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Hemshin peoples

Hemshin peoples
Hamshen people by country (Gardmanahay).jpg
Hamshen people by country
Total population
150,000 – 200,000
Regions with significant populations
 Russia (Krasnodar Krai)
Armenian (Homshetsi dialect)
Sunni Islam
Armenian Apostolic Church
Related ethnic groups

The Hemshin peoples (Armenian: Համշէնցիներ Hamshentsiner; Turkish: Hemşinliler), also known as Hemshinli or Hamshenis or Homshetsi, are a diverse group of peoples who in the past or present have been affiliated with the Hemşin district in the province of Rize, Turkey. It is generally accepted that they were Armenian in origin, and were originally Christian and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, but over the centuries evolved into a distinct ethnic group and converted to Sunni Islam after the conquest of the Ottomans of the region during the second half of the 15th century.

The term "the Hemshin" is also used in some publications to refer to Hemshinli.

Robert H. Hewsen shows the region where today's Hemşin is located to be populated by a people with different designations throughout the ancient and early medieval history. He indicates thereby that some designations may have alternative forms and partially presents the names used with question marks. In summary from 13th century to 6th century BC Kolkhians, 550 to 330 BC Kolkhiansa and Makrones, 180 BC to 14 AD Laz (Chanian tribes), in the Arsacid Period (63–298 AD) Heniokhians, Makhelones, Heptakometians, Mossynoeci as well as Sannians, Drilles and Makrones are mentioned.

The Hemşin region is shown as part of Colchis (299–387),Tzanica (387–591) and Chaldia (654–750). The specific location of Hemşin is indicated as Tambur/Hamamašen as a fort and town for the first time in the map covering the period 654–750.

Those two names (Tambur and Hamamašen) are included in the History of Taron by John Mamikonean in a short passage about a war between the ruler of Tambur, Hamam, and his maternal uncle the Georgian Prince, which resulted in the destruction of the town to be rebuilt by Hamam and be named after him namely Hamamshen. This event is declared by Mamikonian to have taken place in early seventh century. Hamamashen became Hamshen over time. Simonian who conveys this story reports also that the date given by the author may be wrong.


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