Abaza are a small indigenous people of Russia who belong to the Abkhaz-Adyg language group. More than 40 thousand Abaza live in Russia. Abkhazians and Abaza together represent a single people - Abaza. In Russia, the Abaza live compactly in 13 villages of Karachay-Cherkessia, some of which are part of the Abaza region. The number of Abaza abroad, according to various estimates, ranges from 100 to 250 thousand. They live in more than 20 countries of the world, but most of the representatives of the ethnic group ended up in Turkey, Syria and Jordan as a result of the Caucasian War.
Abaza are autochthons (indigenous residents) of the Greater Caucasus. The territory of formation of the Abaza people is considered to be both the southern and northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Range. Back in the 4th–3rd millennia BC the ancestors of the Abaza lived on both sides of the Main Caucasian Range, as evidenced by ancient graves discovered by archaeologists, characteristic of the Abaza and Abkhazians. Similar finds indicate the habitation of the ancestors of Abaza in the Kuban basin along its tributaries Teberda and Kyafaru in the 3rd–2nd millennium BC.
Abaza are direct descendants of the Abazgs, who at the end of the 8th century managed to unite related tribes and create the Abazg Kingdom. It had a great influence on the cultural and political life of the peoples of the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. Being Orthodox Christians, the Abazgs left behind many architectural monuments - ancient Orthodox churches, which have survived to this day in the territory of Abkhazia and the North Caucasus. Abazgs - "obezs" in the Russian tradition - at the end of the 11th century participated in the picturesque decoration of the Assumption Cathedral of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv: they painted frescoes and covered the temple altar with mosaics. Later, the Kiev prince Izyaslav Mstislavich took the Abazg princess as his wife and brought her to Kyiv.
In the middle of the 18th century, the Caucasian War began, which played a fatal role in the further history of the Abaza. Many Abaza died during the battles, and another part was evicted to the Ottoman Empire. Those who remained were settled in the lowlands, far from their native lowlands. During the more than 100-year war, the Abaza, who inhabited the vast mountain-foothill strip of the Central Caucasus and the Black Sea region before it began, lost a significant part of their historical lands, and many representatives of the ethnic group died.
The Abaza language is one of the most complex in the world. It has 73 sounds, two of them are vowels, but additional ones are formed through combinations. The Abaza language has two dialects (Tapantine and Ashkhar) and four dialects. The basis of the literary language is the Cuban-Elburgan dialect of the Tapantine dialect. The closest language to the Abaza language is the Abkhaz one.
The national symbol is the Abaza flag. This is a rectangular panel, in the center of which is the open palm of the right hand. Seven five-pointed stars are located in a semicircle above the palm. The palm symbolizes the Abkhaz-Abaza statehood during the Abazg Kingdom. The seven stars above the palm are the seven historical regions in which the common ancestors of modern Abaza and Abkhazians lived: Sadzen (Dzhigetia), Bzyp-Gumaa, Abzhyuaa, Samurzakan, Dal-Tsabal, Pskhu-Aibga, Malaya Abaza.