Russia suppresses the Circassian genocide in Sochi (January 7, 2014)
  114. Report to Kawkaski Usel .
  115. Kadir I. Natho p. 389.
  116. ^ Kadir I. Natho, pp. 378-385.
  117. Batıray Özbek: Tales of the last Circassians on the blackbird field. Bonn 1986, introductory part.
  118. Ayhan Kaya ( memento of April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) mentions the old stereotype of thieves, which probably stems from the early days of the diaspora.
  119. According to the Berlin Treaty, Art. 15 / Para. 4 decided on a settlement ban.
  120. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 389-391.
  121. Amjad Jaimoukha: The Social Structure of the Circassians. (PDF) especially p. 1 and 8.
  122. Amjad Jaimoukha: The Social Structure of the Circassians. (PDF) p. 8.
  123. A frequent translation in the specialist literature is “foreigners” and “native ones”. It is derived from Russian narod "people". The core of the distinction was the assessment that the inarodzy were not loyal enough to serve in the Russian army . See: Andreas Kappeler, Gerhard Simon, Georg Brunner: The Muslims in the Soviet Union and in Yugoslavia. Cologne 1989, pp. 117-130.
  124. On the claimed territory of the mountain republic cf. this map by the historian Zuzijew (green) , light green with the areas of the predominantly Christian peoples involved - Ossetians, Abkhazians and Sunsha Cossacks. The territory of the West Tscherkessen on the Kuban was no longer claimed.
  125. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 410-412.
  126. Gerhard Simon: Nationalism and Nationality Policy in the Soviet Union. From dictatorship to post-Stalinist society. Baden-Baden 1986, pp. 34-82. The opposition between Lenin and Stalin did not exist in the whole of ideology and politics. The dispute over leadership styles resulted from a dispute over national politics, about which both had different ideas. Lenin once characterized Stalin, although he was Georgian, as the "Great Russian Derschimorda" (= "shut up").
  127. See number 3 on this map of Zuziev (not number 5, the Armenian National Rayon, on the other side of the Western Caucasus).
  128. See this map of Zuziyev's (Russian) on the ethnic distribution 1886–90 . The northern field on the upper Kuban, labeled 4 (for Beslenejer-Circassians) and 44 (for Nogais), belongs neither to Karachay-Cherkessia nor to Adygeja.
  129. Cf. between the ethnic map of Karachay-Cherkessia 1926 (blue: Russian or Ukrainian, red: Circassian or Kabardian majority, yellow: Abasin majority), with the 2002 map (the northeast is now green for Karachay majority). This enlargement of the Karachay settlement area probably had no national political background. Rather, the typical for the Caucasus lifestyle of semi-nomadic relocation to winter pastures was fought parallel to collectivization as backward and they had to decide whether they want to settle in the mountains or in winter areas, were sometimes also settled. As a result, the areas in which the Karachay people used to be only winter guests now have Karachay majority populations.
  130. How they did this is described by the (anti-communist) writer Essad Bey in The Twelve Secrets in the Caucasus. Pp. 88–89 using the example of the Ingush. Because the elders asked those involved to end the vendetta, it was at least as dishonorable for them to disregard the wishes as to cease the feud.
  131. Gerhard Simon: Nationalism and Nationality Policy in the Soviet Union. From dictatorship to post-Stalinist society. Pp. 41-64.
  132. ^ Georgij A. Klimov Introduction to Caucasian Linguistics. Hamburg 1994, pp. 50-57.
  133. Gerhard Simon pp. 153-194.
  134. The Circassian literature began in the 19th century with the collectors of historical folk tales and Narten epics by Shora Nogmow and Sultan Khan-Girej, who still wrote in Russian, but in Circassian since Soviet times. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: Circassian Literature . Subsequent to literature, a Circassian theater was formed .
  135. S. this card from Artur Zuzijew (Russian) deported to the territories peoples, yellow: Karachai and Balkars. All Russian-Germans and Greeks, Turkish and Iranian groups were also deported from areas near the border, but not as a punishment, but "prophylactically".
  136. On the borders during the time of the deportations, cf. this map by Zuzijew (Russian), the dissolved ASSRs and AOs outlined in blue.
