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The Circassians are the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Caucasus. The Circassian or Adyghe language is part of the Northwest Caucasian language family, related to Kabardian, Abkhaz and Ubykh. The Circassians first emerged as a coherent entity some 6000 years ago. They were rarely politically united; nevertheless they successfully managed to resist countless invasions from great empires throughout their history. Circassians were never fully subjugated in their long history until the middle of the 19th century, when they were defeated and subjected to genocide at the hands of the Russian Empire. Today less than 10% of the Circassian population lives in their original homeland.