Crimean Khanate

The Crimean Khanate (Crimean Tatar language: قرم خانلغى‎, Qırım Hanlığı or قرم يورتى‎, Qırım Yurtu) was a Turkic state of the Ottoman Empire from 1441 to 1783, the longest-lived of the Turkic khanates that succeeded the empire of the Golden Horde of Mongol origin. Established by Hacı I Giray in 1441, the Crimean khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan through marriage; Temür married one of Genghis Khan's granddaughters. Though, according to a well-know Russian historian, Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences Zaitsev Ilya Vladimirovich, the Crimean Khanate was an independent state during all its history[2]. The khanate was located in present-day Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova.

Ottoman forces under Gedik Ahmet Pasha conquered all of the Crimean peninsula and joined it to the khanate in 1475. In 1774, it was released as a sovereign political entity, following the Russo-Turkish Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, and formally annexed by the Russian Empire in 1783, becoming the Taurida Governorate.

Crimean Khanate

قرم خانلغى
Qırım Hanlığı
Coat of arms of Crimean Khanate
Coat of arms
The khanate in 1550
The khanate in 1550
Statusan independent state (to 1478; from 1774)
Vassal of the Ottoman Empire (1478–1774)
According to professor of Russian Academy of Science I. V. Zaytsev, an independent state (1441-1783)[1]
Common languagesTurkic (Crimean Tatar, Ottoman Turkish)
Governmentrepresentative monarchy
• 1441–1466
Hacı I Giray (First)
• 1777–1783
Şahin Giray (last)
• Established
• Annexed by Russia
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Golden Horde
Principality of Theodoro
Taurida Governorate
Today part of

Naming and geography

Ottoman empire 1481-1683
Map of the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire

English-speaking writers during the 18th and early 19th centuries often called the territory of the Crimean Khanate and of the Lesser Nogai Horde Little Tartary (or subdivided it as Crim Tartary (also Krim Tartary) and Kuban Tartary).[3] The name "Little Tartary" distinguished the area from (Great) Tartary – those areas of central and northern Asia inhabited by Turkic peoples or Tatars.

The Khanate included the Crimean peninsula and the adjacent steppes, mostly corresponding to the parts of South Ukraine between the Dnieper and the Donets rivers (i.e. including most of present-day Zaporizhia Oblast, left-Dnepr parts of Kherson Oblast, besides minor parts of southeastern Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and western Donetsk Oblast). The territory controlled by the Crimean Khanate shifted throughout its existence due to the constant incursions by the Cossacks, who had lived along the Don since the disintegration of the Golden Horde in the 15th century.

The London-based cartographer Herman Moll in a map of c. 1729 shows "Little Tartary" as including the Crimean peninsula and the steppe between Dnieper and Mius River as far north as the Dnieper bend and the upper Tor River (a tributary of the Donets).[4]



The Crimean Khanate originated in the early 15th century when certain clans of the Golden Horde Empire ceased their nomadic life in the Desht-i Kipchak (Kypchak Steppes of today's Ukraine and southern Russia) and decided to make Crimea their yurt (homeland). At that time, the Golden Horde of the Mongol empire had governed the Crimean peninsula as an ulus since 1239, with its capital at Qirim (Staryi Krym). The local separatists invited a Genghisid contender for the Golden Horde throne, Hacı Giray, to become their khan. Hacı Giray accepted their invitation and traveled from exile in Lithuania. He warred for independence against the Horde from 1420 to 1441, in the end achieving success. But Hacı Giray then had to fight off internal rivals before he could ascend the throne of the khanate in 1449, after which he moved its capital to Qırq Yer (today part of Bahçeseray).[5] The khanate included the Crimean Peninsula (except the south and southwest coast and ports, controlled by the Republic of Genoa) as well as the adjacent steppe.

Ottoman protectorate

The sons of Hacı I Giray contended against each other to succeed him. The Ottomans intervened and installed one of the sons, Meñli I Giray, on the throne. Menli I Giray, took the imperial title "Sovereign of Two Continents and Khan of Khans of Two Seas."[6]

Lucznik tatarski
A Crimean Tatar cavalry archer.

