Circassians Today: A Global Nation
Circassians identify as a single nation with a shared history and unified view of their future. For the purposes of analysis, however, they may be divided into two groups—those who continue to live in Circassia, and those who are found in the Diaspora.
Circassians in Circassia: Republic of Adygea
Adygea is one of three Circassian Semi-autonomous Republics in the Russian Federation. It is the western-most Circassian republic, and a short drive from Sochi—host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and the former capital of Circassia.
Spread over 7,600 square kilometers (2,900 square miles), the republic is a bit smaller larger than the US state of Delaware, and about three times the size of the European country of Luxembourg. Maykop is the capital of Adygea, and according to the 2010 census, the republic has a population of roughly 440,000 people.
Circassians in Circassia: Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria
Kabardino-Balkaria is the largest and eastern-most of the three Circassian republics in the Russian Federation. The republic draws its name from the Kabardian and the Balkar peoples. The former is a local designation for Circassians, and the latter a reference to local Turkic Tartars.
The republic is home to about 860,000 inhabitants and is spread out over 12,500 square kilometers (4,800 square miles). This makes Kabardino-Balkaria about 40% larger than the US state of New Jersey, and a bit larger than the state of Massachusetts, and a bit smaller than a typical European country.
Profile of the Diaspora: A Global Community
Up to 90% of the estimated 3 – 5 million Circassians live outside of Circassia. They are found predominantly in Turkey and portions of the former Ottoman Empire with notable communities Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Europe and the United States.
In each of their host countries, Circassians enjoy long-standing reputations as trust-worthy and patriotic citizens. In most cases, they are proportionately over-represented in the government sector, local law enforcement and military services. Perhaps it is a longing for their own country that drives this patriotism in their adopted lands; ironically, many comment that the status and reputation of Circassians is held in higher regard outside their ethnic homeland than within it.