1478-1584 1696-1774

The Khanate of the Crimean Tatars, 1584-1696

Unter Khan Devlet Giray, the Crimean Tatars had sacked Moscow, but failed to take Kazan and Astrakhan. The latter campaign had resulted in a deteriation of the traditionally good Ottoman-Crimean relations. The Ottoman Sultans shifted their policy, from confirming the choice of the Tatar nobility as Khan to appointing candidates of their choice. From 1584, the name of the Ottoman Sultan was read in Friday's prayers in mosques in the Crimean Khanate; the latter had truly become an Ottoman vassall.
Crimean actions against Muscovy focused on the capture of slaves; major campaigns were undertaken, in alliance with the Ottomans, in Hungary and in the direction of Persia and the Caucasus. Crimean Tatars also served the Sultan against the Jelali rebels in eastern Anatolia.
The Cossacks in the steppe region to the north of the Tatar lands became a force to be reckoned with; in 1637 they took the Turkish fortress of Azov, holding on to it in the name of Russia until it was decided to abandon it in 1642.
The Crimean economy depended heavily on the Ottoman economy; the Ottoman Empire was the major market for her exports - slaves, food; the Crimea had not much of an industry. The Crimean warriors were lightly armed; the few firearms Crimean Tatars owned had been imported from the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman interference in Crimean politics - Khan Selim Giray (1671-1704) had been asked to abdicate 3 times - intended to use the Crimean Tatars in Ottoman interest and was detrimental to the Khanate. The Russian seizure of the fortress city of Azov 1696 indicated that the Ottoman-Crimean alliance was failing to catch up with the development in arms technology and military tactics that was taking place in Europe. As the Crimean Tatar light cavalry was only a complementary force to the Ottoman host, the fate of the Tatar Khanate ultimately was depending on the Ottoman ability to defend the Crimea. The Tatars defeated the Russian invasions of 1687 and 1689, but were powerless to prevent Peter the Great from taking Azov in 1696.

DOCUMENTS List of Crimean Khans, from Kessler Web
REFERENCE Alan W. Fisher, The Crimean Tatars, Stanford : Hoover Institution Press (1978) 1987, KMLA Lib.Sign. 947.717 F553c

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 6th 2005

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