In 1475 the Ottoman forces, under the command of Gedik Ahmet Pasha, conquered the Greek Principality of Theodoro and the Genoese colonies at Cembalo, Soldaia, and Caffa (modern Feodosiya). Thenceforth the khanate was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman sultan enjoyed veto power over the selection of new Crimean khans. The Empire annexed the Crimean coast but recognized the legitimacy of the khanate rule of the steppes, as the khans were descendants of Genghis Khan.

In 1475, the Ottomans imprisoned Meñli I Giray for three years for resisting the invasion. After returning from captivity in Constantinople, he accepted the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless, Ottoman sultans treated the khans more as allies than subjects.[7] The khans continued to have a foreign policy independent from the Ottomans in the steppes of Little Tartary. The khans continued to mint coins and use their names in Friday prayers, two important signs of sovereignty. They did not pay tribute to the Ottoman Empire; instead the Ottomans paid them in return for their services of providing skilled outriders and frontline cavalry in their campaigns.[8] Later on, Crimea lost power in this relationship as the result of a crisis in 1523, during the reign of Meñli's successor, Mehmed I Giray. He died that year and beginning with his successor, from 1524 on, Crimean khans were appointed by the Sultan.

The alliance of the Crimean Tatars and the Ottomans was comparable to the Polish-Lithuanian Union in its importance and durability. The Crimean cavalry became indispensable for the Ottomans' campaigns against Poland, Hungary, and Persia.[9]

Victory over the Golden Horde

In 1502, Meñli I Giray defeated the last khan of the Great Horde, which put an end to the Horde's claims on Crimea. The Khanate initially chose as its capital Salaçıq near the Qırq Yer fortress. Later, the capital was moved a short distance to Bahçeseray, founded in 1532 by Sahib I Giray. Both Salaçıq and the Qırq Yer fortress today are part of the expanded city of Bahçeseray.

Slave trade
Crimean Tatar warrior fighting Polish soldiers
Szigetvar 1566
A Persian style miniature depicting the Ottoman campaign in Hungary in 1566, Crimean Tatars as vanguard.

The Crimeans frequently mounted raids into the Danubian principalities, Poland-Lithuania, and Muscovy to enslave people whom they could capture; for each captive, the khan received a fixed share (savğa) of 10% or 20%. These campaigns by Crimean forces were either sefers ("sojourns"), officially declared military operations led by the khans themselves, or çapuls ("despoiling"), raids undertaken by groups of noblemen, sometimes illegally because they contravened treaties concluded by the khans with neighbouring rulers.

For a long time, until the early 18th century, the khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East, exporting about 2 million slaves from Russia and Poland-Lithuania over the period 1500–1700.[10] Caffa (city on Crimean peninsula) was one of the best known and significant trading ports and slave markets.[11][12] In 1769, a last major Tatar raid resulted in the capture of 20,000 Russian and Ruthenian slaves.[13]

Author and historian Brian Glyn Williams writes:

Fisher estimates that in the sixteenth century the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth lost around 20,000 individuals a year and that from 1474 to 1694, as many as a million Commonwealth citizens were carried off into Crimean slavery.[14]

Early modern sources are full of descriptions of sufferings of Christian slaves captured by the Crimean Tatars in the course of their raids:

It seems that the position and everyday conditions of a slave depended largely on his/her owner. Some slaves indeed could spend the rest of their days doing exhausting labor: as the Crimean vizir (minister) Sefer Gazi Aga mentions in one of his letters, the slaves were often “a plough and a scythe” of their owners. Most terrible, perhaps, was the fate of those who became galley-slaves, whose sufferings were poeticized in many Ukrainian dumas (songs). ... Both female and male slaves were often used for sexual purposes.[13]


The Crimean Khanate also made alliances with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Zaporizhian Sich. The assistance of İslâm III Giray during the Khmelnytsky Uprising in 1648 contributed greatly to the initial momentum of military successes for the Cossacks. The relationship with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was also exclusive, as it was the home dynasty of the Girays, who sought sanctuary in Lithuania in the 15th century before establishing themselves on the Crimean peninsula.

The northern hinterlands of the khanate were coveted by Muscovy for their agricultural productivity, having longer growing seasons than Muscovy itself. Within Muscovy, the permanent warfare at the borderland and the burgeoning in size of the armies of the nobles (boyars) fomented intense exploitation of the peasantry.

