|The Ossetians descend from the Alans, a tribe of the Eastern Iranian Sarmatians who had immigrated to the Don and Volga area and founded a kingdom. In the late 1st century AD, first tribal groups migrated to the northern Caucasus area which had already been settled by tribes (Ingush people, Kabarday, Georgians).
The Alans were displaced by the invading Huns from the Southern Russian tribal area between 350 and 374 AD. More Alans migrated in the 7th century into the northern slopes of the Caucasus. In the 8th century AD they formed a new kingdom covering the areas of Cherkessia (todays Krasnodar region) and northern Ossetia-Alania. In the heyday of their time, there had been established a strictly centralized monarchy with a well-organized army profiting from the trade established on the Silk Road.
In the 9th century, there developed a new Alanian state (archbishopcry) which was christianized by Byzantine missionaries (916 AD). A small group, however, turned to the Islam, to the Sunni sect, as was the case with their neighbouring tribe, the Karbady.
In the 13th century, the state was devastated by the invading Mongols. Later on, the region again was suppressed, this time by the invading Ottoman, Tartars and Persian people. Some of them retreated to the mountains, where there still may be found numerous defence and tower houses. In the 17th century AD some of them invaded Kartli (todays Georgia) as refugees. In the 18th century Alanian Ossetia (todays northern Ossetia) obtained its independence. Conflicts between the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire, however, forced the Ossetians into an alliance with the Russian nation. The Ossetian language belongs to the Eastern Iranian language family, such as that of their predecessors, the Alans, and the Sarmatian tribes, their relatives.