Bloody Kanzhal. Reasons and course of the battle


View of Elbrus from the Canjal plateau


According to official historiography, the battle took place in 1708, when the territory of Kabarda was subordinate to the Crimean Khanate. The Crimean khans and the Ottoman Empire considered Kabarda only as a supplier of slaves and slaves, and this was a very large item of income and the khanate, and Ports. The presence of beautiful Circassians in the harem was considered a sign of the high status of the owner. In those days, the title of prince-valiy (i.e. the elder prince) of all Kabarda was worn by the eldest son of Hatokshoko (Atazhuko) Kaziev - Kurgoko Atazhukin. Now this prince is the national hero of the Kabardins, who defied the Turkish-Tatar hordes.

From the very beginning of his reign, Kurgoko witnessed how the Crimean Tatars and the Nogais who joined them ruined his territory year after year. Supported by the almighty Porta, the united khan's troops met almost no resistance, although rebellions against the invaders rose in Kabarda with constant frequency. That is how in 1699, in the Beslenev lands, the kalg of the Crimean Khanate Shahbaz Girey was killed by local Circassians because of an attempt to take a beautiful girl of a noble family as a concubine in excess of the agreed number of people.

Punisher Kaplan I Giray


According to one version, part of the Besleeneites who killed the kalgas took refuge in Kabarda, which became the reason for the campaign of the Crimean Khanate against the Kabardians. However, there were many reasons to refuse to issue tribute and fugitives to the insatiable khans. For example, each new khan and his kalga traditionally began their reign with a robbery of Kabardians. And since the Crimean khans rarely sat on the throne for more than two years since the end of the 17th century, Kabarda fell into decay.

The punitive expedition for the murder and, in fact, the riot was postponed for several years for a variety of reasons - from internal strife in the khanate to the plague. As a result, the sultan brought to power the son of one of the most respected rulers of the Selim Giray, Kaplan I Giray.

Bloody Kanzhal. Reasons and course of the battle
Nogai and Crimean Tatar horsemen (from left to right)

The new Kaplan Khan I Giray instantly demanded from the Kabardians three thousand souls of the redemption and complete submission. Having been refused, he informed his highest "authorities" in the Port of the fact of disobedience. The Ottoman sultan Ahmed III, who ascended the throne of the empire during its stagnation, when the Porta lost its position and was torn by intrigues at court, did not want to lose influence in the North Caucasus. Therefore, he ordered Kaplan to personally lead a punitive expedition, ruin the Kabardians and burn their huts. According to various sources, obeying the will of the Sultan, Kaplan gathered an army of 30 to 40 thousand soldiers. The army was motley in composition, it consisted of the Crimean Tatars, and Turks, and Nogais. Also, some sources mention the presence of the Circassians directly in the ranks of the army, and more precisely, the Kemirgoites (West Adyghe tribe). This will later cause a lot of controversy, although at that time the practice of raiding even against kindred tribes was commonplace.

In the spring of 1708, the real horde of khan appeared in the Caucasus. At the beginning of the summer of that year, the troops of Kaplan I Girey broke into Kabarda, when most of the highlanders gathered their belongings and took the cattle high up into the mountains, already waiting for the usual ruin. The arrogant khan, completely confident in his abilities, was located in the Kanzhalsky plateau region, abundant in the small rivers and rich pastures necessary for his army of many thousands.

Desperate decisions, desperate measures


Kurgoko Atazhukin, while deciding to give the enemy a fight, was in the most difficult, even desperate situation. From the time of the first Kabardian embassy in 1565, headed by Mamstryuk Temryukovich Cherkassky, to the court of John IV Vasilievich, the Kabardian princes could count on the help of Russian troops. But after the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople by Peter the Great, the northern ally simply did not have the right to help, since the 7th article of the treaty fixed the Nogais and Circassians as peoples conquered by the Ottomans. Thus, any assistance to Moscow to the rebellious Kabardian prince-val would be interpreted as declaring war on Constantinople, and Peter I was already waging a heavy Northern War.