Struggle over Astrakhan

In the middle of the 16th century, the Crimean Khanate asserted a claim to be the successor to the Golden Horde, which entailed asserting the right of rule over the Tatar khanates of the Caspian-Volga region, particularly the Kazan Khanate and Astrakhan Khanate. This claim pitted it against Muscovy for dominance in the region. A successful campaign by Devlet I Giray upon the Russian capital in 1571 culminated in the burning of Moscow, and he thereby gained the sobriquet, That Alğan (seizer of the throne).[15] The following year, however, the Crimean Khanate lost access to the Volga once and for all due to its catastrophic defeat in the Battle at Molodi.


Spotkanie z Tuhaj Bejem 2
Commander Tugai Bey leads the Tatar cavalry, by Juliusz Kossak.
Карло Боссоли. Татарская школа для детей
Crimean Tatar Imams teach the Quran. Lithograph by Carlo Bossoli

The Turkish traveler writer Evliya Çelebi mentions the impact of Cossack raids from Azak upon the territories of the Crimean Khanate. These raids ruined trade routes and severely depopulated many important regions. By the time Evliya Çelebi had arrived almost all the towns he visited were affected by the Cossack raids. In fact, the only place Evliya Çelebi considered safe from the Cossacks was the Ottoman fortress at Arabat.[16]

The decline of the Crimean Khanate was a consequence of the weakening of the Ottoman Empire and a change in the balance of power in Eastern Europe favouring its neighbours. Crimean Tatars often returned from Ottoman campaigns without booty, and Ottoman subsidies were less likely for unsuccessful campaigns. Tatar cavalry, without sufficient guns, suffered great loss against European and Russian armies with modern equipment. By the late 17th century, Muscovite Russia became too strong a power for Crimea to pillage and the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) outlawed further raids. The era of great slave raids in Russia and Ukraine was over, although brigands and Nogay raiders continued their attacks and Russian hatred of the Khanate did not decrease. These polito-economic losses led in turn to erosion of the khan's support among noble clans, and internal conflicts for power ensued. The Nogays, who provided a significant portion of the Crimean military forces, also took back their support from the khans towards the end of the empire.

In the first half of 17th century, Kalmyks formed the Kalmyk Khanate in the Lower Volga and under Ayuka Khan conducted many military expeditions against the Crimean Khanate and Nogays. By becoming an important ally and later part of the Russian Empire and taking an oath to protect its southeastern borders, the Kalmyk Khanate took an active part in all Russian war campaigns in 17th and 18th centuries, providing up to 40,000 fully equipped horsemen.

The united Russian and Ukrainian forces attacked the Khanate during the Chigirin Campaigns and the Crimean Campaigns. It was during the Russo-Turkish War, 1735-1739 that the Russians, under the command of Field-Marshal Münnich, finally managed to penetrate the Crimean Peninsula itself, burning and destroying everything on their way.

More warfare ensued during the reign of Catherine II. The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 resulted in the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji, which made the Crimean Khanate independent from the Ottoman Empire and aligned it with the Russian Empire.

The rule of the last Crimean khan Şahin Giray was marked with increasing Russian influence and outbursts of violence from the khan administration towards internal opposition. On 8 April 1783, in violation of the treaty (some parts of which had been already violated by Crimeans and Ottomans), Catherine II intervened in the civil war, de facto annexing the whole peninsula as the Taurida Governorate. In 1787, Şahin Giray took refuge in the Ottoman Empire and was eventually executed, on Rhodes, by the Ottoman authorities for betrayal. The royal Giray family survives to this day.

Through the 1792 Treaty of Jassy (Iaşi), the Russian frontier was extended to the Dniester River and the takeover of Yedisan was complete. The 1812 Treaty of Bucharest transferred Bessarabia to Russian control.


S. V. Ivanov. At the guarding border of the Moscow state. (1907)
At the Southern Border of Moscva state by Sergey Vasilievich Ivanov.

All Khans were from the Giray clan, which traced its right to rule to its descent from Genghis Khan. According to the tradition of the steppes, the ruler was legitimate only if he was of Genghisid royal descent (i.e. "ak süyek"). Although the Giray dynasty was the symbol of government, the khan actually governed with the participation of Qaraçı Beys, the leaders of the noble clans such as Şirin, Barın, Arğın, Qıpçaq, and in the later period, Mansuroğlu and Sicavut. After the collapse of the Astrakhan Khanate in 1556, an important element of the Crimean Khanate were the Nogays, who most of them transferred their allegiance from Astrakhan to Crimea. Circassians (Atteghei) and Cossacks also occasionally played roles in Crimean politics, alternating their allegiance between the khan and the beys. The Nogay pastoral nomads north of the Black Sea were nominally subject to the Crimean Khan. They were divided into the following groups: Budjak (from the Danube to the Dniester), Yedisan (from the Dniester to the Bug), Jamboyluk (Bug to Crimea), Yedickul (north of Crimea) and Kuban.

