The History of the Crimea till 1783.


The Crimea has a long and rich history. The most ancient mention of the Crimea in the world literature is that of Homer. The time of creation of his great poem dates back to the IX-VII cc. ВС. These lines from Homer’s «Odyssey» are well known in the historical literature:

«There lies the Cimmerians’ country covered by an eternally Wet fog and shadows of clouds; never shows To people his brilliant face Helios…»

The first written mention of the Crimea occurs in Herodotus (485 — 425 ВС) who visited Olbia in the V century ВС. The «Father of History» reports that » the Tauri tribe inhabits the mountainous country adjoining the sea and jutting out into the Pont as far as the Rocky Peninsula…»

This territory, called Taurica or Taurida, was occupied by the Tauri till the 1st century AD. They were farmers and fishermen, knew pottery and how to cast bronze. The Tauri’s main deity was the Maiden, who personified life.  Read more…

In the 6th century ВС, the first ancient Greek city-colonies appeared along the shores of the

Black Sea. The Bosphoran Kingdom and Chersonesus were especially known Chersonesus was

the slave-owning democratic republic. The ancient Greeks called the whole Crimean Peninsula Tauric Chersonesus.

The Chersonesus inhabitants adopted the Tauri’s Maiden Goddess into their pantheon of gods; she was represented on coins as the queen of the Chersonesus Republic.

In the 4th century ВС the Scythian State emerged on the territory from the Danube to the Sea of «Azov. They were specially noted in warfare for their mounted archers and in art for their rich gold ornaments. The more advanced Scythian tribes moved the center of their state to the Crimean Peninsula. In the III с. ВС they were displaced by the Sarmatians to the lower Don. The ruins of their capital Neapolis Scythian can be seen in the outskirts of Simferopol.

In 107 ВС there was a rebellion of Scythian slaves suppressed by Mithridates (132-63BC), king of Pontus (115-63 BC). Mithridates VI, betrayed by his son Pharnaces, was defeated by Pompey (106-48BC) , Roman general.

In 47 ВС Pharnaces was defeated by Julius Caesar (100 — 44BC), who said after the battle his famous words: «Veni, vidi, vici» (I came, I saw, I conquered).

In the middle of the 1st century AD, Chersonesus had fallen to the Roman Empire. Roman legionaries built a stronghold — the fortress Kharaks on the south coast.

The Sarmatians, first enemies and then the allies of Rome, were displaced by the Goths (proto-Slavic tribes) in the III с AD, who came from the Baltic Sea and attacked the Roman Empire.

In the 7-8th cc. the Crimea, with the exception ofChersonesus formed part of the Khazar Kaganate.

In 787 the population of Crimea rose up against the Khazars. The insurrection was brutally suppressed.

In 965 the Khozars were defeated by Russian Prince Sviatoslav (d.972).

With disintegration of the Khazar Kaganate, the Slav influence increased in the Crimea. The tie between the Crimea and Rus grew stronger after the formation of Kievan state In the 10-11th cc. the Russians firmly established themselves on the Kerch Peninsula, which became part of the Russian Tmutarakan Principality.

In the 13th century the southern Crimean coast fell into the power of Genoa, a prosperous trading and banking center of the Middle Ages.

The Crimean steppes and part of the foothills went into the Crimean Ulus of the Golden Horde, the Mongols who overran Eastern Europe.

The domination of the huge Nomad State established by Batu Khan continued for more than two centuries. Dmitry Donskoy won a victory over the army of the Golden Horde in 1380.

In 1395 the Golden Horde was defeated by Timur.

After Timur’s death in 1405, the domination of the Golden Horde ended. It disintegrated into rival feudal states — the khanates.

At that time ( 1475) on the Crimea’s South coast a «diarchy» arose — the independent Crimean khanate and the local Theodora Principality (or Mangup). The princes of Theodora waged war for the South Coast with the Genoese colonists to whom it had been «ceded» by the Khans of the Golden Horde. Turkey put an end to this «diarchy».

In 1475 the Sultan’s fleet appeared off the Crimean coast. The Genoese colonies were seized and the Theodora Principality fell after a long siege. The Turks formed three administrative districts out of the territory seized in the Crimea.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74, Russian troops occupied the Crimea. According to the Peace Treaty the Crimean Khanate was declared independent of Turkey.

In 1777 Shaghin-Ghirey became the khan. He was highly educated, knew the Greek and Italian languages. He had an idea of Europeanization of the khanate and introduced some reforms. The reforms provoke discontent and in October 1777 because of recruiting to an Europeanized army where Moslems and Christian had to serve together a mutiny occurred.

In Istanbul Selim Ghirey had been declared the khan of the Crimea and in December 1777 he disembarked in the Crimea. The civil war broke out. The Russian troops came to the aid and Shaghin Ghirey was restored on the throne.

The Russian troops, which came to the aid, were withdrawn from Crimea. Together with the troops 31,000 of Christians, Greeks and Armenians under supervision of Alexander Suvorov left the Mountain Crimea to be settled on the Northern coast of the Sea of Azov.

The 100.000 compensation could not make up a deficiency of the tillers. The heavy assessments provoked new riots and the khan had to seek help in Russia.

Russia at that time was busy with the project of revival of the Greek monarchy, liberation of Constantinople and held that the Crimea had to have a «Greek colouring».

The Greek insurgents were settled in the Crimea, the Crimean towns had to get the Greek names – Evpatoria, Feodosia, Sevastopol, Simferopol, Oreanda, Gaspra, Koreiz. Seven million subsidies for support of the khan were considered to be spent for nothing.

An April 8, 1783 the Manifesto of the annexation of the Crimea was declared.

Istanbul recognized the act of annexation on June,10, 1783.

Since 1783 the Crimea was the Russian Land.

Sevastopol is a city of the wonderful destiny and history. It was founded in 1783as a new fortress on the coast of the Black Sea and got the name of Sevastopol which in Greek means — “a city worth of worship”.


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