The deep, short gorges and glens which seam the southern slopes of the Caucasus are inhabited by Ossetes, Tushes, Pshays and Khevsurs in the west, and by various tribes of Lesghians in the east.
The inhabitants of the Kura valley consist principally of Iranian Tates and Talyshes, of Armenians and Lesghians, with Russians, Jews and Arabs.
The animating spirit of their resistance was Shamyl (Samuel), a chief and priest of the Lesghians, who, a Mahommedan, proclaimed a "holy war" against the "infidel" aggressors.
The general who at last broke the back of the long opposition of the prophet-chief of the Lesghians was Prince Baryatinsky, who after three years of strenuous warfare succeeded in capturing Shamyl's stronghold of Weden, and then in surrounding that chieftain himself on the inaccessible rocky platform of Gunib in the heart of Daghestan.
A few months later the Lesghians in Daghestan, who had risen in revolt, were defeated and their country once more reduced to obedience.