The Caucasus is the
region sprawling between the Caspian sea to the east, and the Black sea to the
west. In the Caucasus there are at least 50 ethnic groups and nationalities.
Azerbaijan: Baku is
the capital, populated by Turkic Azerbaijanis (The largest ethnic group in the
Caucasus with 6,000,000 people), Tat, Talysh, Lezgi, Budukh, Khinalug, Kryz,
and Georgians. Azerbaijan is very rich in petroleum reserves, but it is still
Georgia: Tabilisi is the capital. The ethnic groups found here
are the Georgians, Mingrelians, Svans, Ossetians, Azerbaijanis, Udis, Batabis,
Kurds, and Greeks.
Armenia: Yerevan is the capital. People are either Armeninas
Adigey: Maykop is the capital. People are either of the Adigey
ethnic group or Russians.
Karachay-Cherkessia: Cherkessk is the capital. People are either Russians
or belong to the following ethnic groups: Abaza, Adigey, and Karachay.
Kabardino-Balkaria: Nalchik is the capital. People are either Russians or
belong to the following ethnic groups: Adigay, Balkar, and Svan.
North Ossetia: Vladikavkas is the capital. People are Russians and
Ingushetia: Nazran is the capital. Populated by the Ingush
Chechnya: Grozny is
the capital. People are either Russians or Chechens (count as many as 750,000)
Dagestan: Makhachkala is the capital. Home to the Dagestani
people, but also has Azerbaijani, Kumyuk, Nogay, Ukranian, and Tat people.
South Ossetia: Tskivali is the capital. Populated by Ossetians, and
Abkhazia: Sokhumi is the capital. Populated by Abkhaz, Svan,
Armenian, and Greek people.
Click on the thumbnail to see a map of the Caucasus
Ivan the terrible started Russian southward expansion
in the 1500s, which was not an easy task as he would have expected. The
Russians clashed with the Caucasians. Caucasian resistance was particularly
stubborn in the 19th century among the mountaineers. The Tsar’s
troops fell by the thousands.
second half of the 19th century also witnessed the emigration of the
Caucasians. Many factors played a role in their emigration. The sanguinary
contention with the Russians, the promise of The Land of Islam by the Ottoman
empire at the time, and maladies.
descendants of the émigrés now live in Turkey and the Middle East. The
Armenians are still known by that name and they are Christians. Chechens are
still known as Chechens, they are Muslims. All other ethnic groups are known as
the Circassians, they are Muslims, most of them live in Turkey, but a large
number live in Jordan.
Factions of the
The end of the Soviet control of the region in the
last decade of the 20th century unveiled old grievances among the
people of the Caucasus.
Armenia – Azerbaijan:
In a savage war Christian Armenia and Muslim
Azerbaijan fought for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian pocket within
Azerbaijan. At least 15,000 died, and millions became refugees.
The Abkhaz started the uprising in 1992 and drove most
Georgians from the territory. Abkhazia remains virtually autonomous. At least
7000 died, and 200,000 became refugees.
Chechens started their campaign for independence in 1994,
which ignited a guerilla war in the rugged terrain. At least 45,000 died, and
120,000 became refugees.
Ossetians in South Ossetia announced their
independence in 1990 and sought to join with North Ossetia. At least 2000 died,
and 43,000 became refugees.
This contention stems back to 1943-44 when Stalin
exiled the Ingush and other three Caucasian peoples to Central Asia and
Siberia, because of their uncorroborated cooperation with the Germans during WWII.
When they returned in 1957 the Ingush found the Ossetians in possession of much
of their territory. At least 260 died, and 60,000 became refugees.
Circassians in Jordan:
Some of The émigrés of the Caucasus came to Jordan, they began reaching Jordan around 1880. By that time there was no Jordan actually, but the region was known as Transjordan. The circassians settled in many areas in Jordan, among which was the capital-to-be Amman. The circassians are known for their loyalty, and assiduousness. The Cicassian community in Jordan was able to preserve its language, heritage and culture through the years.
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger image pertaining to circassians: