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Claiming CrimeaA History of Catherine the Great's Southern Empire$
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Kelly O'Neill

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300218299

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300218299.001.0001

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Locating Crimea in Russian History

Locating Crimea in Russian History

(p.1) Introduction Locating Crimea in Russian History
Claiming Crimea

Kelly O'Neill

Yale University Press

This introductory chapter locates Crimea in Russian history. Early in the spring of 1783, Empress Catherine II announced that Russia had at long last annexed the Crimean Khanate. Russia had annexed coastal territory before as well, though it was possession of Crimea that gave it a substantive presence on the Black Sea. Crimea was neither the biggest nor the most lucrative of the empire's acquisitions. Its significance rests instead in the combination of cultural, chronological, and geographical conditions that made it an object of intense fascination and anxiety in distant St. Petersburg. Ultimately, the khanate presented a novel opportunity to Catherine and the “viceroy of Southern Russia,” Prince Grigorii Potemkin. Surveying the steppe, the mountains, the rivers, and the sea, they saw an opportunity not simply to integrate a new province, but to build a new empire—a southern empire.

Keywords:   Crimea, Russian history, Catherine II, Russia, Crimean Khanate, Black Sea, Grigorii Potemkin, empire

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