Kurgoko Atazhukin

Prince Atazhukin did not have allies in front of an enemy superior in numbers, whose army was better armed and trained. Total mobilization was carried out starting with a young man of 14 years old. A special role was given to the cavalry, which consisted of Warks, i.e. Circassian aristocracy. They were “armored” riders, wearing relatively light chain mail in the form of a “shirt” with short sleeves above their elbows. This Circassian cavalry lasted until the second half of the 19th century.

But the total number of soldiers that Kurgoko could put up did not exceed 20-30 thousand people. Therefore, an extremely competent and cunning plan of warfare in the created conditions was required. According to legend, the author of this plan was the legendary Zhabagi Kazanoko, who later entered history as an outstanding diplomat, poet, enlightener, personal adviser to the Kabardian princes and a supporter of the indispensable rapprochement between Kabarda and Russia.


Kabardian nobleman, horseman "shell"

Kazanoko suggested lulling the attention of the khan and his troops by expressing the humility of part of the Kabardins, in order to upset the unity of the Crimean forces, so that the khan would send part of the cavalry to punish the small rebels. According to this version, this cavalry was lured into the gorge and shot by Kabardian archers. And at night, the main forces of the Kabardins defeated the Khan’s troops remaining in the camp with a surprise attack.

The more versions, the louder the argument


However, this is only one of the many versions of the Battle of Kanzhal. Here, for example, what version is put forward by the first Adyghe historian, scholar and enlightener Shor Nogmov (“The History of the Adychean people”):

“Alerted even when the khan arrived outside the Kuban, the Kabardians sent all their property, wives and children to the mountains and themselves expected the enemy to approach the gorge of Urda. Khan, learning about this, changed his path and camped on the Kanzhal hill.

On the same day, Haleliy, a Tatar spy who had lived with Prince Kurgoko, came to the Kabardian camp. He informed the prince in detail about the intention of the khan, while mentioning that if the Kabardins did not attack the Crimeans the next night, then another or third night they would certainly be attacked. Kurgoko immediately ordered to collect about 300 donkeys and to attach two bales of hay to each.

Night fell, he went to the enemy and, approaching him, ordered all donkeys to light hay and drive them to the enemy camp, with several shots. The donkeys, with their terrible cry, frightened the enemy so much that he began to chop each other in unconsciousness and confusion; with dawn, the Kabardins rushed at them swiftly and completely defeated them. ”



Battle of Kanzhal. A fragment of a painting by Mukhadin Kishev, a Soviet and Russian artist

The last phrase “completely defeated them” in itself speaks of the end of hostilities. But here the psi (younger prince) Tatarhan Bekmurzin, the future prince-valiy and a supporter of the alliance with Russia, who is credited with direct participation in the battles at Kanzhal, later wrote that the battles with the "Crimeans" lasted almost two months. Thus, the Kanzhal battle, although not denied, is becoming one of the stages of a peculiar mountain-guerrilla war with the Turkish-Tatar invaders. And this is quite justified, since in the general battle the Kabardins would inevitably be defeated.

However, another historical source assigns an important role to Kanzhal - Dmitry Kanteminovich Kantemir, the ruler of Moldova, His Grace Prince of Russia, senator and historian. He echoes Shore Nogmov somewhat, indicating that there really was a night attack, but the bundles of brushwood were not tied to donkeys, but to a herd of horses of 300 goals. So, a flaming herd as if from the sky came down to the enemy camp, making a monstrous confusion. As soon as panic reigned, the Kabardinians rained down on the Khan's camp, encircling and carving out most of the invaders.

In general, references to the Battle of Kanjal can be found in many authors: Abri de la Motre in the work “Travel of Mr. A. de la Motre to Europe, Asia and Africa”, Xaverio Glavani in the work “Description of Circassia”, Seyid Mohammed Riza (Turkish historian and a writer of the 18th century), Mihailo Rakovica (ruler of Moldova) and others.

