1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shamyl
SHAMYL (c. 1797-1871), the leader of the tribes of the Caucasus in the war against Russia. He was born about 1797 and, educated by the Mullah Djemaleddin, soon took a leading part in preaching a holy war against the Russians. He was both the spiritual and military leader of the tribes, who maintained the struggle for twenty-five years (1834-1859). This perpetual guerrilla was a severe strain upon the resources of the great power, and Shamyl's romantic fight for independence, making him a sort of ally of England and France at the time of the Crimean War (1853-55), earned him a European reputation. But the capacity of the tribes for resistance was already failing, and when at the close of the Crimean War Russia was able to employ large forces on the Caucasus, the defenders were gradually subdued, Shamyl himself being captured in 1859. The rest of his life was spent in an easy captivity at Kaluga, St Petersburg and Kiev. He died at Mecca during a pilgrimage in 1871. One of his sons took service in the Russian, the other in the Turkish army.