My Authors
Read all threads
THREAD: Afro-Abkhazians

Afro-Abkhazians or Abkhazians of African descent were a small group of people in #Abkhazia. The ethnic origin of the AfroAbkhazian descent and how Africans arrived in Abkhazia is still a matter of dispute among experts.

📷The Baltimore Sun. Feb. 10, 1935
According to Sergey Arutyunov, in the late 18th-early 19th century an Ottoman ship travelling wrecked near the Abkhazian coast with slaves -probably from Sudan or Somalia- who were brought up for sale.
Abkhazia was not yet a Russian possession, but Russian soldiers from some fortress on the coast seem to have saved the victims.

They were released from slavery and settled among Abkhazians.
Later, these people joined the local community, married Abkhazian girls and acquired Abkhazian names and surnames. See:
According to another theory, Africans were brought to Abkhazia in 17th century by a local prince Shervashidze (Chachba in Abkhaz), who purchased them at a slave market in Istanbul to work on the citrus plantations. See:
This case was a unique, and apparently not entirely successful, case of mass import of Africans to the Black Sea coast.
In a third legend, the appearance of Afro-Abkhazians is involved with Peter the Great: he imported many black Africans to Russia, and it is said that those who were unable to acclimate to the northern capital of Russia, St Petersburg, were then given to the Abkhazian princes.
However, not all accounts of the African presence in the Caucasus trace it to the slave trade. According to Patrick English, African communities in Abkhazia span a period beginning before the 5th century BC. He cites Herodotus, who wrote of the inhabitants of Colchis in 450 BC👇
By the 19th century, Afro-Abkhazians spoke only Abkhazian and identified with Abkhazia. Their total number is estimated by different observers in the range of "several families" to "several villages.

📷 Shaaban Abash, member of Abash family from Abkhazia.
According to John Colarusso, the three villages of Adziuzhba, Kindigh and Tamsh, which housed the only population of African descent in the entire former USSR, were destroyed by Georgian troops as part of the operation to besiege Tkvarchel during the Georgian-Abkhaz war.👇
Nutsa Abash was born on May 18, 1927. Nutsa became very famous throughout the Soviet Union. The black resident of #Abkhazia was perceived as a phenomenon at that time. See:
All representatives of the Abash family considered themselves Abkhaz, spoke and even thought in Abkhaz.

📷Nutsa, her husband Semyon with their (two) children and (five) grandchildren.
Nutsa Abash with her daughter Naira Bobyleva (right).

Naira graduated in medicine and she now heads the Social Security Administration of Sukhum (#Abkhazia)
Shirin Abash, the grandfather of Nutsa, was one of the founders of the collective farm. In this photo, he is awarded a certificate for the work.
Shirin Abash married Abkhazian Leah Katsiya, who then, left her children and her house for unknown reasons. A few years before her death, she returned.
Sophia Muzalev (middle), left, her son Shirin Abash, right Valery Abash brandson, granddaughter stand Nutsa Abash and Ciba Chamba. Adzyubzha village, Abkhazia.
Throughout Nutsa’s life, journalists came to hear her story.

Further reading:

African Presence in Former Soviet Spaces, by Kesha Fikes and Alaina Lemon. Annual Review of Anthropology
Vol. 31: 497-524 (October 2002)
Afro-Abkhazians from the village of Adziuzhba, #Abkhazia (1927). #caucasus
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Keep Current with Caucasus Archives

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!