Every so often you stumble across a piece of history that you never knew existed. Not one of those ‘known unknowns’ that you know you’re unfamiliar with, like, say, the Defenestrations of Prague, but something completely new.
Today is the Circassian Day of Mourning, held to commemorate the genocide of the Circassian people by the forces of Tsarist Russia. Now I consider myself to be fairly well informed, but here’s a story of how, just 150 years ago, around 400,000 people were killed and nearly 500,000 were effectively banished to Turkey (these are official figures, and may be closer to 1.5 million in truth), and yet I’m willing to bet that very few people in the UK have heard of this. Or maybe they have and my general historical knowledge is much worse than I thought.
It’s an illustration of just how big history is, and how in the process of that history becoming a narrative, certain stories get lost or don’t get the traction they need to become one of those things that everyone just seems to know. I hadn’t even heard of the Circassians, and yet there’s a history, a culture, a legacy that still has implications for people today. It’s one of the beauties of the internet that episodes like this can become more widely known, and may put an onus on bloggers to spread word of the lesser known facts and histories and discoveries that we stumble across. It’s all part of making the world a bigger and yet more connected place.