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Problems of formation of the Armenian and Georgian communities of Dagestan in the XVI-XVII centuries

 © 2007 of I.A. Suzdaltsev


The history of emergence of the Armenian and Georgian communities in Dagestan is connected with emergence in the IV-VI centuries in these places of the first preachers of Christianity from Transcaucasia [1, 2].

It is confirmed by the toponymic names of areas known among Salataviya's inhabitants: Ermen-kyal (Armenian ravine), Ermenazul-habal (Armenian cemetery), Ermenazul-roso (ruins of the Armenian village), etc. [3, page 20].

At the beginning of the 15th century the former archbishop of the Persian city Ioann Sultaniyi de Galonifontibous, meaning the territory of Dagestan, wrote: "In this country there are a lot of Christians, namely: Greeks, different Armenians, zi-k, Gotha, Tats, volyak, Russians, Circassians, leks..." [4, page 15]. "there live also Georgians, saratsina, Dargins and Lezgians." [4, page 25]. Thus, the first data on accommodation of Armenians and Georgians in Dagestan belong to the 15th century

Inflow of immigrants from among Armenians and Georgians to Russia and to the Northeast Caucasus was promoted by the fact that all Transcaucasia became the arena of almost not stopping wars between Ottoman Turkey and shah Iran.

It is possible to allocate several ways of formation of the Armenian and Georgian settlements of Dagestan in the XVI-XVII centuries. Natives of the countries of Transcaucasia first of all were settled in the places of residence of the local tersky Cossacks. It was mentioned by V.A. Potto: "In razmeta of the local Terek Current the line differentiating shamkhalsky and Kabardian possession and here, in an impassable solitude of the prirechny canes inaccessible for any Moscow pursuit was lost, slashing fellows from all Volga region when royal hosts began to clean it from robberies were flown down. Here, in a deaf open space as a safe shelter, different Kabardians, Chechens, Kumyks, big and small noga, even Georgians, Armenians and zakubansky Circassians, - all to whom it was close to live in the homeland who was pursued by societies as violators of laws and customs of the country ran. All this there were people of the same manner, as the Russian free Cossacks, and therefore the last easily were on friendly terms and got on with them" [5, page 33]. "nobody asked terets what it a sort and the tribe from where he appeared what professes belief, and orthodox Christians got on near Christians Catholics, with Mohammedans and even with idolaters" [5, page 34].

Between the people of Dagestan and Georgia there were close mutually advantageous trade and economic relations. The Georgians coming on trade affairs sometimes long lived in the large settlements of Dagestan. Sources contain the facts of resettlement of Georgians to various regions of Dagestan. So, for example, in a sultanstvo Elisuysky (Tsakhur), a cat - a swarm occupied the territory between Dzhar and Kakheti

also separated the Alazani River, along with Tsakhurs there lived also Georgians, the majority of whom were violently turned into Moslem and "in-giloyets" - "new converts" were called [6, page 19-20]. Scientists have data on marriage communications of separate Dagestan nationalities with the east Georgian population. According to legends, tukhuma of many Dagestan auls are Georgian. So, residents of the Avarian village of Kuletsma are considered as descendants of Georgians. According to E.I. Kozubsky, "the name of the aul is made from the Georgian Kovlat-Tsmind, the Blessed Trinity" [7, page 386-387]. M.R. Gasanov specifies that a number of settlements and farms - the Tsakhur, Dzhinikh, Mishlesh, Kusur - is known under the general name "Mountain Magal" or "Gerzhi Magal", i.e. "Georgian magal" [8, page 19-20].

Since the most ancient times through the Caspian Sea there were merchant caravans from Transcaucasia on Russia and to Europe. In the 17th century the Armenian and Georgian merchants visited many settlements of Dagestan. In particular, they long lived in Derbent which was the largest trade and craft center of the Caucasus and served as depository point from where "Dagestanis received goods at the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani merchants" [8, page 14]. Here crafts prospered, there were many caravanserais and the covered markets, merchants from the different countries met: from Russia, India, Central Asia, Byzantium, Georgia, Armenia, etc. By words E. Kozubsky, "Armenians long since made in Derbent quite visible part of the population, mainly commerce and industry" [1, page 305]. The large Armenian community lived in Derbent by the beginning of the 18th century. So, during the Persian campaign Peter I and the Russian troops accompanying it were met at walls of Derbent by representatives of the Muslim, Armenian and Jewish population of the city headed by the managing director of Derbent and its suite [9, page 62]. In the subsequent Peter I's army was placed in the Armenian and Indian caravanserais.

