Crimea, the Prize as Always

A guest post from William Dare, a retired university professor who lives in Thailand.

History of Crimea, hegemon by hegemon

Dear Colleagues,

Starting in @500 BC here's a real quick spin thru the History of Crimea, hegemon by hegemon:

-- Scythians

-- Greek Colonists  (major trading towns were Chersonesos, Balaclava, Sudak, and Kerch)

-- Kingdom of Pontus (Roman client state; Romans did build and garrison the complex of Charax, near Cherson)

-- Germanic Goths  (They build up Mangup, near Cherson, as a fortress cum trading center)

-- Black Huns (kept Goths in a state of vassalage till the death of Attila)

-- Goths and Sarmatians  (These latter were steppe nomads in the tradition of Scythians who mostly kept to Crimea's grasslands, which abound)

-- Byzantines (Emperor Justinian reoccupies, refortifies Crimean outposts, from Chersonesos to Kerch)

-- Khazar Khaganate   (until 1016 when they are annihilated at Kerch by a pincer of Kievan Rus' army and Byzantine navy)

-- Kievan Rus'

-- Byzantines/Kipchaks, along with significant numbers of Genoese, Venetians, and Armenians. 
The Armenians tended to congregate in Caffa, making this Crimean port the world's largest slave-trading depot!  The Kipchaks are originally steppe nomads who move into lands vacated by the Khazars and acquire a taste for trade goods, and the life in trading outposts that goes with it. 

-- The Golden Horde  (capital at Sarai, later New Sarai)  Batu, the first Khan of the Golden Horde (and a grandson of Genghis Khan) is known as the "Khan of Kipchak."

-- The Sultanate of Rum!  The former Seljuk Sultan Kaihaus is given the appanage of Crimea as a dowry when he marries the daughter of Berke Khan, Batu's younger brother.  He rules the Crimea as a loyal appanagiste from 1265 till 1279; upon his death rule returns to Sarai and the Golden Horde

-- The Golden Horde, again, which is losing its cohesion and its member "ulus" (=district) are breaking away.  Moniker switches to Great Horde

-- The Crimean Khanate  ( A major "ulus" of the Golden Horde/Great Horde which achieves its independence in 1440s)

There was a point where the Crimean Khan, a devout Muslim, actually explored an alliance with Cossacks from the area of Ukraine to resist the hegemonic rule of the Ottomans.  It came to naught. Sorry VICTORIA.
And one last interesting footnote:  Cossacks out of the Ukraine once successfully raided Caffa by sea, torched the Ottoman ships in the harbor for the most part, and freed all the slaves they could. 

-- Ottoman Empire   Ottomans exercise full control in Caffa, but allow the Crimean Khan to rule over the rest of the Crimea as their loyal vassal.  Many joint military operations are conducted,  West as far as Belgrade, North as far as Moscow, East as far as Derbent, Persia.

-- Russia    Shed tons of blood wiping out the Crimean Khanate, fighting the combined Crimean- Ottoman forces, then shed a lot more blood in the Russian-Crimean War (think Florence Nightingale, balaclavas, Charge of the Light Brigade, etc.)

Tons more Russian blood shed in Crimea in WWs one and two.

Fast Forward to 1954:  The head of the Politburo of the USSR is one Nikita Khrushev, who happens to be a Ukrainian.  Under his agenda, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine is ceded 
administrative control of the oblast of Crimea.

And speaking of dates, when did the Ukraine first become recognized as a country?  Only in 1918, and then by the advancing Germans who saw Ukraine as a German "breadbasket" which naturally should be split away from Mother Russia!  Guess what the Russian nickname is for Ukraine....."Little Russia"   [Tchaikovshy composed a symphony by that name]

Conclusion:  Ukrainian claims on Crimea are on air; they cant even begin to press a claim until 1954, unless we wanna claim that the Cossack raid on Caffa way back when qualifies as some kind of weird squatters' rights.  Joke!

That's it for now, everyone.  Obviously, I left out dates, but the chronological order is correct.  Viva Crimea!!

Bill in Thailand 

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