Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kumyks are a Turkic people occupying the Kumyk plateau in north Dagestan and south Terek, and the lands bordering the Caspian Sea. They comprise 12% of the population of the Russian republic of Dagestan.
It is supposed that Ptolemy knew them under the name of Kami and Kamaks. Various explorers see in them descendants of the Khazars. A. Vambry supposes that they settled in their present quarters during the flourishing period of the Khazar kingdom in the 8th century. It is certain that some Kabardians also settled later.
During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries CE the Kumyks had an independent kingdom, based at Tarki , and ruled by a leader called the Shamkhal .
The Russians built forts in their territory in 1559 and under Peter I. Having long been more civilized than the surrounding Caucasian mountaineers, the Kumyks have always enjoyed some respect among them. The upper terraces of the Kumyk plateau, which the Kumyks occupy, leaving its lower parts to the Nogai Tatars, are very fertile.
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