Internal affairs

Карло Боссоли. Ханский дворец
Khan Qirim Girai, is known to have authorized the construction of many landmarks in Bakhchysarai and the Crimean Khanate.

Internally, the khanate territory was divided among the beys, and beneath the beys were mirzas from noble families. The relationship of peasants or herdsmen to their mirzas was not feudal. They were free and the Islamic law protected them from losing their rights. Apportioned by village, the land was worked in common and taxes were assigned to the whole village. The tax was one tenth of an agricultural product, one twentieth of a herd animal, and a variable amount of unpaid labor. During the reforms by the last khan Şahin Giray, the internal structure was changed following the Turkish pattern: the nobles' landholdings were proclaimed the domain of the khan and reorganized into qadılıqs (provinces governed by representatives of the khan).

Crimean law

Mengli bayezid
Meñli I Giray at the court of Ottoman sultan Bayezid II

Crimean law was based on Tatar law, Islamic law, and, in limited matters, Ottoman law. The leader of the Muslim establishment was the mufti, who was selected from among the local Muslim clergy. His major duty was neither judicial nor theological, but financial. The mufti's administration controlled all of the vakif lands and their enormous revenues. Another Muslim official, appointed not by the clergy but the Ottoman sultan, was the kadıasker, the overseer of the khanate's judicial districts, each under jurisdiction of a kadi. In theory, kadis answered to the kadiaskers, but in practice they answered to the clan leaders and the khan. The kadis determined the day to day legal behavior of Muslims in the khanate.

Non-Muslim minorities

Карло Боссоли. Татары, путешествующие по степи
"Crimean Tatars travelling on the plains" by Carlo Bossoli.

Substantial non-Muslim minorities - Greeks, Armenians, Crimean Goths, Adyghe (Circassians), Venetians, Genoese, Crimean Karaites and Qırımçaq Jews - lived principally in the cities, mostly in separate districts or suburbs. Under the millet system, they had their own religious and judicial institutions. They were subject to extra taxes in exchange for exemption from military service, living like Crimean Tatars and speaking dialects of Crimean Tatar.[17] Mikhail Kizilov writes: "According to Marcin Broniewski (1578), the Tatars seldom cultivated the soil themselves, with most of their land tilled by the Polish, Ruthenian, Russian, and Walachian (Moldavian) slaves."[13]

The Jewish population was concentrated in Çufut Kale ('Jewish Fortress'), a separate town near Bahçeseray that was the Khan's original capital. As other minorities, they spoke a Turkic language. Crimean law granted them special financial and political rights as a reward, according to local folklore, for historic services rendered to an uluhane (first wife of a Khan). The capitation tax on Jews in Crimea was levied by the office of the uluhane in Bahçeseray.[18] The Jews in Crimea were actively involved in the slave trade.[13]


Daniel Schultz d. J. 002
Crimean Tatar children. Detail of a portrait of Agha Dedesh at the court of King John II Casimir,
by Daniel Schultz.

The nomadic part of the Crimean Tatars and all the Nogays were cattle breeders. Crimea had important trading ports where the goods arrived via the Silk Road were exported to the Ottoman Empire and Europe. Crimean Khanate had many large, beautiful, and lively cities such as the capital Bahçeseray, Gözleve (Yevpatoria), Karasu Bazaar (Karasu-market) and Aqmescit (White-mosque) having numerous hans (caravansarais and merchant quarters), tanners, and mills. Many monuments constructed under the Crimean Khanate were destroyed or left in ruins after the Russian invasion.[19] Mosques, in particular were demolished or remade into Orthodox churches.[19] The settled Crimean Tatars were engaged in trade, agriculture, and artisanry. Crimea was a center of wine, tobacco, and fruit cultivation. Bahçeseray kilims (oriental rugs) were exported to Poland, and knives made by Crimean Tatar artisans were deemed the best by the Caucasian tribes. Crimea was also renowned for manufacture of silk and honey.