Merchants from Transcaucasia came to the trade and craft centers of Dagestan - Endirey, Tarki, etc. [10, page 115]. In the middle of the 17th century Dagestan was visited by the Turkish geographer traveler Evliya Chelebi. Characterizing the people living in a zone of location of the village of En-direy (Northern Dagestan) he writes that "all population knows languages of Persians, Georgians, Circassians, Kumyks, Kaitags, Moguls, bogol, heshdek, rus, Muscovites. and different other people" [11, page 115]. Thus, here, apparently, it was possible to meet representatives of the different people including the Georgian. On the legends which remained hitherto, Armenians lived in Endirey "in ancient times". In the neighborhood of the settlement there is a natural boundary under the name "Ermeli (El-bank) Kjaburlar", i.e. the Armenian cemetery (on another from the village to side of the Aktash River). Locals tell what there really was Armenians -

the sky cemetery, but gravestone monuments did not remain [12, page 311]. Tarkovsky of a shamkhala often gave to the Armenian and Georgian merchants supplies for transportation of goods. Sometimes Tarkovsky of a savdagara provided the vessels for transportation of goods. So, in 1673 to Astrakhan there came the Armenian merchant by the vessel employed in Tarkakh together with oarsmen [13, page 307].

In the XVI-XVII centuries the Armenians and Georgians made a small part of the multinational population of the city of the Grater in lower reaches of the Terek River which was the large shopping and political center at this time. As N.P. Gritsenko, on streets of the Tersky city, especially during its blossoming reports, it was possible to see Georgians, Armenians, Hindus, Turks, representatives of Central Asia, etc. [9, page 33]. According to sources, lived in it or temporarily there were Russians and Ossetians, Kabardians, Kumyks, Azerbaijanians, Armenians and Georgians..., etc. [14, page 265]. The traveler of the first quarter of the 17th century Fedor Kotov noted that in the Tersky city markets were arranged, big settlements were stretched [15, page 69]. In it there were "Russian ranks" and Gostiny Dvor: old, new and gilyansky where the Russian people and tezik, east merchants from Iran, Derbent, Transcaucasia and the visitors who located here for a long time [16, traded in page 52; 17, page 125].

With 20 - the 30th of the 17th century commercial relations of the Armenian merchants with Russia especially amplified. In the 17th century the way from Astrakhan on the North to the White Sea was quite often called "the Armenian trade road" [18, page 239]. In 1667 between Russia and the Armenian trading company "Nor-Dzhugi" the contract under which the Armenian merchants - citizens of the Iranian shah - were granted the privileges of free trade in Russia and the right of transit through Russia to Western Europe was signed [18, page 240]. The tsar Alexey Mikhaylovich informed Tarkovsky of a shamkhal on it and asked it to sign with the Armenian merchants "both about duties, and about supplies the contract, and to adopt that treaty belief that it to Terek and from the Grater to Tarkov Drive was free with any berezhenye for the fact that under goods their many number of yuk uchnut life from you camels and horses and in drive..." [19, page 58]. For maintenance of trade caravans of the Armenian merchants the special conductors receiving a certain payment were allocated, and the Dagestan feudal lords were responsible for safety of goods and safety of merchants. Thanks to the provided privileges, arrival cases on trade affairs of Armenians from Shemakha, Derbent and other Areas of Transcaucasia to the regions of Terek became more frequent and At - the Caspian Sea.

Increase in number of the Armenian, and especially Georgian population of Dagestan was indirectly promoted by a slave trade. Up to the 19th century, attacks on the territory of Transcaucasia, a cat were the frequent phenomenon - ry were followed by capture of people and the address to bondage of civilians. Georgia which broke up to independent possession which waged internal wars was one of subjects to attack. After the adoption of domination of sefevid in East GRU - ziya attacks to Georgia from the Dagestan feo-

dales amplified [20, page 187]. Andy flies settlement - one of the largest and most ancient Kumyk auls of Dagestan [21, page 101] was the known center of a slave trade of Dagestan in the 17th century. The settlement of Dzhar on border of Dagestan and Georgia [22, page 19-20] was one of the considerable slave markets of the region up to the 19th century. Besides, the live goods could be bought in the ancient centers of a slave trade - Tarkakh, Aksay, Kumukh and other places. The tsarist government pursued policy of a non-return of runaway Christians. The Russian authorities were redeemed not only the fellow countrymen, but also other brothers in faith irrespective of their ethnic origin: "... The peace people are obliged captured Christians what confession they would not be, to represent to the Russian chief for the known payment" [23, page 936]. Tersky voivodes had special money for repayment of Christian slaves [24, l. 27]. In documents there are data that the captives escaping from "the Lezghin prisoner-of-war camp" found a shelter in Graters from where could be transported to Astrakhan [25, page 40-41]. In the subsequent the cities of Dagestan - the fortress of the Sacred Cross, Kizlyar and Derbent - became a reliable haven for the Georgians and Armenians escaping from mountain prisoner-of-war camp.

Thus, the population of the Northeast Caucasus and Dagestan historically differed in national diversity. Since ancient times representatives of various people coexisted here. Armenians and Georgians began to appear in Dagestan on trade and other affairs long before carrying out official attraction by the Russian government of policy them to this region. By the beginning of the 18th century there were here Armenian and Georgian communities which were formed as a result of development of trade and economic and political connections between the people of the Caucasus.


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Dagestan state pedagogical university

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On November 1, 2006

Robert Brock
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