The indigenous people forced into exile

The first occupation of crimea in 1783

Last Crimean Khan Sahin Giray (1745-1787) Drawing by Andrey Bolotov

The massive emigration of Crimean Tatars from their homeland started immediately after Russia annexed the peninsula in 1783. In the 18th and 19th centuries, three major waves of outward migration by indigenous Crimean Tatar people took place.

Manifesto proclaiming the 1783 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Empire

The main reasons behind the forcible resettlement of the Crimean Tatars to the Ottoman Empire, Romania and Bulgaria were the Russian Empire’s repressive policies, redistribution of lands and religious discrimination. The colonisation of the northern coast of Crimea and the Black Sea also started at this time. Inhabitants from other regions of the Russian Empire were called in to “expropriate” or “absorb” the region.

Russian Empress Catherine II who annexed Crimea. Painting by Fyodor Rokotov

Arrival of Catherine II in Feodosiya. Painting by Ivan Aivazovsky (1883, commissioned for 100th anniversary of Crimea’s annexation)

View of Crimean steppes. Painting by Carlo Bossoli (1850s)

View of Karasubazar. Painting by Carlo Bossoli (1850s)