People have lived in the Caucasus since at least the 8th BCE, when the Greeks began to explore the region. A mountain range divides the region from north to south with the Black Sea to the west and the Caspian sea to the east. The Caucasus as a whole is ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse. The indigenous peoples, commonly referred to as ‘Circassian’, inhabit the coastal region and the inland mountain area in the north-western area of the Caucasus. They include the Adyghe, Abkhazian, and Ubykh tribes. They share a common language, culture and religion but rarely a united political culture.
Due to their location on the Black Sea coast, including the important ports of Anapa, Sochi and Tuapse, they were heavily involved in trade throughout the region.
For over a century, from 1763 to 1864, the Circassian people fought against Russian incursions but were gradually conquered in a series of battles and campaigns, referred to as the Russian–Caucasian Wars.