Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Circassians [Cherkess], the chief member of the Western Caucasian family, whose territory formerly comprised all the land from Abkhasia north-east to the Kuban basin. Cherkess is the Tatar, Adighe the national name, meaning "Highlanders." Numerous subdivisions at one time speaking no less than 72 distinct dialects, all very harsh and uncultivated; but the six Adighe tribes proper (full-blood Circassians) are the Nachvo, Natakhvo, Kobli, Sabich, Gvoghvo, and Sotokh, these last grouped in "brotherhoods," whose members are related to each other as brothers and sisters, and therefore cannot intermarry. Prevailing type: - middle size, fair complexion, blue eyes, hair of all shades, but red most common, broad shoulders, robust figures. All are Sunni Mussulmans. Population (1859) 500,000, reduced after their final reduction by the Russians (1804) to 300,000, all of whom emigrated to Turkey except 76,000. These have been since further decreased, and at the end of 1880 none remained in their ancient homes, except a few scattered communities along the left bank of the Kuban. The country has been mostly re-settled by Russian immigrants. The Circassian exiles are now dispersed over Asia Minor and Turkey in Europe, where they are being gradually merged in the surrounding populations.