If we summarize the basic information, then the picture appears as follows. As Shora Nogmov pointed out, the Kanzhal battle took place in two places, so to speak, in two stages. At first, either by diplomatic cunning or by a fraudulent maneuver, part of the Khan's army was lured into a gorge suitable for an ambush, where Kabardian archers killed the invaders. Most often, it is believed that the ambush site was now the tourist and extremely picturesque Tyzyl Gorge, in which, according to superstition, genies live.


Tyzyl Gorge, supposedly the grave for thousands of soldiers of the Crimean Khanate

The final stage of the battle took place precisely in the area of ​​the Kanzhal plateau in the khan camp. Since the night sorties for the highlanders were not out of the ordinary, it was at night that the Kabardians surrounded the enemy and, letting the red rooster out thanks to the horses, defeated the main forces of Kaplan Girey. And the fact that the battles lasted up to two months is quite explainable. First, maneuvering in mountainous areas with small skirmishes with small groups of troops could last for weeks. Secondly, as you know, the khan survived, although he received a wounded arm, and retreated with the surviving warriors through hostile territory, and the highlanders generally have a passion to pursue a retreating enemy, delivering quick horseback strikes.

Oddly enough, but the bloody battle that took place near the plateau lost in the Caucasus Mountains will affect the international politics of the most powerful states of its time. In addition to the wounded Crimean Khanate, which received a severe blow to its reputation, the Battle of Kanzhal will reduce the degree of influence of the powerful Ottoman Empire and unwittingly become a help to Peter the Great himself. The most surprising thing is that even now the debate over the Battle of Kanzhal can result in negative political consequences or, even worse, in a paramilitary confrontation, because the view on this landmark historical event in the Caucasus is more than ambiguous.

To be continued ...
Author:
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

22 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Range 1 February 2020 04: 00 New
    • 2
    • 1
    +1
    The Caucasian Wars they are, well, warriors too. wink
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka 1 February 2020 07: 10 New
      • 17
      • 1
      +16
      Many thanks to the author. Once again, he opens a page of history little-known to me! Regards, Kote!
      1. Mountain shooter 1 February 2020 09: 22 New
        • 4
        • 2
        +2
        Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
        Many thanks to the author. Once again, he opens a page of history little-known to me!

        A page of history unknown to me ... A lot of blood flowed on these stones. In the fire and blood of these battles a type of mountain warrior was forged. Courageous and physically perfect ...
        1. rich 1 February 2020 13: 26 New
          • 5
          • 0
          +5
          Dear author, touched on a very painful topic for the Caucasus. For the Circassians, Kabardians, Abkhazians and other Adyghe-speaking peoples, this battle is one of the symbols of national heroism. The Turkic peoples of the Caucasus, especially the Balkars, have a negative attitude to this topic: the slogan “There was no Kanjal battle” was widespread among them. There is a third version - that the battle was an episode of the feudal war, and not the national liberation. Her supporters point out that this was an intra-Bardin conflict, where Circassians fought on both sides of the conflict. This is indirectly confirmed by the letters of the influential Kabardian prince Tatarkhan Bekmurzovich to his eternal allies, the Wallachian and Moldavian rulers Mikhaila Rakovitsa and Dmitry Kantemir, and the ataman of the Greben Cossacks Bekovich (Khasbulat), asking them not to intervene in the Kabard, but simply cut off hordes of Tav-Soltan and Aslyam-Mambet
          1. Olgovich 1 February 2020 15: 36 New
            • 5
            • 4
            +1
            Quote: Rich
            just cut off Kabarda of the Bujak Tatars

