Samurzakanians or Murzakanians by Simon Basaria

  • History
Samurzakan Abkhazians

Published: ‘Materials on the history of Abkhazia’. Sukhum, 1990. Issue 1. pp. 29-30.
Simon Basaria (1884-1941)

After a long period of kings, Abkhazia began, beginning in the 17th century, to be ruled by sovereign princes from the Chachba family (in Georgian ‘Shervashidze’). The first ruler of this family was Kvap. He had heirs: Rosto, Levan and Murza-khan (oriental style) — in Abkhaz ‘Murzadan’ or ‘Murzakan’. After the death of Kvap, Abkhazia began to be ruled by his eldest son, Rosto, who gave one brother, Levan, the portion of Abkhazia from the R. Kodor to the R. Okhurej (i.e. Abzhua [= ‘the middle’ — ed.]), and to another, Murzakan, from the river Okhurej to the R. Ingur. Since then, this part of Abkhazia began to bear the name of its ruler, thus coming to be called ‘Murzakan’ or ‘Samurzakan’; the Abkhazians under this jurisdiction began to be called ‘Murzakanians’ or ‘Samurzakanians’, just like the Abkhazians of the Gudauta District (‘Gudautans’ or ‘Bzypians’), of the Dal region (‘Dals’), of the Tsebelda region (‘Tsebeldans’), of the Gagra region (‘Gagrans’), etc… Such territorial designations of certain regions of Abkhazia misled many ethnographers and historians not well versed in the matter. The confusion reached the point of absurdity: some distant tribes appeared (Zebeldin, Bzyp, Samurzak) and there were as many such tribes as there were separate territorial districts and regions in Abkhazia. Meanwhile, all of them were inhabited exclusively by Abkhazians, who take their national line back many centuries before the birth of Christ. This was the situation in which the Samurzakanian Abkhazians also found themselves, ultimately renamed by the ‘Divine Grace’ of Nicholas I (1840) the ‘Samurzakanian tribe’ – ‘obligingly disposed’ to him, (as stated in the Tsar’s deed addressed to Samurzakanian Abkhazia) ‘for the inherent exemplary courage shewn by their militia in a detachment against the Dals, for the establishment of peace in Dal’. ‘In commemoration of the blessing’ of the Tsar, they were granted a banner ‘which was ordered to be used in the service of the autocrat with fidelity and zeal’.

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Lapinski: Abkhaz people are the last in the Caucasus who still put up resistance to the Muscovites

  • History

In June 1861, on the initiative of the Ubykhs, a 'mejlis' (parliament) was constituted not far from Sochi; it was known as 'The Great and Free Assembly'. The Ubykhs, the Circassian Shapsughs and Abadzekhs/Abzakhs, and the Abkhazian tribes of Ahchypsy, Ajbga as well as the coastal Sadzians strove to unite the mountain tribes into 'one huge barrage'. A special deputation from the mejlis, headed by Izmail (Ismael) Barakay-Ipa Dzapsh, visited a range of European states.

Read more …Lapinski: Abkhaz people are the last in the Caucasus who still put up resistance to the Muscovites

The Treaty between Abkhazian National Congress and Georgian National Congress | 9 February 1918

  • History

On 8 November 1917, the Abkhazian People's Congress in Sukhum elected the first parliament, the "Abkhazian Peoples Council" (ANS) and the following vital documents were approved: "Declaration by the Abkhazian People's Congress" and the "Constitution of the Abkhazian People's Council". It is interesting to note that the representative of the Abkhazian Parliament gave the following address on 19 November 1917 in Tiflis at the opening of the first Georgian parliament (the Georgian National Council):

Read more …The Treaty between Abkhazian National Congress and Georgian National Congress | 9 February 1918

Conquest and Exile, by Austin Jersild

  • History
russian - caucasus war

Austin Jersild. Orientalism and Empire: North Caucasus Mountain Peoples and the Georgian Frontier, 1845-1917. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002.

Chapter 2

Conquest and Exile

In this year of 1864 a deed has been accomplished almost without precedent in history: not one of the mountaineer inhabitants remains on their former places of residence, and measures are being taken to cleanse the region in order to prepare it for the new Russian population.

Main Staff of Caucasus Army, 1864

The full chapter in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (1 MB)

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