The Great Game: Kanhlengo Topic

Kanhlengi History


The Kanhlengi are an ancient people-group who lived for millenia on the North Coast of the Black Sea, east of Crimea. They evolved cultural practices including a taboo on same-age coupling, a Hangul-style script, base 12 counting, a religion (Üaxikhsæ, the worship of Xæ), and their language, which is an isolate.

19th century

In the 1840s a series of catastrophic pogroms forced the Kanhlengi from their ancestral home, and they are now a diaspora across the world. Some continue to follow Üaxikhsæ while others are Christians, or have other real-world faiths.

Kanhlengo was in a state of flux from the pogroms of the 1840s till the turn of this century, with Albanian, Russian and anglophone kanhlengi communities diverging from one another.

In 1856, the Kanhlengi adopted a new flag after the Crimean War. It was designed after the Union Jack to signify their strong alliance with the United Kingdom.

Kanhlengi intellectuals in Tirana, Albania developed a Romanization of the Kanhlengo script in the late 19th century. 

20th century

In 1917, the Crimean Tatar people designed a flag based on the 1856 Flag of Kanhlengo.

By the late 20th century there were no native speakers with Kanhlengo as their primary language. However, as the millennium approached there was a new desire to revive the ancient language, and with it kanhlengi identity, culture, literature and religion.

21st century

In May 2001, in the Albanian city of Durrës, representatives from all over the Kanhlengi diaspora world met to decide the shape of contemporary kanhlengo. They chose the Kanhlengo of the first generation of exiles in the 1840s-1850s as their standard, and for the first time established a council, analagous to the Academie Francaise, to rule on neologisms. The Durrës protocol, in Kanhlengo, Russian, Albanian and English, gave a new lease of life to the language, and increasing numbers of Kanhlengi are bilingual in Kanhlengo, as well as a local language, and kanhlengo-medium schools have been established. One of the things established by the Durrës protocol was the name of other nations and languages, which until then had varied between different expatriate communities.

In 2004, the Kanhlengi officially recolored their flag in accordance with the Pride Flag to support movements for marriage equality around the world.

In 2020, the seal on the flag would be recolored black as a response to the George Floyd protests, giving us the modern version of the Flag of Kanhlengo.

Though until recently few Kanhlengi spoke their own language, there is now a move to reclaim it as their birthright, and establish xixiximas (kanhlengo schools) where the language can be learned. Attempts to return to the homeland and reestablish a presence there have been thwarted first by the antipathy of the USSR, and more recently by the continual tension between Ukraine and Russia.


Related Topics

Related Literature