"Circassians" is a term derived from the Turkic "Cherkess" ("Çerkes"), and is not the self-designation of any people. It has sometimes been applied indiscriminately to all the peoples of the North Caucasus. Most specifically, the term can apply only to the Adyghe people. Today a significant number of "Circassians" live in diaspora, primarily due to the "Muhajirism", an exodus of Muslim population from Caucasus since 1863 after the Caucasian War.

More commonly it has referred to all the peoples of the northwest Caucasus:
*Adyghe ("Circassians" in the narrowest sense),
*Adyghe ("Circassians" in broader sense, inhabitants of Circassia, including Cherkes, Shapsugs and Kabardin),
*Plus Abkhaz, Abazins and Ubykh (linguistically vanished) ("Circassians" in the broadest sense).

The term's vagueness stems largely from the fact that the northern Caucasus was a remote and relatively unknown area for Westerners and Turks, who often did not distinguish carefully among similar groups living there.

Circassian diaspora

From 1763 to 1864 the Circassians fought against the Russians in the Russian-Circassian War only succumbing to a scorched earth campaign initiated in 1862 under General Yevdokimov. [Allen, W.E.D. and Muratoff, Paul (1953) "Caucasian Battlefields: History of the Wars on the Turco-Caucasian Border 1828-1921" Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 107-8 [ OCLC 1102813] ] [Mufti, Shawkat (1972) "Heroes and emperors in Circassian history" Librairie du Liban, Beirut, [ OCLC 628135] ] Afterwards, large numbers of Circassians were exiled and deported to the Ottoman Empire, others were resettled in Russia far from their home territories. [Brooks, Willis (I995) "Russia’s conquest and pacification of the Caucasus: relocation becomes a pogrom on the post-Crimean period" "Nationalities Papers" 23(4): pp. 675-86] [ Shenfield, Stephen D. (1999) "The Circassians - A Forgotten Genocide?"] in Levene, Mark and Roberts, Penny (eds.) (1999) "The Massacre in History" Berghahn Books, New York, ISBN 1571819347]

Middle East

during the French mandate period with Colonel Philibert Collet, commander of the Circassian Cavalry.] Circassians began arriving in the Levant in the 1860s and 1870s through resettlement by the Ottoman Empire.Fact|date=August 2008|please provide sources on the Ottoman resettlement| () 00:04, 11 August 2008 (UTC) Even today, various communities of Caucasian origin living in the Middle East, notably Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, and Syria, are known as Circassians, and a suburb of Damascus settled by these people is called Al-charkassiyya. Modern Amman was reborn after Circassians settled there in 1878 or 1887 along with other important Jordanian towns, and the first wave of Circassian settled Amman was from the Shapsug-Shapsigh tribe,cite web |url=|title= Official Website of Amman|accessdate=2008-10-01 |date= 2008 and as a result the first four Mayors of Amman were Circassians from 1905-1920,cite web |url=|title= Official Website of Amman|accessdate=2008-10-01 |date= 2008 before the establishment of Transjordan by the Hashemite Emir Abdullah, and the Circassians were a big supporter for the Emir, hand by hand with the Jordanian Beduin Tribes. During the French Mandate period in Syria, in the 1930s, some Circassians in the mostly Circassian town of Al-Quneitra tried to convince the French authorities to create a Circassian national home for them in the Golan Heights, but failed in their attempt. The objective was to group the large numbers of Circassians already living in Turkey and in various Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

In Israel, there are also a few thousand Circassians, living mostly in Kfar Kama (2,000) and Rehaniya (1,000). [cite web |url= |title=Circassians in Israel |work=Circassian World] These two villages were a part of a greater group of Circassian villages around the Golan Heights. The Circassians in Israel enjoy, like Druzes, a "status aparte". Circassian men are mandated for military service, while women are not.

Eastern Europe

Around 1600, several emigrants from the Caucasus region, of somewhat privileged descent, settled in the then Principality of Moldavia, and became under the name "Cerchez" (pronounced [Cherkez] in Romanian) one of its 72 boyar families. In time they were assimilated into the general population. However one of the last descendants of this family, Mihail Christodulo Cerchez, was a Romanian national hero in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 (Osman Paşa, the Turkish commander of the Pleven garrison, who was an Adyge himself, surrendered his sword to him at the end of the siege). One of the main halls of the Cotroceni palace in Bucharest is named "Sala Cerchez" ("Cerchez Hall") in memory of General Cerchez.

