Laz people

Laz, Lazi
(ლაზი, ლაზეფე)
Arkhabi.jpg
Statue of a Laz man and woman in Arhavi (Ark'abi), Turkey
Total population
45,000 to 1.6 million
Regions with significant populations
 Turkey
  • 1.6 million[1]
  • or 500,000 to 1,000,000[2]
  • or 250,000[3]
  • or 45,000 to 500,000[4]
 Georgia2,000[4]
 Germany1,000 to 1,500[5]
 Russia160[6]
Languages
Laz, Georgian, Turkish
Religion
Majority Sunni Islam[7]
Minority Georgian Orthodoxy[8]
Related ethnic groups
Mingrelians, Svans and other groups of Kartvelians

The Laz people or Lazi (Laz: Lazi, ლაზი; Georgian: ლაზი, lazi; or ჭანი, ch'ani; Turkish: Laz) are an indigenous Kartvelian-speaking ethnic group[9] inhabiting the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia.[10]

Estimates of the total population of the Laz people today vary drastically, with numbers as low as 45,000 to as high as 1.6 million people, with the majority living in northeast Turkey. The Laz speak the Laz language, a member of the same Kartvelian language family as Georgian, Svan, and Mingrelian.[11][12] The Laz language is classified as endangered by UNESCO, with an estimated 130,000 to 150,000 speakers in 2001.[13]

Etymology

The ancestors of the Laz people are cited by many classical authors from Scylax to Procopius and Agathias, but the Laz (Greek: Λαζοί) themselves are cited by Pliny around the 2nd century BC,[14][15] The ethnonym "Laz" is unhesitatingly linked to a Svan toponym La-zan (i.e. La = territorial prefix + Zan).

By the 6th century, the Colchians of Pontus were known as the Tzanni (Ancient Greek: Τζάννοι), at the same time when the Caucasian state of Lazica (or Egrisi in Georgian sources) existed on the Phasis valley basin. According to Procopius, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I subdued Tzanni in the 520s and converted them to Christianity.[16] When the ancient metropolis, Phasis, was lost by the Byzantine Empire, Trebizond became the Metropolitan bishop of Lazica, since then the name Lazi appears the general Greek name for the southern Colchian tribes (Greek: Τζανοί, translit. Tzanoi) lying outside of the direct control of the Lazic Kingdom.

The Pontic Lazi, which were incorporated within the Byzantine Empire, and differed from the Caucasian Lazi, or Megrelians, have retained the old name "Lazi" till today.

Other Languages
العربية: شعب اللاز
aragonés: Lazes
azərbaycanca: Lazlar
تۆرکجه: لاز‌لار
български: Лази
català: Lazis
Deutsch: Lasen
eesti: Lazid
Ελληνικά: Λαζοί
español: Lazes
Esperanto: Lazoj
فارسی: لازها
français: Lazes
Հայերեն: Լազեր (ազգ)
Ирон: Лазтæ
italiano: Laz (popolo)
עברית: לאזים
ქართული: ლაზები
kurdî: Laz
лакку: Лаз
magyar: Lázok
македонски: Лази
მარგალური: ლაზეფი
Nederlands: Lazen
日本語: ラズ人
polski: Lazowie
português: Lazes
română: Lazi
русский: Лазы
shqip: Lazët
српски / srpski: Лази (народ)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Lazi
suomi: Lazit
svenska: Lazer
Türkçe: Lazlar
українська: Лази (субетнос)
Zazaki: Lazi
中文: 拉兹人