Kuban (Russian: Кубань; Adyghe: Пшызэ) is a geographic region of Southern Russia surrounding the Kuban River, on the Black Sea between the Don Steppe, the Volga Delta and the Caucasus, and separated from the Crimean Peninsula to the west by the Kerch Strait. Krasnodar Krai is often referred to as "Kuban", both officially and unofficially, although the term is not exclusive to the krai and accommodates the republics of Adygea, Karachay–Cherkessia, and parts of Stavropol Krai.
The settlement of Kuban and of the adjacent Black Sea region occurred gradually for over a century, and was heavily influenced by the outcomes of the conflicts between Russia and Turkey. In the mid-18th century, the area was predominantly settled by the mountainous Adyghe tribes. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, the population of the area started to show more pro-Russian tendencies.
In order to stop Turkish ambitions to use Kuban region to facilitate the return of the Crimea, Russia started to establish a network of fortifications along the Kuban River in the 1770s. After the Russian annexation of the Crimea, right-bank Kuban, and Taman in 1783, the Kuban River became the border of the Russian Empire. New fortresses were built on the Kuban in the 1780s–1790s.
Until the 1790s, these fortresses and the abandoned Cossack settlements on the Laba River and in Taman remained the only indication of Russian presence in the area. More intensive settlement started in 1792–1794, when Black Sea Cossack Host and Don Cossacks were re-settled to this area by the Russian government in order to strengthen the southern borders.
In the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, the right bank of the Kuban River was settled. At the same time, first settlements appear on the coast of the Black Sea and on the plain between the Kuban and Bolshaya Laba Rivers. During the second half of the 19th century, the settlement rate intensified, and the territory was administratively organized into Kuban Oblast and Black Sea Okrug (which later became Black Sea Governorate).