Circassian Culture and History; Through the Looking Glass

Circassians are an ethnic group of people belonging to the Northwest Caucasus region. They subdivide into 12 tribes, each represented by a star on the Circassian flag. Nowadays, due to a genocide in the late 17th century , there are approximately only 8 million Circassians worldwide, most of whom reside in Turkey. Circassians hold an important and rich history, one which most of us are completely unaware of.
During the times of the “Russification”, minorities in the Caucasus region were undergoing mass killings, genocides, and exile. The Russian-Circassian war in the 1860s cleansed the region of Circassian inhabitants, a large portion of them were killed, and many were forced to immigrate and resettle in the Ottoman empire. They were mainly located near borders in order to strengthen them. They mainly settled in areas now known as Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, but you can find small amounts of Circassians in Germany, Iraq, the United States, and Israel. In specific, Circassians had a massive role in the history of Jordan, since they greatly contributed to its agricultural and economic development. Up to this day, Circassians still have a reserved quota in the ministerial cabinet in Jordan, where at least one minister should represent them.
As for Circassian culture, Circassians share a love for traditional music, played by the accordion and a specific drum. However, what binds Circassians together the most is the Adyghe Khabze, something they are all raised to honor and respect; it is a code of values, preaching for the value of courage, honesty, and hospitality. This code gives key relevance to the elderly and to women, and states that they must be given the utmost respect. As for the language, the Circassian language divides into many dialects and subdialects. The main issue today is the gradual disappearance of the Circassian language, such that families are straying from teaching their children Circassian given that they are better off learning the language of the country they are living in.

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