Cherkess

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Cherkess

 

the Adyg population of Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, including the descendants of the Kabardins who settled in the Kuban’ in the first third of the 19th century. According to the 1979 census the Cherkess number 46,500; they speak Kabarda-Cherkess, which belongs to the Abkhazo-Adyg group of the Caucasian languages.

As a general designation for Adygs, the term “Cherkess” appeared in written sources in the 13th century and was used in Russian texts until the first years of Soviet power. Inhabitants of mountainous regions of the Caucasus—including Adygs, Abkhazians, and Ossets—settled in Turkey in the 19th century. The descendants of these settlers also call themselves Cherkess, or Circassians; today they live in such Middle Eastern countries as Turkey and Syria and number approximately 150,000. In foreign sources the ethnonym “Circassians” is still used to refer to all Adygs.

REFERENCES

Ocherki istorii Karachaevo-Cherkesii, vol. 1. [Stavropol’] 1967.
Narody Kavkaza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.