Rutgers University: Forgotten Genocides Project - Genocidal "Pacification"of the Circassians in the Russian Caucasus
Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers
Forgotten Genocides Project - Genocidal "Pacification"of the Circassians in the Russian Caucasus
The Mid-Nineteenth Century Genocidal "Pacification" of the Circassians in the Russian Caucasus
The destruction of the Circassians – who call themselves "Adyghe" – and other indigenous groups of the Caucasus were part of Tsarist Russia’s conquest of the region during the middle-half of the nineteenth century. Ultimately, the Russians aimed to extend its imperial sovereignty and supplant the mostly tribal-based, Islamic-infused population with Slavic, Russophile settlers. A stringent indigenous resistance was brutally put down by the Russians, especially under Tsar Alexander II, who was Emperor of the Russian Empire from 1855 through the end of the Caucasian War in 1864. By the end, hundreds of thousands of Circassians and other indigenous peoples were forcibly relocated, mostly to the Ottoman Empire but also to the lowland regions of the Caucasus where the Russians would better control them. A significant portion of the Circassian population was killed, as the Russians waged a brutal scorched-earth campaign. Thus removed from their ancestral homeland, the Circassians have been uprooted and scattered ever since.