Tabasarans - History and Cultural Relations

The Tabasarans are one of the indigenous groups of the Caucasus. In antiquity they were part of Caucasian Albania, and, when it fell, Tabasaran came to figure as an independent region in the historical sources. One of the first references to the Tabasarans is found in the writings of the Armenian author Fawstos Buzand (fourth to fifth centuries), who mentions an independent army of "Tabaspors." The classical Armenian author Egishe (fifth century), noting the peoples and tribes who were enlisted by the Armenian ruler Vasak, includes among them "the entire army of mountain and lowlands Tabasporan and the entire fortified inaccessible mountain country." They are mentioned in a seventh-century Armenian geography book under the name of "Tabaspars." Until the twelfth century there were two feudal estates on the Tabasaran territory, one in the north headed by a qadi (a judge in Quranic law) and one in the south headed by a maysum (a judge in customary or adat law). These were divided into smaller political units headed by begs. In addition to these feudal estates there were unions of village societies (Kïrakh, Churkul, Kukhruk, Suvak, Nitrig, Drich, and others). Tabasaran became part of Russia in the first half of the nineteenth century.

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