Why did they move?

Why did they move?

Although we can establish a lot of factual information about the people who moved, when they moved, how they moved and where they went, it can sometimes be difficult to establish the facts when examining the motives of people and governments, particularly when there are accusations of massacres and the use of excessive force.  Written documents cannot always be trusted if the people writing them have something to hide or wish to influence international opinion. Sometimes, as the editor of the Times of London wrote in 1864, we may not have the full accurate account of why so many Circassians moved or were forcibly moved but there is sufficient information available to make a good inference about it. 

 

Some interest will naturally be manifested as to the causes which have led the Circassian people to abandon their hearths and property, and to take refuge, under fearful difficulties and dangers, in a foreign territory. On this subject it is rather difficult, as I have already stated, to arrive at the accurate truth. The privations, the hardships, and the loss of life which have attended the first stages of the emigration have not weakened the determination of those left behind to brave the same dangers, rather than remain on their native soil. There is ample ground for inference, therefore – and the Circassians so represent it – that the Russians’ rule in the Caucasus is of a nature which cannot be endured. The sacrifice of independence alone would surely not have induced 300,000 people to fly in a body from their country

The Times of London, Circassian Exodus, 9 May 1864