            Wow: where is Kabarda, and where .... Budzhak! This is more than 1,5 thousand km! recourse
            1. rich 1 February 2020 15: 57 New
              • 5
              • 0
              +5
              Andrey, I welcome you hi
              Knowing your meticulousness, I’ll get better
              cut off from the Kabarda Budzhak Tatars

              This is my not entirely successful interpretation. It will be more correct - Tatarkhan Bekmurzovich addressed his allies to the Wallachian sovereign Mihail Rakovitsa and the Moldavian sovereign Dmitry Kantemir with a request to prevent the Bujak horde from entering Kabarda yes
              1. Olgovich 2 February 2020 07: 44 New
                • 2
                • 4
                -2
                Quote: Rich
                This is my not entirely successful interpretation. It will be more correct - Tatarkhan Bekmurzovich addressed his allies to the Wallachian sovereign Mihail Rakovitsa and the Moldavian sovereign Dmitry Kantemir with a request to prevent the Bujak horde from entering Kabarda

                Hello Dmitry! hi

                Clear.
                By the way, there is a version that the Bujak Tatars, when they left Bessarabia, were divided: a part (large) went to the territory of modern Romania (where their descendants, 25 thousand people still live), and the smaller went south and got to the Caucasuswhere they joined the local ethnic groups ....
      2. The comment was deleted.
  2. Olgovich 1 February 2020 06: 51 New
    • 11
    • 4
    +7
    Battle of Kanjal will reduce the influence of the mighty Ottoman Empire

    As well as the Crimean Khanate.
    The 18th century was the century of the end of this predator, which spread its possessions on the Black Sea coast from the Caucasus in the south to modern Romania in the north.

    In the same Bessarabia there lived a large Nogai horde (Bujak Tatars).

    and only after Russia's victory in the war of 1812 over Turkey, the Tatars, who sided with, naturally, Turkey, left the territory of Russian Bessarabia ...
    1. rich 1 February 2020 14: 08 New
      • 6
      • 0
      +6
      In a letter to the university. Tatarkhan Bekmurzovich, scarlet to Khasbulat, wrote: “I inform you, my dear brother, our Kabardinians, with despair of their belly and with all jealousy, forty thousand Crimean troops, having met at Mount Kanzhal ... they received a perfect victory at night by beheading. Eleven thousand Crimean troops were defeated by that mountain. . The khan himself left in the same caftan with small people, while others were killed from the mountains without a fight. Soltan [heir-kalga] was captured and many of their murzes and ordinary Crimeans, many four thousand horses and armor, a lot of 14 guns, 5 bombs, a lot of buzzers and all of their treasury of powder. And the tents that they have are all taken. Our slander remained without Turkish intercession. Send this message to the tsar, or the governor to Ashtarkhan [Astrakhan] ... "
  3. Free wind 1 February 2020 13: 49 New
    • 1
    • 1
    0
    Wow, what an advanced Nogan, he practices yoga, he even carries a rug for meditation. laughing
    1. Freeman 1 February 2020 16: 22 New
      • 2
      • 1
      +1
      Quote: Free Wind
      Wow, what an advanced Nogan, he practices yoga, he even carries a rug for meditation. laughing


      Well, if the "rug" is not for yoga, but for performing prayer.

      And so, judging by how it is located in the equipment - this is a quiver for arrows.
      The Kabardian "shell" is almost the same, only behind its back.
      1. Shurik70 1 February 2020 23: 13 New
        • 0
        • 0
        0
        And the artist Muhadin Kishev is just a master ...
        Soviet, Russian.
        Especially successful were the rows of horses running "in the foot."
        Yes, children at school can sometimes better draw that people, that horses!
  4. alsoclean 1 February 2020 16: 47 New
    • 1
    • 0
    +1
    Tyzyl Gorge - yes! Really Grave for the cavalry ... Thanks - very interesting
  5. Lamata 1 February 2020 19: 21 New
    • 1
    • 1
    0
    you look at the photo of the gorge and ask yourself how could the cavalry act there at all. Thanks to the author.
  6. alsoclean 1 February 2020 19: 30 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    Quote: Lamata
    you look at the photo of the gorge and ask yourself how could the cavalry act there at all. Thanks to the author.

