From Thomas M. Barrett’s “Lines of Uncertainty: The Frontiers of the North Caucasus” (Slavic Review 54[1995]:578-601), p. 593:

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Russian government expended even more effort luring Armenians to the north Caucasus. The first major land grant was awarded in 1710 to an Armenian from Karabakh, Safar Vasil’ev, for the cultivation of mulberry gardens (for silkworms) in the Kizliar region. In the eighteenth century, large numbers of Armenians from Turkey and Persia resettled in the Terek River basin; others fled there from mountain, Crimean or Nogai captivity. During this period, Kizliar and Mozdok were largely Armenian: in 1796, there were 2,800 Armenians and only 1,000 Russians at Kizliar; in 1789, 55.6 percent of the population of Mozdok was Armenian and Georgian. Nearly 3,500 more Armenians resettled in 1797 along the Caucasus military line from khanates in Dagestan and along the Caspian Sea. Armenians engaged in silk production and viticulture and were the backbone of regional trade in the north Caucasus. Another large group of Armenians moved in 1839 from across the Kuban to settle along the western part of the Cossack line at Armavir, where the residents (even in 1859) spoke a Circassian dialect and resembled the mountain people. Armenian in self-identity, Christian in faith, members of the Russian Empire, surrounded by Cossacks, and Circassian in speech, dress, cuisine and custom-the Armavir Armenians demonstrate how complex this ethnic frontier could be.

Barrett also mentions “Iakov Alpatov of the Cossack village of Naur who twice fled for the mountains, converted to Islam and formed a thieving band of Chechens and Cossacks in the 1850s that robbed farmsteads, stole cattle and took captives, not only from Cossacks but also from Kalmyks and Nogais well into the steppe.” Frontiers are confusing, exciting places!


  1. Elizabeth Kendall says

    wow – I’ve been gone for a bit. I come back to EXACTLY what I want to read. Something about the unholy mix of elements in So & No Caucases. I’m constructing a spring vacation visit to Georgia!

  2. I envy you! You might want to read Charles King’s The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus; I haven’t started it yet, but based on his Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams, which I just finished and which is one of the best books on a city I’ve ever read, I’m sure it’s great.

  3. Holy Colossus of Molossos, there is an EPIC spambot malfunction dumped on this thread. Hat, are you going to use that to filter all those phrases they handily provided?

  4. I’ve only ever seen ‘skilled blogger’ in spam.

  5. Alas, I no longer have the use of my MT-Blacklist; when I try to access it, I get “An error occurred: Byte order is not compatible at blib/lib/ (autosplit into blib/lib/auto/Storable/ line 438, at lib/MT/ line 28.” So I do all my spam deletion by hand, as it were. The day approaches when I will finally have to move to a new platform; after a decade, Movable Type Version 2.63 is not holding up quite as well as my 2002 Saturn.

  6. What should be better defended against phishing frauds than the computing service of a university famed for the excellence of of its Computer Science Department, and especially of the anti-fraud research group within it? Yet today I got fraudulent e-mails sent by some sort of software gizmo that had been illicitly intruded into the uni’s e-mail system. We’re going to hell in a handcart.

  7. On my worst days I get upwards of 3,000 items of spam. Do you really propose to delete all your spam by hand?

  8. Good lord, I’ve never gotten anywhere near that many (*knock wood*). On my worst days I’ve gotten a few hundred, and that hasn’t happened for a long time. These days I get maybe a dozen or two, and yeah, I can delete that by hand.

  9. John Emerson says

    There’s nothing complex about Armenians being Christian, especially if they’re Armenian Orthodox (who are really heterodox).
    On occasions such as this I always recommend Wixman.

  10. The complex thing is not that the Armenians were Christian but that in every other way they were Circassian.

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