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Tsakhur people (Azerbaijan & Russia)

Last modified: 2008-12-06 by
Keywords: tsakhur | stars: 17 (white) | caucasus |
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[Tsakhur flag]

Alleged Tsakhur flag - Image by Jaume Ollé, 13 January 1997

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Presentation of Tsakhur people

The Tsakhurs form a small nation of c. 30,000 (2/3 in Azerbaijan's Zaqatala District, 1/3 in the Rutulskiy Rayon of Daghestan (Russia). They are Sunni Muslims and highly nationalistic.
The Tsakhur language belongs to the Lezgin group of Nakh-Dagestan branch of the Caucasian languages. The Tsakhur language got its written form in 1932 (Latin script), but was never used until now. Recently it became a medium of instruction in schools with Tsakhur pupils up to 4th grade in both, Dagestan and Azerbaijan (different alphabets). Some 93% of Tsakhurs can speak their own language, most being bilingual or trilingual.

Known to the ancient Armenians and Georgians as the builders of the mighty fortifications, the Tsakhurs resisted, in their mountain strongholds, the invasions of the Arabs (VIIth century), Tamerlane's army (1396), the Shahs of Shirvan (XIIth-XIVth centuries), Transcaucasian rulers (XVth-XVIth centuries) and Turkish and Persian sultans (XVIIth-XVIIIth centuries).
The Tsakhur Khanate (later Elisu Sultanate) was established in XVth century. In 1803 it became a subject to Russian Empire, but with substantial internal autonomy.
In 1844, Sultan Daniel-Bek supported the Shamil Revolt and, as a result of Russian pacification of the rebellion, the sultanate was dissolved in 1852 and the Tsakhurs found themselves under the direct Russian rule. The Soviet regime came to the area early in 1920 and divided the Tsakhurs between Dagestan ASSR and Azerbaijani SSR. Collectivization and anti-Islam propaganda followed. During the Second World war, the Tsakhurs withdrew to the mountains and managed to avoid any engagement, which proved fatal to so many nationalities of the Caucasus.

Chrystian Kretowicz , 8 June 2008

Alleged Tsakhur flag

James B. Minahan, in the book One Europe, Many Nations, shows and describes the alleged flag of the Tsakhurs as follows:

The Tsakhurs use a variation of the flag of the Confederation of Caucasian Highland Peoples that has seven green and white stripes with a large blue canton at the upper hoist bearing seventeen small white stars.

Chrystian Kretowicz, 8 June 2008