The Laz are an ethnic group native to the Black Sea coastal regions of Turkey and Georgia. One of the chief tribes of ancient kingdom of Colchis, the Laz were initially early adopters of Christianity, and most of them subsequently converted to Sunni Islam during Ottoman rule of Caucasus in the 16th century. The Laz of Turkey form two principal groups. One of these is indigenous to the eastern Black Sea province formerly known as Lazistan (modern Rize and Artvin provinces). The other group fled the Russian expansion later in the 19th century and settled in Adapazari, Sapanca, Yalova and Bursa, in western and eastern parts of the Black Sea and Marmara regions, respectively. The Laz speak the Laz language, related to Mingrelian, Georgian and Svan (Kartvelian languages). Laz identity in Georgia has largely merged with a Georgian identity and the meaning of "Laz" is seen as merely a regional category, and are mainly concentrated in Ajaria.
Contributions by Kober, TuTasTemre LAZ, and Kolkhianboy.