Karachais(redirected from Karachays)
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(self-designation, Karachaily), a people related to the Balkars living in the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast. Population, 113, 000 (1970 census).
The Karachais speak Karachai-Balkar. The nationality was formed in the 13th and 14th centuries from local mountain tribes, who had lived there since the Bronze Age, and also from Alani, Bulgars, and Kipchaks. Their traditions may be traced in Karachai culture right up to the 20th century. The basic occupation in the past was migratory animal husbandry; settled farming and trades were secondary. Feudal and patriarchal social ties were preserved among the Karachais until the middle of the 19th century. The inclusion of the Karachais in the general economy of Russia in the 19th century facilitated the development of capitalist relations. The October Revolution freed the Karachais from social and national oppression.
The Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast was formed in January 1922. Under Soviet power, large-scale mechanized agriculture was created, various branches of industry have developed, and a national working class and intelligentsia were formed. A written language was created, and a national literature developed. Violations of socialist legality led in late 1943 and early 1944 to the resettlement of Karachais in various districts of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan. A decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated Jan. 9, 1957, restored the national autonomy of the Karachai people and created the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, and almost all the Karachais returned to their native area.
REFERENCESOcherki istorii Karachaevo-Cherkesii vol. 1. Stavropol’, 1967.
Alekseeva, E. P. Karachaevtsy i balkartsy—drevnii narod Kavkaza. Cherkessk, 1963.
Narody Kavkaza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.
Zasedaniia Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR chetvertogo sozyva: Shestaia sessiia (5–12 fevralia 1957): Stenograficheskii otchet. Moscow, 1957. Pages 577–78, 743–44.
E. N. STUDENETSKAIA