Home >> Cyclopedia Of India, Volume 2 >> Circassia to Hindustan >> Circassia_P1


cherkess, caucasus, tribe, miles, minor and races

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

CIRCASSIA is the Cherkess of Asiatics. It is a mountainous _country in the S.E. corner of Europe, on the northern face of the Caucasus, lying between lat. 50' to 45° 20' N., and long. to 47° 20' E., about 550 miles long and 75 miles broad ; area, 40,000 square miles. The highest summits for nine months are covered with snow. In a small tract not less than seventy two dialects are spoken. The Cherkess and the Che Chen are the two great tribes. They I take the common name of Adighe ; but the Cherkess include amongst them the Kabard, Abkhas, Uiche, and other clans, and number 400,000 to 500,000 souls. The Che Chen number 150,000 souls. Their religion is a mixture of Christianity, •Muhammadanism, and paganism. They reverence Merem, a benevolent deity, and Tschible, the spirit of thunder. There are three social classes,—Usdi or nobles, Tschfokot or freemen, and Pschilt or slaves,—and these are hereditary, like the castes of India. On occasions when their forts or villages have been surrounded, they have destroyed their women and children, set fire to their dwellings, and perished in the flames rather than surrender.

Their young women are famed for their beauty, and are sought for in the neighbouring kingdoms. They are brought up in simple and domestic habits by their mothers, are taught the use of the needle in decorative works, and to make their own clothe's, and those of the men of their family, and are otherwise very carefully reared. They are sold to the bridegroom and to traders.

The Cherkess or Circassians were typical repre sentations of the West Caucasian races. They were the most powerful and warlike of all the ' western nations. Since their final reduction in 1864 by Russia, most of their lands on the left bank of the Kuban have been occupied by their conquerors, the great bulk of the Cher- f kess having withdrawn into Turkish territory, and dispersed over Armenia, Asia Minor, Syria, and the Balkan peninsula. Similarly, 20,000 • Abkhasians emigrated to Turkey at the close of • the last Russian war, and both races have become predatory. Cherkess are to be found in Asia

Minor along with Lazi, where also are the Yuruk, a nomade Turk race occupying the uplands between Erzerum and the plains of North Syria. I Kazzilbash also are there, and are scattered over Anatolia, Persia, and eastwards to Kabul. They call themselves Eski-Turk or old Turks. The fertile plains of Raz Ova and Ard Ova near Tokat, and the villages between Angora and Amasia, and between Kara Hissar and Tokat, are the Kazzilbash headquarters. They profess Islam, but avoid all inquiry into their doctrines. The Circassians and Abkhasians have never found a suitable home in Asia Minor, and are a serious disturbing element, being indolent and predatory. The Cherkess and Abkhasians of West Caucasus are Sunni Muhammadans ; the Kabard are Chris tians; and these three races number 138,000.

Georgians have a tall, slender figure, a noble bearing, regular features, aquiline nose, finely formed mouth, dark complexion, black eyes and hair.

Arbiches, a daring, brave tribe in the mountains on the E. coast of the Black Sea.

Abasia, a trans- Caucasian province, in the government of Immeretia, Russia. The Abases are of the Caucasian race, rude, and are predatejry Khersnri, a half-savage predatory tribe ne e crest of the Caucasus. They are surrounded I .y the Ghondmakar, Kist, lloglinsser, and Didyen. Kistes, a bravo pagan Caucasus tribe, a branch f the Lesglii, and bordering on the military road on ruin Tiflis to Mozdok. They are governed by • lected elders.

Koaak int, a powerful tribe of the Caucasus, of 0,000 families, who can bring above 4000 ex .ellent cavalry into action.

• Lazi, a bravo race occupying the head of the 'rent range of Taurus district of the province of ' Trebizond) Tarabazun, to the east along the hires of the Blaok Sea, in the neighbourhood of Batotim. At the census they numbered 18,000 nen. During the Russo-Turkish war of 1828-29, hey brought 12,000 fighting men into the field.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6