The slave trade (15th-17th century) in captured Ukrainians and Russians was one of the major sources of income of Crimean Tartar and Nogay nobility. In this process, known as harvesting the steppe, raiding parties would go out and capture, and then enslave the local Christian peasants living in the countryside.[20] In spite of the dangers, Polish and Russian serfs were attracted to the freedom offered by the empty steppes of Ukraine. The slave raids entered Russian and Cossack folklore and many dumy were written elegising the victims' fates. This contributed to a hatred for the Khanate that transcended political or military concerns. But in fact, there were always small raids committed by both Tatars and Cossacks, in both directions.[21] The last recorded major Crimean raid, before those in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774) took place during the reign of Peter I (1682–1725).[21]

Підбірка монет Кримського ханства

Crimean art and architecture

Selim II Giray fountain

Fountain of Selim II Giray
Fountain of Selim II Giray

The Selim II Giray fountain, built in 1747, is considered one of the masterpieces of Crimean Khanate's hydraulic engineering designs and is still marveled in modern times. It consists of small ceramic pipes, boxed in an underground stone tunnel, stretching back to the spring source more than 20 metres (66 feet) away. It was one of the finest sources of water in Bakhchisaray.

Bakhchisaray Fountain

Bakhchysarai 04-14 img11 Palace Fountain of Tears
The Bakhchisaray Fountain.
Carlo Bossoli Khanpalast von Bachcisaraj 1857
The Crimean Khan's Palace in Bakhchysaray, by Carlo Bossoli

One of the notable constructors of Crimean art and architecture was Qırım Giray, who in 1764 commissioned the fountain master Omer the Persian to construct the Bakhchisaray Fountain. The Bakhchisaray Fountain or Fountain of Tears is a real case of life imitating art. The fountain is known as the embodiment of love of one of the last Crimean Khans, Khan Qırım Giray for his young wife, and his grief after her early death. The Khan was said to have fallen in love with a Polish girl in his harem. Despite his battle-hardened harshness, he was grievous and wept when she died, astonishing all those who knew him. He commissioned a marble fountain to be made, so that the rock would weep, like him, forever.[22]

Regions and administration

Main regions outside of Qirim yurt (the peninsula)

The peninsula itself was divided by the khan's family and several beys. The estates controlled by beys were called beylik. Beys in the khanate were as important as the Polish Magnats. Directly to the khan belonged Cufut-Qale, Bakhchisaray, and Staryi Krym (Eski Qirim). The khan also possessed all the salt lakes and the villages around them, as well as the woods around the rivers Alma, Kacha, and Salgir. Part of his own estate included the wastelands with their newly created settlements.

Part of the main khan's estates were the lands of the Kalha-sultan (Qalğa) who was next in the line of succession of the khan's family. He usually administered the eastern portion of the peninsula. Kalha also was Chief Commander of the Crimean Army in the absence of the Khan. The next hereditary administrative position, called Nureddin, was also assigned to the khan's family. He administrated the western region of the peninsula. There also was a specifically assigned position for the khan's mother or sister — Ana-beim — which was similar to the Ottomans' Valide Sultan. The senior wife of the Khan carried a rank of Ulu-beim and was next in importance to the Nureddin.

By the end of the khanate regional offices of the kaimakans, who administered smaller regions of the Crimean Khanate, were created.

  • Or Qapı (Perekop) had special status. The fortress was controlled either directly by the khan's family or by the family of Shirin.

