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Circassian is the western name of one of the indigenous languages of the northern Caucasus, Adygebze, and the collective name for several peoples who speak mutually intelligible dialects, but are territorially separated. The largest of these peoples are the Cherkes (autonym: Adyge), inhabitants of the Karachay-Cherkes Republic; the Adyge (autonym: Adyge), inhabitants of the Adyge Republic; and the Kabard (autonym: Adyge), inhabitants of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic. There is also a large Circassian diaspora in the Middle East, which originated after the 19th century Russian conquest of the Caucasus. Among the diasporic Circassians, there are descendants from other, related, peoples of the Caucasus such as the Abaza, Abkhaz and Ubykh (whose language became extinct in Turkey recently).
The Karachay, living in the Karachay-Cherkes Republic, and the Balkar, living in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, are two closely related peoples, numbering about 200.000 persons. They speak a common, Turkic, language.
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Last update: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 9:45:02 PM EST - edit