Have you heard of Afro-Caucasians in Eastern Europe?

Afro-Abkhazians are a group of black Caucasians who occupy Eastern Europe in the region of Abkhazia.

Located in the Caucasus Mountains along the Black Sea, Afro-Abkhazians historically called the border between Russia and Georgia residence.

Although there is no argument that this population of Afro-Caucasians existed, historians disagree on how they settled in Eastern Europe.

Afro-Abkhaz family photo from the “Caucasus. Volume I. The peoples of the Caucasus”, St. Petersburg., Kovalevsky PI, 1914, | Author unknownAuthor unknown, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Some to believe this hundreds of slaves were transported in the village of Adzyubzha in the 17and Century during the slave trade to work specifically on citrus groves. This is a theory that could be true because Abkhazia was indirectly under Turkish rule under the Ottoman Empire for at least 300 years, starting in the late 1500s.

Discrepancies with this theory are geographically speaking, Abkhazia is a hard to reach region and it is unclear whether Abkhazia was technically under Ottoman rule. But given the contextual clues of the region at that time, the neighboring country, Armenia, was under Turkish rule.

Historians believe that slaves passed through Egypt, which was also under Turkish rule at the time. Egypt served as a center for the slave trade during this time, which supports the theory that people of African descent were brought in as slaves.

The other theory among scholars is that the Afro-Abkhazians are the descendants of the ancient Colchians – people who lived in Colchis, which is now considered present-day Abkhazia. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus is said to have been the first to note that blacks occupied the region as early as the 5and Century BC during a visit.

In his first claims and analysis, he is said to have said, “I drew conclusions based on certain marks: first, they are black and have curly hair”, referring to Afro-Abkhazians.

Little is known about the number of Afro-Abkhazians that exist today. It is believed that those who remain have would have settled in surrounding regions such as Chlou, Pokvesh, Agdarra, Merkulov and Sukhumi.

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