  137. The North Caucasian Diaspora In Turkey UNHCR report ( Memento of January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), chap. 2.1, second paragraph.
  138. deals especially with this mechanism in diaspora societies in the chapter Diaspora Revisited . The North Caucasian Diaspora In Turkey The UNHCR report ( Memento from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) mentions in the last paragraph of chapter 2.5, for example, that the Abkhaz diaspora learned in the 1980s that most of the Abkhazians in the Caucasus are Christians, what they had forgotten, such as the fact that the Abkhaz nobility pragmatically converted between religions well into the 19th century, and furthermore, many Soviet Northwest Caucasians are not religious.
  139. The North Caucasian Diaspora In Turkey UNHCR report ( Memento of January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), chap. 4.1, second paragraph.
  140. Ayhan Kaya ( Memento of April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) in the chapter “Stereotypes, Prejudices and Ethnic Relations”, fourth paragraph.
  141. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 434-473; : Circassian Diaspora in Turkey: Stereotypes, Prejudices and Ethnic Relations .; UNHCR : The North Caucasian Diaspora In Turkey ( January 19, 2012 memento in the Internet Archive )
  142. According to the UNHCR report at the beginning of the 1990s, Caucasian associations stated the degree of urbanization among Caucasians at 69%, which is roughly the same as the average for Turkey, which today (2015) is almost 75%.
  143. Kadir I. Natho pp. 505-517
  144. Columbia University Ethnic Map
  145. That this is TE Lawrence is shown by the lettering on this colored photo taken on the same occasion .
  146. Kadir I. Natho, pp. 474-505; Amjad M. Jaimoukha: Circassians in Jordan. ( Memento of the original from May 30, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  147. Ulle Rannut: Maintenance of the Circassian Language in Jordan. Self-identification, attitudes, policies and practices as indicators of linguistic vitality , PhD, Amman 2011, p. 5 f.
  148. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: Circassians in Jerash. ( Memento of the original from May 30, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  149. Ulle Rannut: Maintenance of the Circassian Language in Jordan. Self-identification, attitudes, policies and practices as indicators of linguistic vitality , PhD, Amman 2011, p. 9.
  150. ^ The electoral law of 1928 gave the Circassians one seat per 5000 inhabitants, while the remaining population got one seat in parliament for every 27,000 inhabitants. Today, the two seats in parliament can only be represented if the Circassian share is 100,000.
  151. Ulle Rannut: Maintenance of the Circassian Language in Jordan. Self-identification, attitudes, policies and practices as indicators of linguistic vitality , PhD, Amman 2011 ( online PDF).
  152. ^ First sentences from Ayhan Kaya ( Memento from April 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ).
  153. Columbia University Ethnic Map
  154. ^ Report of the Turkish Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) ( Memento of April 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (English). Here the Turkish linguistic habit of designating all North Caucasians as Circassians is adopted into English, whereas the actual Circassians are referred to as Adygen (in the Arabic heading, however, with the same word).
  155. Kadir I. Natho pp. 517-518
  156. Batıray Özbek: Tales of the last Circassians on the blackbird field. Bonn 1986. The villages are mentioned in the introductory part.
  157. Marieta Kumpilova: Twice a Minority. Kosovo Circassians in the Russian Federation. in: Ivar Biliarsky, Ovidiu Cristea, Anca Oraveanu: The Balkans and the Caucasus: Parallel Processes on th Opposite Sides of th Black Sea. Cambridge 2012, pp. 155–169, here p. 161
  158. ^ Kadir I. Natho p. 518
  159. Quoted by Uwe Halbach in the article in the FAZ about the Circassian national movement on the occasion of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
  160. See this map by the historian Artur Zuzijew (Russian) All areas in the Caucasus marked with number-letter combinations are self-declared republics or areas disputed between them, the disputed areas are hatched. Large parts of the Caucasus were affected and endangered by conflict.
  161. ^ Victor Shnirelman: The Politics of a Name: Between Consolidation and Separation in the Northern Caucasus. (PDF; 784 kB) in: Acta Slavica Iaponica 23 (2006) pp. 37-73, on this pp. 62-66; Article about Sochi and the North Caucasus by Uwe Halbach in Russia-Analyzes 268 (December 6, 2013) (PDF) pp. 5–8, here p. 7.
