Dagestan is a republic of Russia, between the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. The capital is Makhachkala.
Because its mountainous terrain impedes travel and communication, Dagestan is unusually ethnically diverse, and still largely tribal. Most of its people are Muslim.
In 1999, Dagestan was invaded by a group of Muslim fundamentalists from Chechnya under the command of Shamil Basayev. This helped prompt the Russian decision to invade Chechnya later that year.
The famous Muslim leader Imam Shamil was from Dagestan.
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