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The Adygy

The Adygy call themselves the Adyge. Their ethnic commonality includes the Adighes, the Kabardians, and the Circassians. There are 559,7 thousand persons of the Adygy in Russia: the Adighes - 122,9 thousand persons, the Kabardians - 386,1 thousand persons, the Circassians - 50,8 thousand persons. Usually named the Circassians they live also in many countries of the world, mainly in the Middle East. The Adygy are settled compactly and quite often include the Abasin, the Abkhazians, the Osset and other natives from the Nothern Caucasus. For instance, in Turkey (150 thousand persons), Jordan (25 thousand persons), Iran (15 thousand persons), Iraq (5 thousand persons), Lebanon (2 thousand persons), Syria (32 thousand persons, together with the Chechens), altogether around 250 thousand persons. The number totals over 1 million persons. The languages are the Adygian and the Kabardian-Circassian. The Religion is the Moslems-Sunni. Ancient history of the Adygy and the formation of their commonality are associated with the areas of the Eastern Prichernomorie and the Zakubanie. The ancient tribes of the Adygy were already settled in the Eastern Prichernomorie in the First millennium AD. The formation of the ancient Adygy commonality covered the period from the end of the First millennium AD to the middle of the First millennium AD. This includes the tribes of the Akhians, the Zikhs, the Kerkets, the Meots (including the Torets, the Sinds) etc. and, probably, not only the ancient Adygy tribes. According to Strabon, these tribes occupied territories on the Southeast from modern Novorossisk in the left coast of the Black Sea and in mountains up to the modern Sochi. Inhabitants of the coast were engaged in agriculture, but their main craft was the piracy. In VIII-X centuries the Adygy occupied the territories in the Prikubanie, including those near the ancient Russian Tmutarakansky Princedom. The Russian princes led a number of military campaigns (965, 1022) against the Adygy-Kasogy. As a result of the Mongolian conquests in XIII century the population has concentrated in mountain gorges that led to the big population density and to the land shortage among the mountaineers. In XIII-XIV centuries the part of Kabardians has separated. In XVI-XVIII centuries the Adygy territories became a battlefield for the Turkey, the Crimean Khanate, a Russia and the Daghestan landlords.During the Caucasian war (1817-64) there was an internal self-organizing. The group of the Adygy (Kabardian) population (later received the name Circassians) was formed in the Zakubanie in the First third of XIX century. The Caucasian war and the followed reforms have changed an ethnic and demographic situation in many respects. It has produced the mountaineer's settlement on the plain and the Makhadj - the migration of the mountaineers to the Ottoman Empire, which continued until the First World. War. The Àdygy had the common social structure in many respects. Many norms of a common law - the customs of blood feud, the atalych, the hospitality, the friendship, the patronage, the artificial filiations (the foster adoption, the fraternizing) were kept in the XIX- XX centuries. The nobility way of life was very different to the life of simple people; social distinctions had an effect in clothes, in their colours and style. The norms of the Muslim Law (Sheriyat) operated in a public and family life besides the Law of a tradition (Adat). To the present day the Adygy has preserved in many respects uniform traditional culture, which distinctions (specially in an economy, a settling and food) are defined by natural-climatic conditions and the vertical zonings. The Adygy spiritual culture (a pantheon of deities, the traditions of their society, the singers - improvisators creative work) is preserved. The Adygy realize their historical unity.

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