  162. ^ Announcement on the results of a Circassian youth congress in September 2009 in Cherkessk by the Eurasia expert Paul Goble.
  163. Again the map of the historian Zuzijew (Russian): The areas demanded by Circassian parties are purple (1b, 2b and 3a), the hatched areas are all that were disputed with neighboring ethnic groups. Light blue (1a) the required Schapsugian autonomy, for which no connection to the Circassian Republic was required.
  164. Brief interview with the chairman for Karachay-Cherkessia at Kawkaski Usel on January 22, 2010.
  165. Amjad M. Jaimoukha: A Brief History of Kabarda (PDF) pp. 27–28, the incidents with Balkar nationalists in footnote 24.
  166. ^ Message from Kawkaski Usel on September 19, 2018.
  167. Annual review 2018 by Kawkaski Usel , see chapter under the third heading.
  168. In the original letter from Adolph Theodor Kupffer , in the “Morgenblatt für die gebilden Stände”, No. 277, November 19, 1829 , he is referred to as “a Circassian, named Krillar” at the end of p typical, also the "Caratchai" are called "a Circassian people".
  169. Report with mention of the last two examples . The author Fatima Tlis (owa) is a leading functionary of Circassian associations.
  170. Report to Kawkaski Usel , the author Bella Ksalova was shot herself shortly afterwards: report .
  171. ^ Map of Zuzijew with the Russian (red) and Ukrainian (blue) population proportions in 1926 . The Russian is larger today due to further immigration. In addition, the Kuban Cossacks, who z. Some of them demanded the union with the Ukrainian VR during the Russian civil war , counted as Russians since the Stalin era.
  172. Dittmar Schorkowitz, Vasile Dumbrava, Stefan Wiese: post-communism and nationalism prescribed. Leipzig, Frankfurt / Main 2008, pp. 79–90, previously emphasized by Otto Luchterhandt . Sa message from October 2, 2006 to Kawkaski Usel.
  173. Olga Wassiljewa: Conflicts in the North Caucasus: Causes, Perspectives. Mannheim 1995, especially pp. 12-13.
  174. ^ Report of the MAR (Minority at Risk) database of the University of Maryland ( Memento of December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) 2006, strongly influenced by the state crisis and the subsequent increase in violence with Islamists, which has ended here today.
  175. Map with population majorities and Rajonen 2002 red: Circassians, yellow: Abasins, light green: Karachay, dark green: Nogai, blue: Russians (with Cossacks); the Circassians dominate in the northern Rajon (from which the east has now been separated as the Nogai Rajon) and in the southern Chabeski Rajon.
  176. Olga Wassiljewa: Conflicts in the North Caucasus: Causes, Perspectives. Mannheim 1995, pp. 1-12 .; Alexey Gunya: Regional Diversity and Transformation of Conflicts in the North Caucasus. A comparative analysis of the Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia republics. (PDF).
  177. Kawkaski Usel has been keeping statistics of the dead and wounded in the conflict with the underground since 2010 ( memento of the original from January 12, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  178. Report in the Wirtschaftsblatt ( memento from September 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) from July 22, 2014.
  179. Cameron Ross: Russian Regional Politics Under Putin and Medvedev. New York 2012, pp. 55-67. For everyday restrictions see penultimate footnote.
  180. ^ Ayhan Kaya: Political Participation Strategies of the Circassian Diaspora in Turkey. ( Memento from May 31, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), UNHCR report from 1996, short version by Uwe Halbach at ETH Zurich . There is a lot of literature on the clubs and their processes of change in recent years.
  181. Kadir I. Natho pp. 558-564.
  182. ^ Message according to the opinion of the Jamestown Foundation .
  183. ^ News from August 2, 1998 on BBC news .
  184. One of the many messages at Kawkaski Usel, in the Adygejas news , on Deutschlandfunk.
  185. There was harassment against activists in this campaign, cf. Halbach articles or reports from Kawkaski Usel.
  186. Report to Kawkaski Usel.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on December 21, 2015 .