History of Lakia

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Lakia is an ancient ethnic region within the state of Dagestan. Its historical capital is Kumukh, one of the ancient cultural and religious centres of Lakia. The people of Lakia are self-designated as Laks and their native language is Lak.

Persian invasions in the 5th-6th centuries[edit]

In the 6th century, following a long war, the Sassanid Empire took over the Eastern and North-Eastern Caucasus. In 552 the Khazars invaded Caucasus and occupied the northern plains of Dagestan. The reigning shah of Persia, Khosrau I Anushirvan, began the construction of Derbent fortress in order to protect his possessions from the new wave of nomads. Khosrau I appointed a local ruler in Kumukh, as he also did in many other possessions.[1]

Arab invasions in the 7th-8th centuries[edit]

In the 7th-8th centuries Arab conquerors continually strove to gain a foothold in Dagestan in order to maintain political hegemony in the North-Eastern Caucasus. At the end of a long war (730-740), Arab armies (led initially by Maslamah and then by Marwan) captured mountainous Dagestan. During the Arab invasions and in the period following, such principalities as Tabasaran, Dargin, Lak and Avar were active in Dagestan.[2][3][4]

Shamkhalate rule in the 8th-17th centuries[edit]

In the middle of the 8th century Kumukh joined the Arab Caliphate. Arabs built a mosque in Kumukh and appointed a ruler with the title "shamkhal".[5][6] In 1239 the Mongolo-Tatars captured Kumukh. In the 13th centuries the shamkhals of Kumukh accepted Islam. In 1396 Tamerlane waged a war with the shamkhal of Gazi-Kumukh. During the 15th century the political influence of the shamkhals increased in the region. Then in 1642 the shamkhalate disintegrated into independent principalities.

Khanate rule in the 17th-19th centuries[edit]

In 1642 Laks formed the Gazikumukh Khanate. The state was ruled by a supreme council, which was constituted by the viziers, chief qadis, warlords, and the ruler. The rulers of Kazi-Kumukh took an active part in an anti-Iranian movement in Shirvan and Dagestan. In 1725 Surkhay-khan I received the title of khan of Shirvan and Kazi-Kumukh. During the period 1734-1741 Kazi-Kumukh was thrice invaded by the Persians. In 1738 Murtazali-khan, at the head of the Dagestan army, defeated the Persians in Daria, and then in 1741 in Andalal. A later khanate fought with Russia, and in 1820 Russian general Madatov captured Kazi-Kumukh.

Rebellion of 1877[edit]

In 1877, with the beginning of the Russian-Turkish war, the Chechens and Ingush and Dagestani peoples organized a revolt, with support from Turkey. Laks captured a fortress outside Kazi-Kumukh, and the reestablishment of the Kazikumukh Khanate was proclaimed. Jafar-Bek, the son of Aglar-khan, was elected ruler, and directed his army from Kazi-Kumukh to help the insurgents in Kaitag and Tabasaran. Religious figures leading the revolt included Hasan Al-Kadarski, Kazi-Muhammad and Haji-Muhammad of Sogratl, Qadi of Tsudakhar, and Kazi-Ahmed and Abdul of Kazi-Kumukh. Small armies besieged Russian fortresses in Gunib and Levashi, but after heavy fighting were driven back by Russian troops moving in from North Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Middle Asia, and the Volga region.[7]

After the Russian retaking of Tsudakhar, Kazi-Kumukh, and Sogratl and the execution of the "instigators" of the revolt, many were deported to distant provinces of the Russian empire. Some captives managed to escape to Iran, England, and the Ottoman Empire.[8]

Revolution of 1917/Soviet rule[edit]

In 1920, following the Russian revolution, Soviet rule was established in Lakia. On 28 October 1922 the Kazi-Kumukh district was renamed Lak. On 29 March 1935 the district was split into the Lak and Kuli districts. Collectivization and "socialist construction in the area of national culture development" was then carried out. In 1937, in a number of villages, operated cells of SVB — "Union of militant atheists": in Khosrekh - 25, in Vikhli - 16. In 1940, mosque buildings were demolished in 5 out of 14 villages of the Kuli district.

In 1930 Ali Kayaev, a Dagestani Muslim reformer and a native of Kumukh, was arrested and exiled to Southern Ural. He was accused of participating in a counterrevolutionary organization.[9] In 1934 Ali Kayaev returned from exile and worked in a Research Institute of Dagestan.

Local industry began to develop in the Lak district during this period. Mechanized mills and factories were built for processing raw materials. A small hydroelectric power plant was built to supply electricity. Primary-school education was made compulsory. Mass publication and distribution of books and newspapers in Lak language were initiated.

Second World War[edit]

In the summer of 1944 to the lowlands of Dagestan, instead of Chechens deported on February 23, part of Laks was forcefully resettled from 43 mountainous villages and their houses demolished: 26 villages partly and 18 fully. Among these were Akbar, Archuta, Bartni, Charavali, Chayakh, Duchi, Khalapki, Khanar, Kurkhi, Marki, Nitsovkra, Shushiya, Sundaralu, Tukhchar, Turchi, Varay, and Viltakh. Ethnic Avars and Kumyks were also forcibly resettled.[10][11]

During the Second World War a group of Lak soldiers took part, afterward memorialized as the Laks 6 Heroes of the USSR (one twice). Six warriors – Ahmed Khan Sultan, Buganov Gadji, Kuznetsov Ramazan, Makaev Tsakhay, Suleymanov Rizvan, and Suleymanov Yakov were awarded for their service with the high rank of Hero of the Soviet Union. Ahmed Khan Sultan was awarded this rank twice. Ex-patriate soldier Kamalov Gasan-Gusain became a national hero of Italy, and Kushayev Gusain, of France. In all, eight Laks reached the rank of military general during the war: Khalilov Michael, Suleymanov Ahmed, Khalilov Salikh, Khalilov Vyacheslav, Pirmagomedov Isa, Magomedov Efendi, Kunbuttaev Lev, and Shtanchaev Imanali.