Ottoman Empire territories

See also


  1. ^ [Crimean khanate: vassalage or independence?|Крымское ханство: вассалитет или независимость? // Османский мир и османистика. Сборник статей к 100-летию со дня рождения А.С. Тверитиновой (1910-1973). М., 2010. pages 288-298. in Russian]
  2. ^ [Crimean khanate: vassalage or independence?|Крымское ханство: вассалитет или независимость? // Османский мир и османистика. Сборник статей к 100-летию со дня рождения А.С. Тверитиновой (1910-1973). М., 2010. pages 288-298. in Russian]
  3. ^ Edmund Spencer, Travels in Circassia, Krim-Tartary &c: Including a Steam Voyage Down the Danube from Vienna to Constantinople, and Round the Black Sea, Henry Colburn, 1837.
  4. ^ To His Most Serene and August Majesty Peter Alexovitz Absolute Lord of Russia &c. This map of Moscovy, Poland, Little Tartary, and ye Black Sea &c. is most Humbly Dedicated by H. Moll Geographer ( The map shows Little Tartary as reaching the left bank of the Dnepr, and as including the Kalmius but not the Mius, to the north reaching as far as the Tor (Torets) basin, somewhat south of Izium. Other geographers (but not Moll) sometimes included in "Lesser Tartary" the territory of the Lesser Nogai Horde in Kuban, east of the Sea of Azov (in Moll's map labelled separately as Koeban Tartary).
  5. ^ Bakhchisaray history Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine (in English)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Khan Palace in Bakhchisaray, The Giray Dynasty, Hansaray Organization
  8. ^ Bennigsen
  9. ^ List of Wars of the Crimean Tatars
  10. ^ Darjusz Kołodziejczyk, as reported by Mikhail Kizilov (2007). "Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards:The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captivesin the Crimean Khanate". The Journal of Jewish Studies. p. 2.
  11. ^ Historical survey > Slave societies
  12. ^ Caffa
  13. ^ a b c d Mikhail Kizilov. "Slave Trade in the Early Modern Crimea From the Perspective of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources". Oxford University.
  14. ^ Brian Glyn Williams (2013). "The Sultan's Raiders: The Military Role of the Crimean Tatars in the Ottoman Empire" (PDF). The Jamestown Foundation. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21.
  15. ^ Moscow - Historical background Archived 2007-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Fisher, Alan (1998). "Between Russians, Ottomans and Turks: Crimea and Crimean Tatars".
  17. ^ Fisher, Alan W (1978). The Crimean Tatars. Studies of Nationalities in the USSR. Hoover Press. ISBN 978-0-8179-6662-1.
  18. ^ Fisher p. 34
  19. ^ a b A history of Ukraine, Paul Robert Magocsi, 347, 1996
  20. ^ Williams
  21. ^ a b The Russian Annexation of the Crimea 1772-1783, page 26
  22. ^ Johnstone, Sarah. Ukraine. Lonely Planet, 2005. ISBN 1-86450-336-X

External links

Further reading

  • Ivanics, Mária (2007). "Enslavement, Slave Labour, and the Treatment of Captives in the Crimean Khanate". In Dávid, Géza; Pál Fodor (eds.). Ransom Slavery along the Ottoman Borders (Early Fifteenth-Early Eighteenth Centuries). Leiden: Brill. pp. 193–219.
Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Empire

The territory of Crimea, previously controlled by the Crimean Khanate, was annexed by the Russian Empire on 19 April [O.S. 8 April] 1783. The period before the annexation was marked by Russian interference in Crimean affairs, a series of revolts by Crimean Tatars, and Ottoman ambivalence. The annexation began 134 years of rule by the Russian Empire, which was ended by the revolution of 1917.

After changing hands several times during the Russian Civil War, Crimea was part of the Russian Soviet Republic from 1921 to 1954, and then was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR, which became independent Ukraine in 1991–92. The Russian Federation annexed Crimea in March 2014, though that annexation is not recognised internationally.


Bakhchysarai (Ukrainian: Бахчисарáй; Crimean Tatar: Bağçasaray; Russian: Бахчисарáй; Turkish: Bahçesaray; Persian: باغچه سرای‎ Bāghche Sarāy) is a city in central Crimea, a territory recognized by a majority of countries as part of Ukraine and annexed by Russia as the Republic of Crimea. It is the administrative center of the Bakhchysarai Raion (district), as well as the former capital of the Crimean Khanate. Its main landmark is Hansaray, the only extant palace of the Crimean Khans, currently opened to tourists as a museum. Population: 27,448 (2014 Census).

Battle of Petrovaradin

The Battle of Petrovaradin or Peterwardein was a decisive victory for the Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Emperor in the war between the Archduchy of Austria of the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire (1716–1718), at Petrovaradin (then part of Military Frontier, Archduchy of Austria; today part of Novi Sad, Vojvodina, Serbia).

Battle of Torches

The Battle of Torches (Turkish: Meşaleler Savaşı) was fought in 1583 during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1578–1590). The name of the battle refers to torches used during night clashes.

The battle resulted in an Ottoman victory, and had thereby secured Dagestan and Shirvan until the end of the war.

