The Tauri (Ταῦροι in Ancient greek), also Scythotauri, Tauri Scythae, Tauroscythae (Pliny, H. N. 4.85) were a people settling on the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula, inhabiting the Crimean Mountains and the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the Black Sea.
They gave their name to the peninsula, which was known in ancient times as Taurica, Taurida and Tauris. Taurica, Tauric Chersonese, and Tauris were names by which the territory of the Crimean Peninsula was known to the Greeks and Romans.
They are thought to have been an offshoot of the Cimmerians, whom the Scythians expelled from their original homeland further north in the 7th century BC. However, there is another version, according to which Taurians may be related to the Abkhaz and Adyghe tribes, which at that time resided much farther westwards than nowadays.
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians (Greek: Κιμμέριοι, Kimmerioi) were an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov as early as 1300 BC until they were driven southward by the Scythians into Anatolia during the 8th century BC. Linguistically they are usually regarded as Iranian, or possibly Thracian with an Iranian ruling class.
Greek settlers inhabited a number of colonies along the coast of the peninsula, notably the city of Chersonesos in modern Sevastopol.
The whole area was dotted with Greek cities: in the west, Panticapaeum (Kerch)—the most significant city in the region, Nymphaeum and Myrmekion; on the east Phanagoria (the second city of the region), Kepoi, Germonassa, Portus Sindicus and Gorgippia.
In the 2nd century BC the eastern part of Taurica became part of the Bosporan Kingdom, the longest surviving Roman client kingdom, before being incorporated into the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC.
The Bosporan Kingdom (also known as the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus) was an ancient state located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula, on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus (now known as the Strait of Kerch). It was named after the Bosphorus, also known as Istanbul Strait, a different strait that divides Asia from Europe.
During the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, Taurica was host to Roman legions (not legion(s), only some aids) and colonists in Charax, Crimea.
Throughout the later centuries, Crimea was invaded or occupied successively by the Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths (AD 250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (4th–8th century), the Khazars (8th century), the state of Kievan Rus’ (10th–11th centuries), the Byzantine Empire (1016), the Kipchaks (Kumans) (1050), and the Mongols (1237).
In the 13th century, the Republic of Genoa seized the settlements that their rivals, the Venetians, had built along the Crimean coast and gained control of the Crimean economy and the Black Sea commerce for two centuries. The Black Death pandemic came to Europe in the 14th century, probably aboard Genoese merchant ships from the Crimean peninsula.
A number of Turkic peoples, now collectively known as the Crimean Tatars, came to inhabit the peninsula starting with the early Middle Ages. They emerged as a nation at the time of the Crimean Khanate, a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783.
The Crimean Khanate was a Turkic-speaking Muslim state which was among the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the beginning of the 18th century.
The Crimean Tatars mostly adopted Islam in the 14th century and thereafter Crimea became one of the centers of Islamic civilization.
The nobles and rulers of the Crimean Tatars were the progeny of Hacı I Girai a Jochid descendant of Genghis Khan who was Great Mongol ruler, and thus of Batu Khan of the Mongol Golden Horde.
Until the beginning of the 18th century, Crimean Tatars were known for frequent, at some periods almost annual, devastating raids into Ukraine and Russia. For a long time, until the early 18th century, the Crimean Khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East which was the most important basis of its economy.
One of the most important trading ports and slave markets was Kefe. Some researchers estimate that altogether more than 3 million people, predominantly Ukrainians but also Russians, Belarusians and Poles, were captured and enslaved during the time of the Crimean Khanate in what was called “the harvest of the steppe”.
The Russo-Turkish War (1768–74) resulted in the defeat of the Ottomans by the Russians, and according to the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) signed after the war, Crimea became independent and Ottomans renounced their political right to protect the Crimean Khanate. After a period of political unrest in Crimea, Russia violated the treaty and annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783.
After the annexation, many Crimean Tatars were massacred and exiled into Siberia and under pressure of Slavic colonization, Crimean Tatars began to abandon their homes and move to the Ottoman Empire in continuing waves of emigration.
During World War II, the entire Crimean Tatar population in Crimea fell victim to Soviet policies.
Although a great number of Crimean Tatar men served in the Red Army and took part in the partisan movement in Crimea during the war, the existence of the Tatar Legion in the Nazi army and the collaboration of Crimean Tatar religious and political leaders with Hitler during the German occupation of Crimea provided the Soviets with a pretext for accusing the whole Crimean Tatar population of being Nazi collaborators.
At times these dominated the peninsula demographically, while at other times their numbers dwindled (1750–1944) or disappeared altogether (1944–91), only to reappear again (1991–present)
Today, more than 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to their homeland, struggling to re-establish their lives and reclaim their national and cultural rights against many social and economic obstacles.
In 1991, the Crimean Tatar leadership founded the Qurultay, or Parliament, to act as a representative body for the Crimean Tatars which could address grievances to the Ukrainian central government, the Crimean government, and international bodies. Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is the executive body of the Qurultay.
Since the 1990s, the political leader of the Crimean Tatars and the chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is a former Soviet dissident Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu.
Many Europeans think currently that Putin’s intervention is a throwback to the Cold War. But “wait a minute”. Was the Crimea not since Catherine the Great a Russian territory?
Yes, that is so after 1774, when the Crimea became independent from the Ottoman Empire and increasingly dependent on the Russian Empire, and after it had been annexed under Grigori Potemkin of Russia until Catherine II declared the Crimea on 8 April 1783 ” from now on and forever ” Russian territory.
Only after the Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet party leader, who then could not know that the USSR would fall apart later, the Crimea was in 1954 affiliated to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Is not also the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in the Crimea?
The demand to maintain the integrity of the Ukraine, especially in the eastern territories, seems to be legitimate and should be pursued under all circumstances, but in the Crimea there are historical facts on the side of the Russians.
Crimean Tatar language
Deportation of the Crimean Tatars