Tuesday, May 21, 2013

149 Years Ago Today in Circassia

Today is the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Qbaada Meadow (Kransaia Poliana) in which the Russian Imperial army finally defeated the Circassians and proceeded with the final mass deportation of the population into the Ottoman Empire. While many scholars place the first modern genocide in Armenia in 1915 and others in Namibia during 1904-1907, I think a good case can be argued that 1863-64 in Circassia deserves this distinction. Today is the day that Circassians around the world commemorate the massive expulsion of most of their population from their ancestral homeland in the Caucasus into the various territories of the Ottoman Empire. According to Walt Richmond out of some 1.5 million Circassians in 1860 over 600,000 or more than a third perished as a direct result of this forced dispersal.

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