The Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman World

hosted by Chris Gratien and Nir Shafir

Although it was not an Ottoman province, Crimea was politically, militarily, and economically critical to Ottoman power in Eastern Europe, and the suzerainty of the Giray dynasty that governed Crimea for over three centuries was ultimately what held off Russian expansion and made the Black Sea truly an "Ottoman lake." In this episode, Denise Klein discusses the role of the Crimean Khanate in the Ottoman world and gives us an overview of the history, society, and culture of this political space. Drawing on her own research, she also uses a comparison of Ottoman and Crimean historiography to examine how these vassals understood their place in the Ottoman equation and how writers on opposing sides of the Black Sea interpreted and represented events in different ways. 

Denise Klein is a doctoral candidate at the University of Konstanz, Germany focusing the history and historiography of Ottoman Crimea (see
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see
Nir Shafir is a doctoral candidate at UCLA studying Ottoman intellectual history. (see

Episode No. 111
Release date: 28 June 2013


Denise Klein, Koç University RCAC
Istanbul, June 2013
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Fisher, Alan W., The Crimean Tatars, Stanford 1978.
Jobst, Kerstin S., Die Perle des Imperiums. Der russische Krim-Diskurs im Zarenreich, Konstanz 2007.
Kançal-Ferrari, Nicole, Kırım'dan Kalan Miras Hansaray, Istanbul 2005.
Kellner-Heinkele, Barbara, Joachim Gierlichs, and Brigitte Heuer (eds.), Islamic Art and Architecture in the European Periphery: Crimea, Caucasus, and the Volga-Ural Region, Wiesbaden 2008.
Kırımlı, Hakan, Türkiye'deki Kırım Tatar ve Nogay Köy Yerleşimleri, Istanbul 2012.
Klein, Denise (ed.), The Crimean Khanate between East and West (15th-18th Century), Wiesbaden 2012.
Kołodziejczyk, Dariusz, The Crimean Khanate and Poland-Lithuania: International Diplomacy on the European Periphery (15th-18th Century); A Study of Peace Treaties Followed by Annotated Documents, Leiden 2011.
Kurat, Akdes Nimet, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Arşivindeki Altın Ordu, Kırım ve Türkistan hanlarına ait yarlık ve bitikler, Istanbul 1940.
Zajcev, Il’ja V., Krymskaja istoriografičeskaja tradicija XV–XIX vv.: puti razvitija, rukopisi, teksty i istočniki, Moscow 2009.


Unknown said…
Hafsa Sultan, mother of Kanuni Sultan Suleiman (the Magnificent), is believed to be the daughter of Mengli Khan, the Khan of Crimean Tatars (Clot, A., 2005, Suleiman the Magnificent). So, it is not true that Ottomans and Crimean Khans did not have dynastic marriages, at least in this instance.

Special affinity afforded to Crimean Tatars by the Ottomans is believed to be due to Golden Hoard's Central Asian roots, they spoke and their names were Turkish (Turco-Mongols). The same applies to Tamerlane (Timur) and his lineage (Turkcised Mongols), even though Timur almost caused the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after he defeated Beyazid I at Ankara in 1402 (Marozzi, J., 2004, Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World).

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