26 Facts About Circassians


Circassians are an indigenous Northwest Caucasian ethnic group and nation native to the historical country-region of Circassia in the North Caucasus.

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Accordingly, Circassians have been designated as the following: Adygeans in Adygea, Kabardians in Kabardino-Balkaria, Cherkess in Karachay-Cherkessia and Shapsug in Krasnodar Krai, although all four are essentially the same people.

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Turkish nationalist groups and proponents of modern-day Pan-Turkism have claimed that the Circassians are of Turkic origin, but no scientific evidence has been published to support this claim and it has been strongly denied by ethnic Circassians, impartial research, linguists and historians around the world.

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Circassians established many states, but could not achieve political unity.

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The Circassians, who lost most of their lands during the ensuing Golden Horde attacks, had to retreat to the back of the Kuban River.

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In 1395 Circassians fought violent wars against Tamerlane, and although the Circassians won the wars, Tamerlane plundered Circassia.

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Prince Inal, who during the 1400s owned land in the Taman peninsula, established an army declared that his goal was to unite the Circassians, who were divided into many states at that time, under a single state, and after declaring his own princedom, conquered all of Circassia one by one.

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In 1708, Circassians paid tribute to the Ottoman sultan in order to prevent Tatar raids, but the sultan did not fulfill the obligation and the Tatars raided all the way to the center of Circassia, robbing everything they could.

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The Ottomans expected an easy victory against the Kabardinians, but the Circassians won because of the strategy set up by Kazaniko Jabagh during the battle of Kanzhal.

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Circassians responded by creating a tribal federation encompassing all tribes of the area.

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Proposal to deport the Circassians was ratified by the Russian government, and a flood of refugee movements began as Russian troops advanced in their final campaign.

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Circassians prepared to resist and hold their last stand against Russian military advances and troops.

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The process of expulsion had already begun even before the end of the Russo-Circassian war; the first Circassians had begun to arrive in small numbers as early as 1859, mainly consisting of wealthier aristocrats.

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The exiled Circassians were resettled in the Empire's remaining Balkan territories, in Ottoman Syria and Transjordan, and Anatolia, while a smaller number were resettled into the Empire's major cities.

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Circassians mainly speak the Circassian languages, two mutually intelligible languages of the Northwest Caucasian language family, namely Adyghe and Kabardian .

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Circassians speak Russian, Turkish, English, Arabic, and Hebrew in large numbers, having been exiled by Russia to lands of the Ottoman Empire, where the majority of them live today, and some to neighboring Persia, to which they came primarily through mass deportations by the Safavids and Qajars or, to a lesser extent, as muhajirs in the 19th century.

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Today, a large majority of Circassians are Muslim, with minorities of Habze, atheists and Christians.

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Atheist Circassians tend to be of the younger generation, in which they were found to constitute a quarter of Circassians in Kabardino-Balkaria.

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Some Circassians are Orthodox Christian, notably including those in Mozdok and some of those Kursky district.

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The seemingly disorganized Circassians resisted the Russians just as effectively as the organized theocracy of Imam Shamil.

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Circassians are regarded by historians to play a key role in the history of Turkey.

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Cypriot Circassians had joined the Turkish Cypriot Community and some of them the Greek Cypriot Community.

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Circassians have lobbied the Russian and Israeli governments to help evacuate refugees from Syria; Russia has issued some visas.

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Between 1878 and 1904, Circassians founded five villages: Amman, Wadi al-Sir, Jerash, Na'ur, and al-Rusayfa .

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Circassians have played major roles in different periods throughout Iraq's history, and made great contributions to political and military institutions in the country, to the Iraqi Army in particular.

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However, significant communities of Circassians continue to live in particular cities in Iran, like Tabriz and Tehran, and in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran.

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