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(self-designation, Qumuq; plural, Qumuqlar), a people living primarily in the plains and partially in the foothill regions of the Dagestan ASSR. Their population in the USSR is 189,000, of which 169,000 are in the Dagestan ASSR (1970 census). Their language belongs to the Kipchak group of Turkic languages. The believers among the Kumyks are Muslims.
The ethnic origins of the Kumyks are in ancient tribes—the native peoples of northeastern Dagestan and the Turkic-speaking tribes who arrived later, particularly the Kipchaks, whose language was adopted by the aborigines. The Kumyks are similar to other mountain peoples of Dagestan in their anthropological features and the main features of their culture and way of life. The most significant feudal formation of the Kumyks was the Tarkov Shamkalate in the 17th and 18th centuries. The people’s way of life was changed radically by the socialist reconstruction of the economy during the Soviet period and by the cultural revolution. National literature, art, theater, music, and folklore developed, and an intelligentsia emerged.
REFERENCESGadzhieva, S. Sh. Kumyki: Istoriko-etnografich. issledovanie. Moscow, 1961.
Narody Kavkaza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.
Sovremennaia kul’tura i byt narodov Dagestana. Moscow, 1971.