Where Is The Caucasus?
The Caucasus, also identified as Caucasia, is a linguistically diverse region at the border of Asia and Europe. The region has been a ground for military, political, religious, and cultural conflicts together with imperialism for many years. The Caucasus is located on the borders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Turkey between the Caspian Sea to the East and the Black Sea to the west. The region is divided into North (Ciscaucasus) and South (Transcaucasus). The North is mainly under the jurisdiction of Russia and the South consists of Autonomous States.
State Of Independence
The Caucasus region includes the Caucasus Mountains and the main Greater Caucasus range. In this region, only Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are sovereign States. There are three unrecognized but self-declared States namely Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. There Russian Federation controls Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North-Ossetia-Alania, Kanardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, and Adygea as its internal republics. Some Muslim radicals have also declared “Northern Caucasus Emirate” as a State.
The People And Culture Of Caucasus
The Black Sea coast is the most densely populated part of Caucasus. Urban dwellers are in the majority. Approximately 50 different ethnicities inhabit Caucasia,who speak Slavic languages and languages in the Caucasia language families. The Caucasus is arguably one of the most culturally complex and linguistically diverse region on the planet. Aboriginal ethnic groups in the region include the Indo-European and Turkic language groups, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian families. Currently, the people of Caucasus tend to practice Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Christianity, Sunni Muslims or Shia Muslims whose many adherents are found in Azerbaijan in the eastern zone of the region.
Recent Conflicts In The Caucasus Region
The Caucasus region has been a site of conflicts, mostly secession conflicts. Thousands of Chechens, Ingush, Karachay-Balkars, Meskhetian, Turks, Kalmyks, Kurds, and Germans Caucasus were deported to Central Asia and Siberia in the 1940s leading to the death of many of them.After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the region degenerated into violent conflicts between 1988 to as recent as 2008. Rebel movements have emerged from different areas of the region with calls for self-determination.
Physiography Of The Caucasus Region
The Caucasus range approximately 750 miles to the southeast Taman Peninsula separating the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov to the Absecon Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Azerbaijan. The vast highlands and plateaus range from the Sea of Azov to the Caspian Sea through the northern foothills. The plains in the western side run through to the foothills of the mountains further south. The Lesser Caucasus range extends southward to the Armenian Highland which also extends southwest into Turkey.
Verdict: Where Exactly Is The Caucasus?
Where exactly should the Caucasus be if it cannot be in Europe, Asia or the Middle East? This question cannot be answered comprehensively because the world overlaps, some parts do not fit well with others, and the Caucasus cannot fit in the geopolitical geography unit of the world. It is, therefore, good enough that the entire area forms a unique region in the world as it is now but devoid of the typical stereotypes and negative tags of civil wars and bigotry. The physical and cultural diversity of the Caucasus should be its unique identifier and bond among the people.