Baron Pyotr Karlovich Uslar, major general of the Russian army, military engineer arrived in the Caucasus at the height of the Caucasian war to serve in the combat engineer battalion. However, he entered the history of the Caucasian peoples not as a conqueror, but as a creator. Uslar's main passion and vocation was linguistics and ethnography. He was part of the Caucasus department of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, was a corresponding member in the category of linguistics of the Historical and Philological Department of the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Empire. On the instructions of the Academy, his entire stay in the Caucasus with a short break, from 1837 until his death in 1875, Uslar worked on compiling the history of the Caucasus. This became a matter of his life, and even according to the recollections of Uslar's daughter, he raved for several days before his death and "spoke loudly, incessantly calling on the highlanders with whom he was engaged in Shura, especially the Kazanfer." (Kazanfer-Beck, a resident of the village of Mamrach in Dagestan, Lezgi informant of Uslar - ed.).
Uslar saw in language a reliable source of the history of the people and therefore he first turns to the study of Caucasian languages. He began his research with the languages of the Western Caucasus - with Circassian, Ubykh and Abkhaz. He managed to gather some information on the first two, brief notes on the Circassian and Ubykh were published after the death of Uslar. However, Uslar studied the Abkhaz language in more detail.
He began his study of the grammar of the Abkhaz language in 1861 in Sukhum and continued in 1862 already in Tiflis. In just two years, he managed to figure out the structure of one of the most complex languages of the Caucasus and develop its alphabet based on its Bzyb dialect. He created a primer of 55 characters, which was based on the Cyrillic alphabet. Thus began the history of Abkhaz writing.
Three years later, in 1865, the primer of another Russian general Ivan Bartolomei appears, which was subsequently used for another thirty years. It used the Uslar alphabet with minimal modifications.
In 1882, the teacher of the Sukhum Mountain School Konstantin Machavariani and his student Dmitry Gulia improved the Abkhaz alphabet. In particular, they reduced the number of letters to 51, having removed letters from the alphabet to denote the phonemes of the Bzyb dialect. It was the primer of Machivariani and Gulia that was first actively used in schools in Abkhazia.
The alphabet of Machavariani and Gulia was improved by the teacher and public figure Andrey Chochua and has been used in Abkhaz schools since 1909. This alphabet of 64 characters was valid until 1926, it was used for publishing of educational and fiction books, newspapers.
Subsequently, throughout the twentieth century, the Abkhaz alphabet changed the graphic basis, from Cyrillic, to Latin, Georgian and again to Cyrillic.
In 1954, it was decided to return to the alphabet of Andrey Chochua, which is used today with some modifications.