    Krymchaks - they could do a lot .... Irregulars and, in a sense, nomads ..........
    1. Lamata 1 February 2020 19: 54 New
      • 1
      • 1
      0
      there the vegetation is very dense, and nat mollies along the bed of a mountain river !!! will not pass, flow and rocky bottom. Maybe then the natural conditions were a little different.
      1. Andobor 6 February 2020 11: 02 New
        • 1
        • 0
        +1
        Yes, the climate was different - there was drier land, there was no forest in the gorge, besides, cattle were regularly driven there to the highlands, to the alpine for summer pastures, and at the beginning of summer everything burned out in the obligatory zone.
        Yes, according to our concepts, the federal highway was there, the invaders rushed along it, the Kabardins drove along the summer pastures, probably they had to feed their horses, they ate everything below, - it dried up, - what time is it ?.
  7. Storekeeper 1 February 2020 21: 33 New
    • 1
    • 0
    +1
    Well, why you can’t write an entire article at once !!! I hate waiting for the continuation, I want today I want now !!!!
  8. Zaurbek 2 February 2020 09: 12 New
    • 1
    • 0
    +1
    In a lightweight form:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ovSoFxYtj8
  9. gorenina91 3 February 2020 16: 05 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    - Personally, I didn’t understand anything ...
    - Is that ...- a legend, a legend, some kind of mountain ballad. ???
    -Everything somehow .., to put it mildly ...- implausible ...
    -For what is the cavalry of the aggressors suddenly trampled into the gorge., In which the infantry can also break all legs ..- and here the riders on horses ...- several thousand riders ...- completely absurd ... -And the invaders have artillery, which they probably also dragged into the gorge. ???
    At the beginning of the summer of the same year, the troops of Kaplan I Girey broke into the territory of Kabarda, when most of the highlanders gathered their belongings and took the cattle high up into the mountains

    -And what did this cattle eat and drink in the mountains where it grazed. ???
    -And then :
    He echoes Shore Nogmov somewhat, indicating that there really was a night attack, but the bundles of brushwood were not tied to donkeys, but to a herd of horses of 300 goals. So, a flaming herd descended from the sky to the enemy camp, introducing a monstrous confusion. As soon as panic reigned, the Kabardinians rained down on the Khan's camp, encircling and carving out most of the invaders.

    -And what made this "herd of horses of 300 goals" with set fire to tails run in a straight line and precisely to the enemy’s camp ??? -And why would he not rush in different directions and do not trample his arsonists of "tormentor-fiends" right on the spot ???
    In addition to the wounded Crimean Khanate, which received a severe blow to its reputation, the Battle of Kanzhal will reduce the influence of the powerful Ottoman Empire and unwittingly become a help to Peter the Great himself.

    -And what is this battle, if it really had a place to be, caused such damage to the Crimean Khanate and the OI ???
    - Most likely it was a mosquito bite to an elephant and no more ... -I don’t want to offend anyone, it's just IMHO; but I don’t believe in fairy tales personally ...
    1. Andobor 6 February 2020 10: 51 New
      • 1
      • 0
      +1
      High in the mountains are vast plateaus - summer alpine pastures of Kabardians, where they, as always, up to the present, and left with cattle for the summer, the Tyzyl Gorge is a road to these pastures, there Kabardins went with all their cattle, and invaders could go there. In those days it was drier, there was less forest in the gorge, and there was also a regular cattle drive — there was a federal highway there, according to our ideas, and where else to go ?.
  10. Elturisto 3 February 2020 21: 45 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    Thank you. Interesting. This article debunkes the constant assurances of nationalists about the happy existence of the peoples of the North Caucasus until the 18th century.