Saturday, March 8, 2014

Crimean Khanate

Dance of Tartars (Carlo Bossoli, 1856)

The Crimean Khanate was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. It was among the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the beginning of the 18th century. It was a Turkic speaking state founded by clans of the Golden Horde, and the khans were descendants of the great Genghis Khan. The clans blended with the local population of Greeks, Armenians, Scythians, and Ostrogoths to form the Crimean Tatar ethnic group.

The Crimeans frequently mounted slave raids into Ukraine, Poland and Russia. For a long time the khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East, exporting about 2 million slaves over the period 1500–1700.

The palace in the capital Bakhchisaray (Carlo Bossoli, 1840-1842)

The khanate fought many battles against the Russians over dominance in the region. A successful campaign even culminated in the burning of Moscow in 1571. But at the end of the 18th century the khanate was conquered and annexed by the Russian Empire. Since then many Crimean Tatars have been forcefully exiled, about 300.000 Crimean Tatars live in Crimea today.

next episode: Yevpatoria


  1. What amazingly beautiful paintings from so long ago!

  2. Beautiful paintings, and very interesting to read the history of the Crimea. One of the news channels I was watching was telling about the forcible exile of the Tatars in the 20th century.

  3. Again timely, relating to Crimea (unfortunately). Grand panoramas there, and intriguing history.


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