Who are the Circassian People?

The twelve stars on the Circassian flag represent the twelve sub-tribes.
The twelve stars on the Circassian flag represent the twelve sub-tribes.

The Circassian people are a part of the northwest Caucasian ethnic groups, initially from Circassia. Most of these people were displaced when the Russians invaded Circassia in the early 19th century. In 1864 a war erupted between the Russians and the Circassia people were displaced to other regions. The term Circassian is a combination of 12 Adyghe sub-tribes composed of three "democratic" and nine aristocratic tribes. Each of the sub-tribes is represented by a star, which is printed on the Circassia flag. Most of Circassian people are Muslims, and they speak the Circassian language as the primary language, which comprises of three main dialects and many sub-dialects. Having been exiled by the Russian rule, some of the people went to Turkey, England, Arabic nations, and Russia. Therefore, most of the Circassian people can speak foreign languages. There were approximately 800,000 Circassians remained in their homeland.


Christianity spread in the Circassian nation because of Greek and Byzantine influence. The people of Circassia accepted Christianity as their state religion, but these people hold the indigenous beliefs firmly. In the 17th century, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Circassia nation in which the doctrine of the invaders was spread throughout the country. The Circassians were converted to Islam, some of the changed Circassian rose in the faith to becoming Mamluks, and even others became Sultans in Egypt during the 1250-1517 Mamluks period. In 2016, it was discovered that most of the people who reside in Egypt are the descendants of the Circassian people.

Russian Invasion of Circassia

The Russians slowly invaded the Circassia territory and by the mid-nineteenth century, the Circassia nation was under the rule of the Russians. During the attack, a series of wars erupted as a fight by the Circassians against the invasion. During that time, the Circassian people became very popular for their rigidness and a long resistance to colonialism. Many Adyghe people died by the end of the wars in the nineteenth century. When the Circassian people were defeated, the Russian general drove the few Circassian people who had survived the fight out of the region. The military invoked a sweep order from 1860 to 1864. At the end of the four years, the southern part of the Caucasus was empty of the original inhabitants.

Post-exile Period

The Circassian people who had been driven away went ahead and created settlements in the Ottoman Empire, some of them sailed across to many other regions which included the Middle East. Turkey became the largest Adyghe nation and the Circassian people spread into many areas in Turkey, which consists of the Samsun along the coast of the Black Sea and others to Ankara region. The estimate of the population of the Circassian people who live in Syria is between 50,000 and 100,000 people. The Circassian people were suggesting that they might return to Circassia after war escalated in Syria.


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