Battle of Łowicz

The Battle of Łowicz on August 25, 1656 between forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Crimean Khanate commanded by Stefan Czarniecki on one side, and on the other Swedish forces commanded by Hans Böddeker. Polish-Tatar forces won the battle.

Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689

The Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689 (Russian: Крымские походы, Krymskiye pokhody) were two military campaigns of the Tsardom of Russia against the Crimean Khanate. They were a part of the Russo-Turkish War (1686–1700) and Russo-Crimean Wars. These were the first Russian forces to come close to Crimea since 1569. They failed due to poor planning and the practical problem of moving such a large force across the steppe but nonetheless played a key role in halting the Ottoman expansion in Europe. The campaigns came as a surprise for the Ottoman leadership, spoiled its plans to invade Poland and Hungary and forced it to move significant forces from Europe to the east, which greatly helped the League in its struggle against the Ottomans.Having signed the Eternal Peace Treaty with Poland in 1686, Russia became a member of the anti-Turkish coalition ("Holy League" — Austria, the Republic of Venice and Poland), which was pushing the Turks south after their failure at Vienna in 1683 (the major result of this war was the conquest by Austria of most of Hungary from Turkish rule). Russia's role in 1687 was to send a force south to Perekop to bottle up the Crimeans inside their peninsula.

Giray dynasty

The House of Giray (Crimean Tatar: Geraylar, كرايلر‎‎), also Girays, were the Genghisid/Turkic dynasty that reigned in the Khanate of Crimea from its formation in 1427 until its downfall in 1783. The dynasty also supplied several khans of Kazan and Astrakhan between 1521 and 1550. Apart from the royal Girays, there was also a lateral branch, the Choban Girays (Çoban Geraylar).

Before reaching the age of majority, young Girays were brought up in one of the Circassian tribes, where they were instructed in the arts of war. The Giray khans were elected by other Crimean Tatar dynasts, called myrzas (mırzalar). They also elected an heir apparent, called the qalgha sultan (qalğa sultan). In later centuries, the Ottoman Sultan obtained the right of installing and deposing the khans at his will.

Izyum Trail

Izyum Trail or Izyum Warpath (Russian: Изюмский шлях) is a historic route used by the Crimean Tatars in the 16th and 17th centuries to penetrate into Sloboda Ukraine and then invade Muscovite Russia. The route branched off the Muravsky Trail in the upper reaches of the Orash River and, after crossing the Seversky Donets at a convenient ford near Izyum, continued north in the direction of the Great Abatis Border. In the mid-17th century, the route fell into disuse owing to the establishment of Kharkiv and other Cossack forts in the Sloboda Ukraine.

List of wars involving Poland

This is a chronological list of military conflicts in which Polish armed forces won or took place on Polish territory from the reign of Mieszko I (960–992) to the ongoing military operations.

This list does not include peacekeeping operations (such as UNPROFOR, UNTAES or UNMOP), humanitarian missions or training missions supported by the Polish Armed Forces.

The list gives the name, the date, the Polish allies and enemies, and the result of these conflicts following this legend:

Polish victory

Polish defeat

Another result (e.g., a treaty or peace without a clear result, status quo ante bellum, result unknown or indecisive)

Ongoing conflict

List of wars involving Ukraine

The following is an incomplete list of major wars fought by Ukraine, by Ukrainian people or regular armies during periods when independent Ukrainian states existed, from antiquity to the present day. It also includes wars fought outside of Ukraine by Ukrainian military.

The separate section contains list of wars involving Crimean Tatars' states.

The list gives the name, the date, combatants, and the result of these conflicts following this legend:

Ukrainian victory

Ukrainian defeat

Another result (e.g. a treaty or peace without a clear result, status quo ante bellum, result of civil or internal conflict, result unknown or indecisive)

Ongoing conflict

Ottoman–Safavid War (1578–90)

The Ottoman–Safavid War (1578–1590) was one of the many wars between the neighboring arch rivals of Safavid Persia and the Ottoman Empire.Starting with several years prior to the war and up to including most of the war itself, the Safavids were experiencing significant domestic issues and rivalling noble factions within the court since the death of Shah Tahmasp I. The Ottomans decided to declare war in 1577-1578 to exploit the chaos. The war, despite swift Ottoman victories in the first few years and large amounts of support from the Ottoman vassal Crimean Khanate during several stages of the war,, eventually turned being geo-politically and military relatively stale for several years with both parties losing and winning smaller battles till around 1580. It eventually had a turning point following the Battle of Torches on 7–11 May 1583 and the assassination of the Safavid generals Mirza Salman Jaberi and Hamza Mirza. Following these turns of events and internal chaos in the Safavid state, the Ottomans headed towards the eventual victory in 1590.

