Now the Ubykh people themselves have practically disappeared. After the Caucasian Wars, the overwhelming part of the Ubykhs went to the seemingly friendly Turkey (although the Turkish ships repeatedly became the Ubykh prey), which in a few years “digested” their friends, completely assimilating them. The few remaining Ubykhs were taken hostage by their own way of life, the rejection of which separated them, and many outlawed them. After all, the overwhelming majority of them had by that time abandoned farming and cattle breeding; instead, men preferred high-yield sea robbery and slave trade.
Therefore, attempts to romanticize this, let the warlike and brave people to the author seem ridiculous, because slave trade - one of the most cave and dishonest acts of human stories. The famous ethnographer, archeologist, historian and actual state councilor of the Russian Empire, Adolph Berger, wrote about this dark side of the brave fighters of the mountains: “Plenoprodavstvo, a constant companion of robberies and forays, entered the manners and customs of mountain peoples and even spread to their own children ...”
Thus, in some sources, a repulsive custom is indicated, spread among the Ubykhs who were the flagship of the slave trade. For a huge dowry (ransom), some families “married” their own daughters and sisters to Turkey. In those circumstances, this “marriage” in fact constituted a sale into slavery. By the way, so many Ubykhs and migrated to Turkey, because they had a kind of kinship there.
The Ubykhs resided in territories in what is now Sochi, using the mouths of rivers flowing into the Black Sea, such as Khosta, Mzymta, Shah, Kudepsta, etc., as a kind of base for their pirate ships. Despite the fact that the term Ubykhia is often mentioned, as are Geniochia and Circassia (in Turkey, for example, Circassians generally referred to all people from the North Caucasus - Adygs, Abkhazians, Shapsugs, Natukhais and Ubykhs themselves), with the definition of “state” , united and marked by boundaries, has nothing in common. It is simply the name of the territory in which the people are mainly inhabited by culture and language.
Circassians. National Museum of Adygea, Maykop
The administrative structure of the Ubkh society was distinguished by conservatism and patriarchality, being practically tribal. The power over each race was an aristocrat (the patriarch of the oldest name, they did not have princes in a certain sense) - the head of the national union, and each clan owned its territory with all the ensuing consequences.
At the same time, the Ubykhs often created both tribal alliances even with kindred peoples (Abkhazians, Abazins, etc.), and fought with their kindred Circassian "colleagues" to rob small wars for control of territory or the right to single-handedly plunder merchant ships. By the end of the Caucasian wars, when part of the Abkhaz, not wanting to be a toy in the policies of Turkey and the West against Russia, became the empire’s citizenship, the Ubykh troops conducted punitive raids against former allies and essentially “relatives”. However, the Ubykh clans themselves were almost not hostile - this was due to the tradition of atalychism, when a very young Ubykh guy was sent to be brought up to his neighbors, or even to another tribe.
Circassian war galley
Despite a certain degree of fragmentation, the Ubykhs' military affairs were very highly placed. Unlike many Adyghe (Circassian) peoples, the military units of the Ubykhs could well be called an army. It was clearly organized and structured. There was avant-garde, cover units and supply groups. It is just a positive (if I may say so) effect on the pirate craft. In fact, the Ubykh commanders did not see much difference between the pirate attack and the conduct of hostilities. Thus, for all their small numbers, the Ubykhs were strongly distinguished even among the other kindred Circassian pirates.
The ships of this unusually warlike people deserve special mention. In part, these were the distant descendants of the Geniochian Kamars, because They were also fun, although they sometimes carried sailing weapons. But to compare them with camaras in everything would be the height of incorrectness. These ships were much larger and more likely looked like galleys, and in some sources they were called brigantines. It is worth making a small reservation confirming the use of sails. In Russian navy rowing brigantines existed, therefore sailors who saw the Ubykh pirate ship, sailing on oars and under sails, called them their usual term.
In the foreground is a model of a war galley. National Museum of Adygea, Maykop
The ships of the Ubykhs were of high speed and maneuverability at that time, and were sufficiently seaworthy. So, one of the princes Aublaa (princely Abkhazian and Ubykh aristocratic surname), namely the Sochi prince Ahmet Aublaa (it is believed that he was an Abkhazian by blood - the consequences of atalichestvo) in the first half of the 19 of the 20th century owned an extraordinary almost mythical brigantine. On it, at the head of a militant detachment of thugs, not only attacked merchant ships on the high seas, but also made desperate raids even on the Crimean and Turkish coasts, deftly escaping the pursuit of large ships of both the Russian Empire and Turkey. By the way, the glory of Ahmet Aubla on the Black Sea shores could not only compete in scale, but sometimes even surpassed the pirate glory of Henry Morgan or William Kidd.
Ubykhs formed entire fleets of war galleys, which, of course, it was already impossible to carry with them into the Caucasian forests, therefore the secluded estuaries served as shelter for them. These ships by their design belonged to the family of Circassian ships. By the end of the 18 century, the Ubykhs, like the rest of the Circassian peoples, began to arm their ships with small, light falcon coins. The guns were either bought abroad from Ubykhia, including in Turkey, or were mined in battle. The diameter of the barrel of the falconet did not exceed 50-60 mm, so they were used during boarding. Of course, they could not cause any damage to a large ship, even from a decent distance. But…
From here, by the way, the specific tactics of naval combat in the Ubykhs, which very much resembled the tactics of the geniokhs - a quick and sudden rapprochement with the enemy's ship and capture in boarding combat. When a large ship was attacked, the assault was carried out by several galleys from different sides. The maneuverable squat, independent of the direction and force of the wind, the galleys achieved the effect of surprise, attacking at night, in the fog or from the side of the sun.
If it was not possible to achieve the proper effect of surprise, the arrow-pirates with the help of flint-guns and the above-indicated falconet tried to suppress the recollected team with fire in order to become a ship aboard a ship. As soon as the boarding hooks sank into the wooden sides of the victim, the boarding team was instantly on the deck. The fate of the ship was sealed.
The fighters of such assault detachments were armed with musketones or, so-called, boarding pistols. it weapon, capable of firing grapeshot, having no accuracy in view of the design, had a great destructive power, and the weight of the grapeshot reached 80 grams. Also, the pirates, of course, were armed with pistols. But the distinctive feature of their weapons was, of course, the cold weapons so characteristic of the Caucasus.
The pirates' favorite weapon was checkers, but their arsenal was not limited to this. The elongated and enlarged daggers of Kama, which somewhat distantly resembled Roman short swords of gladiuses, were very popular, although the latter did not have a long narrow dale along the blade. And it was quite exotic against the background of other cold weapons, walking in the pirate environment, were daggers, sometimes referred to as swords, quadrat (the name of the kaddar is also found). Kvaddara has a straight blade with a slight bend, having a one-sided sharpening. At the same time, most often the chain mail that existed in the Circassian military environment was not popular at sea - it was worth falling overboard as a fighter instantly went to feed the fish.
Trade loot went briskly. Turkish businessmen flew to the “markets” of Ubykhia and Abkhazia. And sometimes the Ubykhs themselves went to the Turkish shores with notable “goods”, including people. In Turkey, there were even dozens of Circassian "trading" families settled in the Port for the convenience of doing business. Even during the Caucasian wars and the cruise of the Russian ships, in full conspiracy, giving light signals, the Turkish ships of merchants (in fact the smugglers and slave owners), pestered the shores of the North Caucasus. War, piracy and any disasters of the Caucasus have always brought a otter of Turkey and other countries.