A small minority of Circassians had lived in Kosovo Polje since the late 1880s, which was given mention by Noel Malcolm in his seminal work about that province, but they were repatriated to the Republic of Adygea in southern Russia in the late 1990s. [ [ BBC News | Europe | Circassians flee Kosovo conflict ] ]

Notable Circassians

* Maria Temrjukovna - Wife of Ivan the Terrible
* Inal
* Kyzbech Tuguzhoko
* Yuri Kalmykov
* Yuri Temirkanov
* Sinemis Candemir - actress
* Yasar Dogu - wrestler, 1948 Olympic Gold medalist
* Gazanfer Bilge - wrestler, 1948 Olympic Gold medalist
* Hamit Kaplan - wrestler, 1956 Olympic Gold medalist
* Mahmut Atalay - wrestler, 1968 Olympic Gold medalist
* Yusuf Izzet Met - Famous Turkish soldier officially known as brother-in-arms of Atatürk
* Hadise - Famous Turkish singer in Belgium
* Osman Mazukabzov - "Creator" of circassian internet; internet entrepreneur who developed and managed majority of the most famous internet projects regarding circassians, including and
* Ekrem Alican - Politician
* Talat Aydemir - Military figure who twice attempted military coup (1962, 1963)
* Rauf Orbay - Politician
* Abdüllatif Şener - Politician
* Türkan Şoray - actress
* Bibras Natkho - captain, Israel national olympic football team
* Çerkes Ethem - Important Turkish Military Hero
* Vladimir Bereghwn (Baragunov) - The quintessential Circassian minstrel of the 20th century []
* Qezenoqwe Zhebaghi (Zhebaghi Qezenoqwe) [] - Legendary 18th-century Circassian philosopher and statesman
* Alim Ch'ischoqwe (Keshokov) [] Kabardian literary giant of the 20th century
* Mohydeen Izzat Quandour - The archetypal Circassian diapsora writer, intellectual, film producer and director, and musician
* Lyuba Belaghi (Balagova) - Circassian writer (works available in Circassian, English and Russian)
* Seteney Khalid Shami - The most prominent researcher into Circassian identity issues (works available on web)
* Prince Sanjalay Qanqilish Zhileghwet Yidar (Sunchaley Yanglichev Idarov) - Medieval Kabardian Prince of the 16th/17th centuries. Immortalized in a number of songs ('Senjelay yi Wered'='The Song of Prince Sanjalay')
* Ziramikw Qardenghwsch' (Kardangushev) - The most accomplished and published bard of the 20th century
* B. Kh. Bghezchnoqwe (Bgazhnokov) - [] Kabardian folklorist and culturalist
* Asker Hedeghel'e - Most important Adigean writer and folklorist of the 20th century
* Yis-heq Meshbash - Iconic Adigean author of the 20th century
* Hesen Qarden (Kardanov) - One of the pioneers of Circassian classical music
* Askerbi Shorten (Shortanov) - Iconic Kabardian author of the 20th century
* Shora B. Negwme (Nogmov) - One of the first published Circassian writers of the 19th century
* Buba M. Qarden (Kardanov) - One of the greatest (Kabardian Circassian) lexicographers
* M. A. Kumakhov (Qwmaxwe) - Published (Kabardian) Circassian linguist
* G. Kh. Mambetov (Mambet) - Published Circassian culturalist and folklorist
* M. A. Meretukov (Meretiqwe) - Published Circassian anthropologist
* Aliy Schojents'ik'w - Schojents'ik'w (1900-1942) was a great master of the Circassian language, penning many poems and works of fiction, like "The Young Hero".

ee also

*Circassian beauties



*Shtendel, Uri , "The Circassians in Israel", Am Hasefer Tel Aviv, 1973.

*Jaimoukha, Amjad, 'The Circassians: A Handbook', London: Routledge, New York: Routledge & Palgrave, 2001.

*Jaimoukha, Amjad, "Circassian Culture and Folklore: Hospitality Traditions, Cuisine, Festivals & Music (Kabardian, Cherkess, Adigean, Shapsugh & Diaspora)", Bennett and Bloom, 2008.

External links

* [ - Popular Circassian Internet Forum]
* [ Circassian World: Historical Publications and Articles]
* [ Circassian's in California, USA]
* [ Adigha Story: Popular Publications and Articles]
* [ Kafkas Vakfi Caucasus Foundation]
* [ Israeli Circassians] he icon

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