The next seven years were occupied with the subjugation of the Abkhasians along the Black Sea coast, and of other Circassian tribes in the west.
During the RussoTurkish War of 1877-78 the self-exiled Circassians and other Caucasian mountaineers, supported by a force of 14,000 Turks, made a determined attempt to wrest their native glens from the power of Russia; but, after suffering a severe defeat at the hands of General Alkhazov, the Turks withdrew, and were accompanied by some 30,000 Abkhasians, who settled in Asia Minor.
Pop. 43,000, of whom two-thirds are Mingrelians and one-third Abkhasians, a Cherkess or Circassian race.
The total number of Abkhasians in the two governments of Kutais and Kuban was 72,103 in 1897; large numbers emigrated to the Turkish empire in 1864 and 1878.
The population belongs almost entirely to the Kartvelian or Georgian group, and is distributed as follows: Imeretians, 41.2%; Mingrelians and Lazes, 2 2.5%; Gurians, 7.3%; Ajars, 5.8%; Svanetians, 1.3%; of other nationalities there are 6% of Abkhasians, 2.6% of Turks, 2.3% of Armenians, besides Russians, Jews, Greeks, Persians, Kurds, Ossetes and Germans.
Before the Russian conquest the native inhabitants of this region were Kabardians, Circassians (Adigheh) and Abkhasians, also a Circassian race.