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The Ingush (Ingush: ГIалгIай Ghalghai, pronounced ) are a native ethnic group of the North Caucasus, mostly inhabiting the Russianmarker republic of Ingushetiamarker. They refer to themselves as Ghalghai (галгай, from Ingush ghal "fortress" and ghai "inhabitants"). The Ingush are predominantly Sufi Muslim and speak the Ingush language. Despite popular misconceptions, Ingush is not mutually intelligible with Chechen, though they are closely related. The Ingush and Chechen peoples are collectively known as the Vainakh.


Ingush people are Muslims of the Sufi tariqas Naqshbandi and Qadiriyyah.


  • 10,000-8,000 BC Migration of the linguistic ancestors of the Ingush people to the slopes of the Caucasus from the Fertile Crescent. Agriculture, irrigation, and the domestication of animals.

  • 6000-4000 BC Neolithic era. Pottery is known to the region. Old settlements near Ali-Yurt and Magas, discovered in the modern times, revealed tools made out of stone: stone axes, polished stones, stone knives, stones with holes drilled in them, clay dishes etc. Settlements made out of clay bricks discovered in the plains. In the mountains there were discovered settlements made out of stone surrounded by walls some of them dated back 8000 BC.

  • 4000-3000 BC Invention of the wheel (3000 BC), horseback riding, metal works (copper, gold, silver, iron) dishes, armor, daggers, knives, arrow tips. The artifacts were found near Naser-Kort, Muzhichi, Yi-E-Borz (now Surkhakhi), Abi-Goo (now Nazran).


Dzurdzuk is the legendary ancestor of the Nakh peoples, including the Ingush and Chechens, who are closely related linguistically. The endonym Ghalghay has been spelled Gargarei , Gelgai, and Galgai; the Georgian name is Glivi / Gligvi. The Ingush trace their descent from the Biblical Togarmah' Caucas line.

The Ingush came under Russian rule in 1810, but during World War II they were falsely accused of collaborating with the Nazis and the entire population was deported to Kazakhstanmarker and Siberiamarker with an estimated loss of a quarter to half of the population. They were rehabilitate in the 1950s, after the death of Stalin, and allowed to return home in 1957, though by that time northern Ingush lands had been ceded to North Ossetiamarker. In 1992 the remaining Ingush were expelled from their capital, Vladikavkazmarker.


The Ingush possess a varied culture of traditions, legends, epics, tales, songs, proverbs, and sayings. Music, songs and dance are particularly highly regarded. Popular musical instruments include the dachick-panderr (a kind of balalaika), kekhat ponder (accordion, generally played by girls), mirz ponder (a three-stringed violin), zurna (a type of oboe), tambourine, and drums.

See also


  1. Nichols, J. and Vagapov, A. D. (2004). Chechen-English and English-Chechen Dictionary, p. 4. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0415315948.
  2. Arutiunov, Sergei. (1996). "Ethnicity and Conflict in the Caucasus". Slavic Research Center

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