Flag of the Abazins
|Regions with significant populations|
|Abaza, Turkish, Arabic|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Abkhaz, Adyghe, Kabarday, Ubykh|
The Abazins or Abaza (Abaza: абаза, Turkish: Abazalar, Arabic: أباظة) are an ethnic group of the Caucasus, closely related to the Abkhaz and Adyghe people. Today they live mostly in Turkey, Egypt, and in Karachay-Cherkessia and Stavropol Krai in the North Caucasus region of Russia.
The Abazins originally inhabited the Sadzen region in the western part of Abkhazia, but migrated from Abkhazia to Abazinia in 14th and 15th centuries, and later to other regions of the Middle East in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their dominant religion is Sunni Islam. Abazins speak the Abaza language, a Northwest Caucasian language closely related to Abkhaz and Adyghe. There are two dialects of Abaza spoken in Karachay-Cherkessia: Ashkharua and Tapanta. The culture and traditions of Abazins are similar to those of the Circassians. On many old maps Abazin territory is marked as part of Circassia (Adygea).
According to the 2010 Russian census, there were 43,341 Abazins in Russia. An Abazin diaspora exists in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and other Islamic countries, most of which are descendants of refugees (muhajirs) from the Caucasian War with the Russian Empire.
There is a significant Abazin presence in Turkey. An estimated 150,000 Abazins live in the provinces of Eskişehir, Samsun, Yozgat, Adana, and Kayseri. Most of them belong to Ashkharua clan that fought against the Tsarist army and emigrated to Turkey after losing the battle of Kbaada (Krasnaya Polyana in today's Sochi), whereas the Tapanta clan fought with the Russian forces.
Mention of Abazin tribes is found in the writings of ancient authors beginning in the 5th century BC. For example the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC) in his map of the ancient world listed the Abazgii tribe among peoples who lived on the shores of the Black Sea.