Adyghe people

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Lowland Adyghe
КӀах Адыгэ
Total population
657,000 (est.)
Regions with significant populations
 Turkey 316,000[1]
 Russia 124,835
 Jordan 122,000
 Syria 100,000[3]
 Egypt 12,000[4]
 Israel 5,000[5]
 Ukraine 600[6]
Adyghe language, Russian language
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Other Adyghe people and Abazgi (Abkhaz, Abazin)

Adyghe (/ˈædɪɡ/ or /ˌɑːdɪˈɡ/; Circassian language: Адыгэ Adygè) is the endonym (native name) of the Circassians.

In the southwestern part of European Russia, there is also a federal subject called Adygea (Russian: Адыгея Adygeja), enclaved within Krasnodar Krai, which is named after the Circassians.

In the Russian language, Adygea's Circassian residents are called "Адыгейцы" Adygejtsy (meaning those [of the Republic] of Adygea), whereas the Circassians in general are called "Адыги" Adygi (meaning the Adyghe). In English terminology, on the other hand, many foreigners fail to distinguish between these Russian-specific administrative (former) and ethnolinguistic (latter) terms, and misuse the word Adyghe to refer only to the Adyghe in Republic of Adygea (only a small part of the historical Adyghe lands). However, the majority of the Adyghe in Russia today do not reside in Adygea, but in the neighbouring regions.

There are twelve Adyghe tribes, i.e. Abzakh, Besleney, Bzhedug, Hatuqwai, Kabardian, Mamkhegh, Natukhai, Shapsug, Temirgoy, Ubykh, Yegeruqwai, and Zhaney,[7] each one represented by a star on the green-and-gold Circassian flag which is also used as the flag of the modern-day Republic of Adygea. The Adyghe in the Republic of Adygea are mainly Bzhedug and Temirgoy who speak the Lowland Adyghe dialect (Circassian: КӀах Адыгэбзэ). The Adyghe in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic are mainly Besleney, and the Adyghe in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic are mainly Kabardian. Besleney and other Kabardian families speak the Highland Adyghe dialect (Circassian: Къэбэрдей Адыгэбзэ).

Distribution of the Circassian language in Adygea, Russia (2002)


Within Russia, the numbers of the Lowland Adyghe in 2010 were 124,835 including 107,048 in Adygea,[2] 13,834 in Krasnodar Krai,[2] 569 in Moscow,[8] and (in 2002) 584 in Kabardino-Balkaria.[9]



The political history of the Adyghe in Adygea since the Russian Revolution is complex. On 27 July 1922, a Circassian (Adygea) Autonomous Oblast was established in the Kuban-Black Sea Oblast, which would later become Krasnodar Krai. After several name changes, the Adyghe Autonomous Oblast was established on 3 August 1928. On 5 October 1990, the Adygea ASSR was proclaimed and separated from Krasnodar Krai. On 24 March 1992, it became the Republic of Adygea. A significant population of the Adyghe community now lives in the Black Sea region of Northern Turkey where their culture is preserved in villages in the area.[10]