Circassia: Ancestral homeland of the Circassians

Circassia (Circassian: Адыгэ Хэку) is a region in the North Caucasus and along the north-east shore of the Black Sea. It is the ancestral homeland of the Circassian people.

The Cherkess or Circassians, who gave their name to this region, of which they were until lately the sole inhabitants, are a peculiar race, differing from the other tribes of the Caucasus in origin and language. The name Circassia is a Latinisation of Cherkess (modern Turkish: Çerkes), the Turkic name for the Adyghe people, and originated in the 15th century with mediaeval Genoese merchants and travellers to Circassia.

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Western travellers to the Caucasus by George Hewitt

George Hewitt
Emeritus Professor, University of London

Western travellers to the Caucasus, in J. Speake (ed.) The Literature of Travel and Exploration, 1, 199-202. 2003. Fitzroy Dearbon.

Mongols held suzerainty and Genoese Black Sea trading-posts were established when Dominican Johannes de Galonifontibus, Bishop of Nakhichevan from 1377 (Archbishop of Sultanieh from 1398), completed in 1404 an account of his oriental experiences. Enumerating the Caucasian peoples and languages, he perspicaciously demarcated Circassia (Zyquia sive Tarquasia), Abkhazia, Mingrelia and Georgia (J/Ioriania – the form Georgiania is known from the mid-13th century) as countries with separate languages. Constantinople's fall (1453) subsequently hampered communion with the West.

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