Famous Lak individuals[edit]

  • Musa Manarov – Cosmonaut, Colonel of the Soviet Air Force; spent 541 days in space
  • Ahmed Khan Sultan – Pilot of the Soviet Union
  • Shirvani MuradovGold medalist in Freestyle Wrestling, Beijing 2008.
  • Islam Makhachev (Russian: Ислам Рамазанович Махачев; born October 27, 1991 in Dagestan) – mixed martial artist, judoka, and sambas; multiple Combat Sambo World Champion [4]; currently fighting in the lightweight division
  • Omari Akhmedov (Russian: Омари Ахмедов; born October 12, 1987 in Kizlyar) – Russian of Lak descent (born in Dagestan), professional mixed martial artist, competes in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
  • Khachilaev Nadirshah Mugadovich – former head of the Muslim Union of Russia, member of parliament, State Duma of Russia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ М. Т. Гаджимурадов, Л. П. Магомедов. История Дагестана. М. 2007. С. 47.
  2. ^ Б. Г. Алиев. Очерки истории Дагестана. Махачкала: Даггиз. 1957. Т. 1. С. 45, 51, 76; Гасанов М. Р. Дагестан и народы Кавказа в V—XV веках (некоторые вопросы этнической общности расселения и взаимоотношений). — Махачкала, 2008.
  3. ^ Halifa ibn Hayyat records that Marwan attacked and conquered Gumik and Khunzakh. See: Бейлис В. М. Сообщения Халифы ибн Хаййата ал-Усфури об арабо-хазарских войнах в VII — первой половине VIII в. // Древнейшие государства Восточной Европы. 1998. М.,2000. С. 43.
  4. ^ Р. Маршаев, Б. Бутаев. История лакцев. Махачкала, 1992.
  5. ^ Derbent-nameh writes: "After Abu Muslim fortified Derbent in the best way, he went with the army to Kumuk. The Beks of Kumuk waged battles, bloody fights, but in the end the Kumuk beks were defeated, and many infidels died. When Kumuk was taken, those who became Muslims were left with their property while those who refused to convert to Islam were slaughtered and plundered. At the highest point of the city [Kumuk] a Juma mosque was constructed. In a few blocks mosques were made. The ruler of Kumuk became the sepahsalar of Abu Muslim — the grandson of Abdallah, the son of Abdalmuttalib from the tribe of Quraysh" (Kaz: "appointed for them a ruler and commander [named] Shakhbal, the son of Abdullah, son of Abbas"). See: A. Р. Шихсаидов. Ислам в средневековом Дагестане (VII—XV вв.). Махачкала, 1969 г., с. 97—98.
  6. ^ A. K. Bakikhanov records: "In 115 (734) Hisham appointed his brother Abu Muslim to undertake the management of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Shirvan and gave him 24,000 Syrians and Arabs so that he could put the affairs of Dagestan in order. It can be assumed that this Abu Muslim is the very Maslama whom we discussed earlier. Probably copyists distorted his name or Abu Muslim — is his kunya, the nickname given by Arabs to honorable persons. Be that as it may, Abu Muslim arrived in Derbent to rebuild the walls and ramparts of the fortress ... Arranging thus the affairs of Derbend, Abu Muslim then went to Kumuk. After several battles the emirs and the residents of that region begged for mercy and accepted Islam. The main mosque and other buildings constructed in Kumuk by him are still there today. He left there a ruler, Shakhbal ibn Abdallah ibn Qasim Ibn Abdallah Ibn Abbas (uncle of the Prophet Muhammad), and appointed with him a qadi to teach the people the rites of the new faith". Abu Muslim "ordered [Shakhbal, Maisum, Utsmi] to make defence with united forces in the event of a Khazar invasion and to prevent the Khazar traders from approaching Derbent .. Following these instructions of Abu Muslim, caliph Hisham himself arrived in Derbent". See: А. К. Бакиханов. Гюлистан и Ирам. Период второй 644-1258 г.
  7. ^ А. Каяев. Из истории восстания 1877 года. «Литературный Дагестан» 1990. № 2. С. 81.
  8. ^ А. Г. Булатова. Лакцы (XIX — нач. XX вв.). Историко-этнографические очерки. — Махачкала, 2000.
  9. ^ А. Р. Наврузов. Газета "Джаридату Дагистан" (1913-1918). Тематическая характеристика статей: Образование и Просвещение. Учеб.-метод. пособие. Часть 1 / Федеральное агентство по образованию, ДГУ – Махачкала, ИПЦ ДГУ, 2007.
  10. ^ ГУ ЦГА РД. Ф. р-168. Оп. 35. Д. 21. Л. 189, 191.
  11. ^ М. Р. Курбанов, Ж. М. Курбанов. Дагестан: депортация и репрессии. — Махачкала, 2001.