a princely family that originated in Russia during the second half of the 16th century. The first Cherkasskiis were primarily rulers of Kabarda who were descendants of Idar Murza and who had gone into Russian service. The name “Cherkasskii” derives from the Russian word cherkasy, which means Circassians; the Northern Caucasian Adyg tribes were often referred to in medieval literature as Circassians.
In Russia the Cherkasskii family belonged to the upper stratum of the ruling class. A list of the most famous members of the family from the 16th through the 19th century follows.
Mikhail (Saltankul) Temriukovich Cherkasskii, a son of the Kabardinian prince Temriuk Idarovich, moved to Russia in 1558 and became an appanage service prince and a prominent oprichnik (seeOPRICHNINA). He died, or was executed, in 1571. His sister Mariia (Kuchenei) Temriukovna Cherkasskaia was the second wife of Tsar Ivan IV.
Prince Dmitrii (Kanshov) Mamstriukovich Cherkasskii (died 1651) entered Russian service in the late 16th century and was close to the Second False Dmitrii from 1608 to 1610. He was a member of the zemskii sobor (national assembly) of 1613 and became a boyar in 1619. With his death the line of Temriuk came to an end.
Boris (Khoroshai) Kambulatovich Cherkasskii (died 1601) was a nephew of Temriuk’s. He entered Russian service in 1557 and held high military posts during the 1580’s and early 1590’s. He became a boyar in 1591.
Boris’ son Prince Ivan Borisovich Cherkasskii became a boyar in 1613. After the death of Filaret in 1633, he was the de facto head of the Russian government.
In the mid-17th century Iakov (Uruskan) Kudenetovich Cherkasskii was the most prominent member of Boris’ branch of the family. With the death of Aleksei Mikhailovich Cherkasskii in 1742, this branch of the family came to an end.
Prince Grigorii (Sunchalei) Sunchaleevich Cherkasskii went to Moscow in 1642 and became a boyar in 1657. He served as voevoda (military governor) in Astrakhan from 1660 to 1663 and was murdered on his patrimonial estate in 1672.
Grigorii’s grandson Mikhail Alegukovich Cherkasskii (died first quarter of the 18th century) became a boyar in 1677 and occupied a prominent position under Peter I.
Mikhail’s grandson Petr Borisovich Cherkasskii (died 1768) was governor of Moscow during the reign of the empress Elizabeth.
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Cherkasskii (1824–78) was a descendant of Mikhail Alegukovich.
There were also branches of the Cherkasskii family that did not stem from descendants of Idar. Prince Vasilii (Kazyi) Kardanukovich Cherkasskii, who moved to Russia in the late 1570’s and became an appanage service prince, was from a family of Abaza murzas. The Agamashukov-Cherkasskii family, which existed from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century, was descended from Beslenei princes. The Egupov-Cherkasskii family existed from the early 17th century to the mid-19th century. Other families included the Bekovich-Cherkasskii family, which was founded at the end of the 17th century by Aleksandr Bekovich-Cherkasskii.
V. D. NAZAROV