Tsakhur child from Qum (Azerbaijan)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Tsakhur, Azerbaijani, Russian, Lezgian|
The Tsakhur or Caxur (Azerbaijani: saxurlar, Russian: цахурский) people are an ethnic group of northern Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan (Russia). They number about 30,000 and call themselves yiqy (pl. yiqby), but are generally known by the name Tsakhur, which derives from the name of a Dagestani village, where they make up the majority.
Tsakhurs are first mentioned in the 7th-century Armenian and Georgian sources where they are named Tsakhaik. After the conquest of Caucasian Albania by the Arabs, Tsakhurs formed a semi-independent state (later a sultanate) of Tsuketi and southwestern Dagestan. By the 11th century, Tsakhurs who had mostly been Christian, converted to Islam. From the 15th century some began moving south across the mountains to what is now the Zaqatala District of Azerbaijan. In the 18th century the capital of the state moved south from Tsakhur in Dagestan to İlisu and came to be called the Elisu Sultanate. West of the Sultanate Tsakhurs formed the Djaro-Belokani free communities. The sultanate was in the sphere of influence of the Shaki Khanate. It became part of the Russian Empire by the beginning of the 19th century.
Tsakhurs live in Azerbaijan's Zaqatala region, where they make up 14% of the population, and in Gakh, where they constitute less than 2%. In Dagestan, they live in the mountainous parts of the Rutulsky district. According to Wolfgang Schulze, there are 9 villages in Azerbaijan, where Tsakhurs make up the majority of the population, all of them in Zaqatala. 13 more villages in Zaqatala and Gakh have a significant Tsakhur minority.
Most Tsakhurs speak the Tsakhur language as their native language. The rate of bilingualism in Tsakhur and Azeri is high. Other languages popular among Tsakhurs include Russian and Lezgian.
- Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (in Russian)
- State statistics committee of Ukraine - National composition of population, 2001 census (Ukrainian)
- The Sociolinguistic Situation of the Tsakhur in Azerbaijan by John M. Clifton et al. SIL International, 2005