The Circassians are a North Caucasian ethnic group native to Circassia, who were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century, especially after the Russian–Circassian War in 1864. The term “Circassian” includes the Adyghe (Circassian: Адыгэ, Adyge) and Kabardian people.
The Circassians mainly speak the Circassian language, a Northwest Caucasian language with numerous dialects. The Circassians also speak Turkish and Arabic in large numbers and various other languages of the Middle East, having been exiled by Russia to lands of the Ottoman Empire, where the majority of them today live, and to a lesser extent neighboring Persia, where most of them came either deported en masse by the Safavids and Qajars, or to a lesser extent as muhajirs in the 19th century like in Ottoman Turkey. The predominant religion amongst Circassians is Sunni Islam, Minority Habze, Orthodox Christian and Catholic.
There remain about 700,000 Circassians in historical Circassia (the republics of Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, and the southern half of Krasnodar Krai), as well as a number in the Russian Federation outside these republics. The 2010 Russian Census recorded 718,727 Circassians, of which 516,826 are Kabardians, 124,835 are Adyghe proper, 73,184 are Cherkess and 3,882 Shapsugs.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization estimates that there are as many as 3.7 million “ethnic Circassians” in the diaspora outside the Circassian republics (meaning that only one in seven “ethnic Circassians” lives in the homeland), of whom about 2 million live in Turkey, 700,000 in the Russian Federation, about 150,000 in the Levant and Mesopotamia, and about 50,000 in Europe and the United States.