1584-1696 1774-1783

The Khanate of the Crimean Tatars, 1696-1774

The fortress of Azov fell to Russian troops in 1696 and was formally ceded to Russia in 1702. In the peace treaty the Crimean Tatars had to agree to end their habitual raids into Russian territory. Although the Ottoman Empire regained Azov in 1711, the first fall of Azov marks a major change in Crimean Tatar history. The hitherto lucrative slave trade decreased, as the major source of procuring slaves - raids into Russian territory - was no longer accessible. The Crimean Tatars continued to send troops to participate in Ottoman campaigns, against Austria and Persia; however, the Ottoman Empire was herself on a decline and the Crimean Tatars experienced defeat, losses in men and horses - and often, lack of booty. Tatar warriors were not paid, booty had been the main motivation to fight.
In the early 18th century, Khans changed frequently, an indication of the dissatisfaction among Crimean clan leaders. In 1736 a Russian army invaded (the main Crimean host being absent, on a campaign against Persia) and managed to burn the Crimean capital of Bakhchisaray. The capital was reconstructed, but the vulnerability of the Khanate had been shown. Russia annexed territory in the hinterland, driving a wedge between the Crimean Tatar Khanate and Poland-Lithuania. Russia's interest in the Khanate increased, as Russia searched for the usage of a port on the Black Sea. In the 1740es, and again in 1763, a Russian consul temporarily established residence in Bakhchisaray. Yet the political climate in the Crimea was instable; Khans frequently changed, and the improving Russo-Crimean relations fell victim to a coup.
The Russo-Ottoman War of 1768 to 1774 was of much larger scale than previous wars between the two powers. Russian military successes were accompanied by rebellions of Ottoman subjects, in regions as distant as Greece. The Yedisan Nogay Tatars in 1770 signed a treaty of friendship with Russia, in effect recognizing their new ruler, before the war had been concluded; Crimean Khan Kaplan Giray was involved in similar negotiations, when the Sultan sacked him and replaced him with Selim Giray III. in 1771. A Russian army invaded and occupied the Crimea that year. Khan Selim abdicated soon after, and a new Khan, Sahib Giray, was elected - a Russian vassall. The Treaty of Kucuk Kainarji 1774 confirmed the independence of the Khanate of the Crimean Tatars - from the Sublime Porte, that is.

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 7th 2005

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