Nearly one-half of the population are Cossacks, the other ethnological groups being (1897) 2 7, 2 34 Armenians, 2255 Greeks, 1267 Albanians, 16,000 Jews and some 30,000 Kalmuck Tatars, who are Lamaists in religion.
The Kalmucks and other Mongolic tribes are Lamaists (20,300), and some of the Kurds profess the peculiar tenets of the Yezids.
They are Lamaists by religion and immigrated to the mouth of the Volga from Dzungaria, in the 17th century, driving out the Tatars and Nogais, and after many wars with the Don Cossacks, one part of them was taken in by the Don Cossacks, so that even now there are among these Cossacks several Kalmuck sotnias or squadrons.
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