(native name, Adyge), a people living primarily in the Adygei Autonomous Oblast, Krasnodar Krai, RSFSR, population about 80,000 people (1959 census). They speak Adygei.
The ancestors of the Adygeians, as of other Adyg peoples, were the indigenous population of the northwestern Caucasus, although alien elements (Scythians, Sarmatians, Alani, and others) played a role in their ethnogeny. During the 13th—14th centuries some of the Adygs migrated to the Terek River basin (Kabardinians); most, however, remained on the Black Sea coast and in the Trans-Kuban region. This western group of Adyg tribes, known as the Circassians, were the direct ancestors of the present Adygeians; it came to include, in the late 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, the Shapsug, Abadzekh, Natkhuadzh, Temirgoi, Bzhedukh, Beslen, and other smaller tribes. Vestiges of the tribal division have been preserved in dialects of the Adygei language.
The main occupations of the Adygeians were agriculture and stock raising. From the 18th century the predominant religion was the Sunnite sect of Islam. The Great October Socialist Revolution brought fundamental changes to the economy, culture, and lives of the Adygeians. On July 27, 1922, the Adygei Autonomous Oblast was created. In the course of socialist construction, agriculture was collectivized, industry developed, and a native intelligentsia was created by the Adygeian people.
REFERENCESOcherki istorii Adygei, vol. 1. Maikop, 1957.
Liul’e, L. Ia. Cherkesiia: Istoriko-etnograficheskie stat’i. Krasnodar, 1927.
Oktiabrem ozarennaia: Adygeia za 50 let. Maikop, 1967.
B. A. GARDANOV