(self-designation, Adyge), a people living mainly in the northern and northeastern parts of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. Small numbers of Kabardins live in several countries of the Near East. Their total population in the USSR is 280, 000 (1970 census). Their language (Kabarda-Cherkess) belongs to the Abkhaz-Adyg group of the Ibero-Caucasian languages. Religious Kabardins are Muslims (Christianity and remnants of pagan beliefs existed among the Kabardins until the 18th century). The Kabardins and other Adyg peoples have a common ethno-genesis.
The formation of the Kabardins as a separate people dates to the 12th to 14th centuries and was associated with their movement from the west into the territory of their present homeland and with the development of feudal relations among them. The ancient ties between the Adygs, including the Kabardins, and the Russians resulted in the incorporation of the Kabardins into Russia in 1557. The chief occupations of the Kabardins before the October Revolution were farming, livestock breeding, and handicrafts (woodworking, gunmaking, forging, saddle-making, weaving, felt- and jewelry-making, and gold embroidery).
During the years of Soviet power the backward farming of the Kabardins was transformed into large-scale, diversified, highly mechanized kolkhoz and sovkhoz production. Machine building, metallurgy, mining, electrical engineering, and the food industry were created in the republic. Great achievements were made in culture, science, literature and art; a national intelligentsia emerged.
REFERENCESNarody Kavkaza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960. (Bibliography.)
Istoriia Kabardino-Balkarskoi ASSR, vol. 1–2. Moscow, 1967.