Polish–Cossack–Tatar War (1666–1671)

Polish-Cossack-Tatar War was the war between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire (in practice, a proxy war between the Cossack Hetmanate and Crimean Khanate) over Ukraine. It was one of the aftermaths of the Russo-Polish War (1654–67) and a prelude to the Polish–Ottoman War (1672–76).

Russo-Crimean Wars

The Russo-Crimean Wars were fought between the forces of Muscovy and the Tatars of the Crimean Khanate during the 16th century over the region around Volga River.

In the 16th century, the Wild Steppes in Russia were exposed to the Tatars. During the wars, Crimean Tatars (supported by the Turkish army) invaded central Russia, devastated Ryazan, burned Moscow, and took 150,000 Russians as captives. However, the next year the Tatars were defeated in the Battle of Molodi. Despite the defeat, the Tartar raids continued. As a result, the Crimean Khanate was invaded several times, conquered in late 18th century. The Tatars eventually lost their influence in the over the regions.

The raids began shortly after the establishment of the Muscovy's buffer state, Qasim Khanate, and the domination of Moscow in the Moscow-Kazan Wars of the late 15th century.

Treaty of Bakhchisarai

The Treaty of Bakhchisarai (Russian: Бахчисарайский мирный договор; Turkish: Bahçesaray Antlaşması) was signed in Bakhchisaray, which ended the Russo-Turkish War (1676–1681), on 3 January 1681 by Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and the Crimean Khanate. They agreed to a 20-year truce and had accepted the Dnieper River as the demarcation line between the Ottoman Empire and Moscow's domain. All sides agreed not to settle the territory between the Southern Bug and Dnieper rivers. After the signing of the treaty, the Nogai hordes still retained the right to live as nomads in the southern steppes of Ukraine, while the Cossacks retained the right to fish in the Dnieper and its tributaries; to obtain salt in the south; and to sail on the Dnieper and the Black Sea. The sultan then recognized Muscovy's sovereignty in the Left-bank Ukraine region and the Zaporozhian Cossack domain, while the southern part of the Kiev region, the Bratslav region, and Podolia were left under Ottoman control.

The Bakhchisaray peace treaty once again redistributed land between neighboring states. The treaty was also of great international significance and stipulated the signing of “ Eternal Peace” in 1686 between Russia and Poland.

Treaty of Jassy

The Treaty of Jassy, signed at Jassy (Iași) in Moldavia (presently in Romania), was a pact between the Russian and Ottoman Empires ending the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–92 and confirming Russia's increasing dominance in the Black Sea.The treaty was signed on 9 January 1792 by Grand Vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha and Prince Bezborodko (who had succeeded Prince Potemkin as the head of the Russian delegation when Potemkin died). The Treaty of Jassy formally recognized the Russian Empire's annexation of the Crimean Khanate via the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca of 1783 and transferred Yedisan (the territory between Dniester and Bug rivers) to Russia making the Dniester the Russo-Turkish frontier in Europe, and leaving the Asiatic frontier (Kuban River) unchanged.

Tugay Bey

Mirza Tughai Bey, Tuhay Bey (Crimean Tatar: Toğay bey; Polish: Tuhaj-bej; Cyrillic: Тугай-бей) sometimes also spelled as Tugai Bey (died June 1651) was a notable military leader and politician of the Crimean Tatars.


Yeni-Kale (Ukrainian: Єні-Кале; Russian: Еникале; Turkish: Yenikale; Crimean Tatar: Yeñi Qale, also spelled as Yenikale and Eni-Kale) is a fortress on the shore of Kerch Strait in the city of Kerch.


Yevpatoriya, is a city of regional significance in Western Crimea, north of Kalamita Bay. Yevpatoriya serves as the administrative center of Yevpatoriya municipality, one of the districts (raions) into which Crimea is divided. Population: 105,719 (2014 Census).

State successors of Golden Horde
White Horde
Blue Horde
Crimea articles
Central system
Turkic topics
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