The Crimea

The Southern Frontier : Potemkin's Villages

A.) Russian Conquest 1774-1792

In 1768 the RUSSO-TURKISH WAR broke out; the Russian fleet defeated the Ottoman fleet; in 1772 an armistice was signed, in 1774 the PEACE OF KUCHUK-KAINARJI, according to which Russia gained the coastal stretch between Bug and Dnjepr and the cities of Azov and Kerch. According to the treaty, the Crimean Khanate was to be independent; in fact Catherine interfered in Crimean affairs, treating the Khanate as a satellite.
In 1783 Russia annexed the Crimean Khanate. After another Russo-Turkish War 1787-1791 the Ottoman Empire ceded the JEDISAN in 1792.

B.) Economic and Social Development

In 1764, the Ukrainian HETMANATE was abolished; the COSSACKS no longer seemed vitally important to Russia's defence.
In 1773, the PUGACHEV REBELLION spread from the Ural region into the lower and central Volga valley. Pugachev freed the serfs, declared nobility to be abolished etc.; in 1774 he was defeated and executed.
In 1775 a PROVINCIAL REFORM was implemented. Every provincial capital was supposed to have a school for higher education (1782).
Catherine the Great found herself in possession of huge lands which were very fertile (the BLACK SOIL of Ukraine) and almost unpopulated. Her minister GRIGORI POTEMKIN not only created mock villages on the occasion of Catherine's inspection tour to the Crimea (1787, POTEMKIN'S VILLAGES), but organized the establishment of many settlements, the settlers for which were called in from everywhere (many came from Germany, others from the christian peoples living under Ottoman rule). The settlers were attracted with privileges; among the groups who responded were German MENNONITES (who refuse to serve in the army and were assured that they and their descendants were free of military service) and Swedes from the shores of Estonia, who settled in GAMMALSVENSKBY. As a part of Crimea's Tatar population emigrated, the region got an ethnically mixed character.
The city of SEVASTOPOL was founded in 1784, ODESSA in 1794.

The Society of Svenskbyborna, Homepage from the descendents of Gammalsvenskby
Romanovs in Crimea, from
Ethnic Composition of Crimea, from ICC Home Page
Volodymyr G. Butkevych : The road to Crimea is opened, on settlement on the Crimean peninsula 1777ff
Life in Late Imperial South Russia, (Novorossiya), i.e. Northern Black Sea Region, from Pteranodon's View, with source quotes
Crimea under Russian Rule, by H.B. Paksoy, on Crimean Tatar Home Page, scroll down
History of Odessa, from Odessa Globe; of Sevastopol from
DOCUMENTS Manifesto of 1763 (Catherine the Great), from, and by Bob L. Berschauer - title : German immigration to Russia

This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on January 11th 2002

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