Free Societies of Dagestan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Free Societies of Dagestan

 

a term introduced by Russian historians and ethnographers to designate the alliances of the semipatriarchal and semifeudal rural peoples in Dagestan (Avars, Darghin, and Lezghians) that preserved their independence from neighboring feudal lords (khans). Among the largest of these free societies were the Salatau, Gumbet, Andiia, and Dargo. The chief occupation of the population was cattle raising and, in the valleys, farming and orchard growing. The free societies of Dagestan were in the process of developing feudal relationships. Thedzhaamat (a public gathering) took a leading role in the economic and political life of the societies. The free societies of Dagestan made up the main body of the imamate during the Caucasian War between the 1830’s and 1850’s. The free societies of Dagestan were abolished after the suppression of the Shamil’ movement in the 1860’s.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.