Learn more about Chechen people
- This article covers the Chechen people as an ethnic group. For the region, see the article Chechnya.
|Total population||1 - 2 million (est.)|
|Regions with significant populations||Chechnya (Russia), Turkey, Kazakhstan, Syria, Georgia|
|Religion|| Sunni Islam <tr>
<th style="background-color:#fee8ab;">Related ethnic groups</th> <td style="background-color:#fff6d9;">Ingush, Bats, Kists.</td>
Chechens (Chechen: Noxçi, singular Noxçuo) constitute the largest native ethnic group originating in the North Caucasus region. They refer to themselves as Nokhchi. There are many theories concerning the names origin, including: the village of Nakhsh, the remains of which can be found high in the mountains, nekhcha — sheep cheese, nokh — a plow. Some refer Biblical Noah (Nokha in Chechen). The Russian term for the Nuokhchi - "Chechen" - is also of debated origins, but the prevalant theory is that the ethnonym Chechen derives from the name of the ancient village of Chechana, which in Russian is written as Chechen-aul. The village is situated on the bank of the Argun River, near Grozny. The dispute concerning labels for the Chechen people is reflective of their ancient and enduring history. The isolated mountain terrain of the Caucasus and the strategic value outsiders have placed on the areas settled by Chechens has contributed much to the Chechen community ethos and helped shape a unique national character.
The Chechen people are mainly inhabitants of Chechnya, which is internationally recognized as part of Russia. From 1994 to 1996 a fierce and bloody war was waged all across this country's landscape, destroying cities and families. In 1996, a cease fire treaty between the Russians and Chechen forces was achieved.Dagestan and Moscow city). Outside Russia, countries with Chechen populations are Turkey, Jordan and Syria. These are mainly descendants of people who had to leave Chechnya during Caucasian Wars around 1850 which led to the annexing of the area called Ingushetia, which included the territories of Ossetia and Chechnya.
While many Chechens reside in Chechnya (population 1.3 million, including non-Chechens), more than 1,000,000 Chechens live in other areas of the Caucasus, Central Asia, and parts of Russia. About 100,000 are believed to be living in the rest of Europe. The ratio of males to females is approximately 1:1, and 33% of the population is urban dwelling, while 66% live in rural areas.
The main languages of the Chechen people are Chechen or Noxchiin mott and Russian. Chechen belongs to the family of Nakh languages (North-Central Caucasian Languages). Literary Chechen is based on the central lowland dialect. Other dialects include Ingush, which has speakers in Ingushetia, and Batsi, which is the language of the cattle-farmers in part of Georgia.
Chechen society is structured around 130 Teip, or clans. The teips are based more on land than on blood and have an uneasy relationship in peacetime, but are bonded together during war. Teips are further subdivided into gars (branches), and gars into nekye (patronymic families). The Chechen social code is embodied in the term “nokchallah”, which, although it resists direct translation into English, implies moral and ethical behavior-chivalry, generosity and the will to safeguard the honor of women.
Chechnya is predominantly Muslim, its inhabitants having converted to Islam under the Ottoman Empire during the 15th Century. Each clan is led by a spiritual mystic. Some adhere to a Sufi mystic branch of Sunni Islam called Muridism. About half of Chechens belong to Sufi brotherhoods, or tariqa. The two Sufi tariqas that spread in the North Caucasus were the Naqshbandiya and the Qadiriya. The Naqshbandiya is particularly strong in Dagestan and eastern Chechnya, whereas the Qadiriya has most of its adherents in the rest of Chechnya and Ingushetia.
The Nakhs' history links Nakhs with Hurrians in the 2nd-1st millenniums BC, Urartu in the 9th-6th cc. BC, post-Urartian period of the second part of the 1st millennium BC to the first half of the 1st millennium AD, Alania of the 1st-14th cc. AD (Scytho-Nakh Theory), Post-Alanian period of the 14th-19 cc. AD, and the modern Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods.
-  - Who are the Chechens? by Johanna Nichols, University of California, Berkeley.
-  - Shattering the Chechen-al Qaeda Myth by Brian Glyn Williams Part 1 The Jamestown Foundationbg:Чеченци