Abzakhs

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Not to be confused with Abkhaz people.

The Abzakh (Circassian: абдзах, Russian: абадзехи), also known as Abdzakhs or Abadzekhs, are one of the twelve Adyghe tribes (sub-ethnic groups) of the Circassian people. After Kabardians, the Abzakh are the second largest Adyghe tribe in Turkey, other diaspora countries, and in the world in general. They are also the second largest Adyghe tribe in Israel (after Shapsugs), largest in Jordan, and the sixth largest in Russia.

The vast majority of them live in diaspora in Turkey — about 500,000 people, which are the descendants of muhajirs from the Russian–Circassian War. Since the early 19th century, their dominant religion is Sunni Islam.

History[edit]

Before the Caucasian War, Abzakhs inhabited the northern slope of the Caucasus mountain range, near the land of the Shapsug tribe. Major settlements or villages were located in the river valleys Kurdzhips, Pchehe, Pshish, and Psekups. They were divided into nine companies. Geographically, they lived in the mountainous part of the modern Adygea and Krasnodar Krai.

After the Caucasian war, most Abzakhs (and other tribes) were deported to the Ottoman Empire, the remaining Abzakhs were relocated to the present-day steppe Shovgenovsky district.

The tribe was divided into communities, managed by elected elders. In discussing and resolving important issues elders agreed in a general meeting. The Abzakh tribe engaged in arable farming and horticulture, and kept many animals, especially prized horses. In the mountains, the Abzakh mined copper, iron, lead, and silver.

Israel[edit]

About 1,123 Abzakh people live in the Rehaniya, in Galilee (North District, Israel), where there is an Adyghe museum.

In 1958, Abzakhs (and other Adyghe tribes) of Israel were allowed to enter military service, which gave them a number of privileges. In Israel, the Abzakh are the second largest Adyghe tribe, after the Shapsug.

Language[edit]

Main article: Abzakh Adyghe dialect

The Abzakh people speak a sub-dialect (Adyghe: Абдзахэбзэ) of the West Adyghe dialect of the Circassian language.[1]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]