David Urquhart's holy war, by Joseph Brewda and Linda de Hoyos

The Circassian national flag that was designed by David Urquhart.

Executive Intelligence Review - I. The History of Britain’s ‘Great Game’ in Caucasus, Central Asia, September 10, 1999

In 1785, a Chechen leader, Naqshbandi Sufi Sheikh Mansur, raised the Chechen, Ingush, Ossetes, Kabard, Circassian, and Dagestani tubes in revolt against the steady advance of the Russian Empire into the Caucasus Mountains. Before 1774, the Caucasus and Transcaucasus region, now embracing Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, had been loosely ruled by the Persian and Ottoman empires. After Russia's victory over the Ottoman Empire in the war of 1768-74, the Russian military moved in on the Caucasus. Sheikh Mansur raised the flag of the "Mountain Peoples" against the czar. Although Mansur's 20,000-man force was crushed by the Russian onslaught in 1791, Sheikh Mansur became the hero of the Mountain Peoples, his revolt the inspiration for the uprisings in the Caucasus today.

Strangely, Sheikh Mansur was not a Chechen. He had been born Giovanni Battista Boetti, and had been a Dominican monk before his conversion to Islam. Although Boetti's direct ties to Venice and London are not known, his rebellion served their geopolitical aims.

Years later, another hero of the Mountain Peoples emerged. In 1837, James Bell, an agent of the British secret services who was touring the Caucasus, wrote in his memoirs that "a Circassian prince pointed out [to me] the sacred spot (as they justly esteem it) where Daud Bey had held (just three years ago) his meeting with the chieftains of this neighborhood, and first inspired them with the idea of combining themselves with the other inhabitants of the mountain provinces as a nation, under one government and standard." Daud Bey had penned the declaration of independence of Circassia and designed its flag

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