|Regions with significant populations|
|Adyghe (native), Russian, Hebrew|
|Predominantly Sunni Islam with Khabzeist, irreligious and Christian minorities|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Circassians and Abazgi (Abkhaz, Abazin)|
The ethnonym Adyghe (Adyghe: , romanized: Adygè; Russian: , romanized: Adygi) is used as an endonym by the Caucasian-speaking Circassians of the North Caucasus. The name Adyghe (also transliterated as Adyga, Adyge, Adygei, Adyghe, Attéghéi) is believed to derive from atté "height" to signify a mountaineer or a highlander, and ghéi "sea", signifying "a people dwelling and inhabiting a mountainous country near the sea coast", or "between two seas".
Adyghe is also used to describe those who speak the Adyghe language or 'West Circassian'. The Circassian peoples are divided into tribes or clans (tlapq). Of the twelve Circassian tribes, ten are Adyghe tribes (or subgroups), out of which four are identified[by whom?] as speaking mutually intelligible Adyghe dialects: Abzakh, Bzhedug, Temirgoy and Shapsug.
Most Adygheans in Russia are inhabitants of the Republic of Adygea, a federal subject of Russia located in the southwestern part of European Russia, enclaved within Krasnodar Krai, where it is used to describe them as a demonym. Their name is also rendered as Adygeans (Russian: , romanized: Adygeytsy).[a] There are also smaller numbers of Adygheans in the regions surrounding Adygea in Krasnodar Krai.
The Adyghe people are one of the Circassian peoples, along with the Cherkess (of Karachay-Cherkessia) and Kabards (of Kabardino-Balkaria), from whom they are geographically separated by the Slav-inhabited Laba region. The Adyghe language is mutually intelligible with that of the Cherkess and Kabards, which is Kabardian or 'East Circassian'. However, there is a consensus that these are typologically distinct languages. The standard (literary) Adyghe language is based on the dialect of the Temirgoy tribe.
The Adygheans, known as "western Circassians" per Soviet terminology from the 1930s, use a written language separated by Soviet policy from those of the Cherkess ("central Circassians") and Kabards ("eastern Circassians"), despite the possibility to have a unified one. The Adyghe-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast was established in July 1922, "Cherkess" being dropped from the name in August 1936.
According to the 2010 census of Russia, the number of self-declared ethnic "Adyghe" is 124,835 (0.09%). The community included 107,048 in Adygea itself (ca. 25% of the republic's population), 13,834 in Krasnodar Krai, 569 in Moscow. The majority of the population in Adygea declare as Russians (63.6%). In 2002 it was estimated that the community numbered 131,000 in all of Russia. The other closely related groups, Kabards and Cherkess, numbered 516,826 (0.38%) and 73,184 (0.05%), respectively. Those that declared as Shapsug, who speak an Adyghe dialect and are regarded an Adyghe subgroup, were counted as a separate ethnic group in the censuses and numbered 3,882.
There is a significant Adyghe diaspora. It was estimated in 1997 that there were 71,000 Adyghe-speakers in Turkey, 44,000 in Jordan, and 25,000 in Syria.
The political history of the Adyghe in Adygea since the Russian Revolution is complex. On 27 July 1922, a Circassian (Adygea) Autonomous Oblast was established in the Kuban-Black Sea Oblast, which would later become Krasnodar Krai. After several name changes, the Adyghe Autonomous Oblast was established on 3 August 1928. On 5 October 1990, the Adygea ASSR was proclaimed and separated from Krasnodar Krai. On 24 March 1992, it became the Republic of Adygea. A significant population of the Adyghe community now lives in the Black Sea region of Northern Turkey where their culture is preserved in villages in the area.