National Geographic News

Juan Valdés and Rosemary Wardley

for National Geographic

Published March 5, 2014

Crimea has long been a strategic and geopolitical prize. Ancient Cimmerians and Greeks, followed by the Goths and Venetians, were just a few of the embattled peninsula's many occupiers over the centuries.

The origin of its name is debated, but may have come from the word qrïm, meaning fortress, when it served as a capital of the Golden Horde in the 13th century. Long under the protection of the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate ruled the area for more than 300 years until Catherine the Great annexed the peninsula in 1783, part of a broad expansion of the Russian Empire under the Tsarina's reign. The five maps that follow illustrate how Crimea continued to change hands from the 18th century to the present.

Map of Ukraine, 1773-1917.
A vassal state of the Ottoman Empire since 1478, Crimea evolved into several political entities after the Russo-Turkish Treaty in 1774.
Map of Ukraine from 1917-1920.
As a consequence of the Russian Revolution, Crimea changed hands and officially took on several new names over this three-year period.
Map of Ukraine from 1921-1945.
After the reassertion of Soviet control in late 1920, Crimea became an autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, until the territory was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1941, returning to Russian control in 1945.
Map of Ukraine from 1945-1991.
During the late Soviet era, Crimea was transferred to Ukraine, with its administrative status being upgraded on the eve of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
Map of Ukraine from 1991-present.
With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of an independent Ukraine. Crimea's communist authorities proclaimed self-government in 1992, which ultimately led to the territory being granted expanded autonomous rights by Kiev.
111 comments
Donny Symynyshyn
Donny Symynyshyn

''Was the Crimean Peninsula the final home of the Legendary Amazons before they went to battle against the Ancient Greeks?''   -Donny B Yond

Donny Symynyshyn
Donny Symynyshyn

''These Maps are the more recent history of the Crimea documenting the Russian and the Soviet Occupation Era of the Ukraine'' -But what is more interesting and missing is the real Ancient History that has not been deeply researched or documented such as this north shore and majestic peninsula of the Black Sea being the final home of the Legendary Amazons, a fierce tribe of women warriors on horseback who originated in the Atlas Mountains on the southwest coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They arrived before the Classical Greeks and possibly were here in the same timeline simultaneously as the Mythological accounts of Jason and the Argonauts who were searching for the 'Golden Fleece' on the shores of the Black Sea.   -Donny B Yond 2014    

Ярослав Найчук
Ярослав Найчук

Crimea is Russian land, If not rotten Soviet regime, but now it hasbeen attached to us.

P.s Krym properly speak and not Crimea

Andrei Gavrea
Andrei Gavrea

The Crimeeans did exactly the same thing the Americans did a few centuries ago when they decided not to be a colony any further. I find it acceptable for a nation to decide its own fate even if that means to break some agreements which affect it and were made without asking people (ex. Budapest Agreement)

J Taylor
J Taylor

I see the reborn Czarist type element reaserting itself. Petersburg is a major imortant shipping and Navy port. So is Sevastapol. Perhaps the greedy powers in Kiev could not share profits or power commercialy in between.  After Chernobyl that region is in trouble economically. The Czar Nichoclas II royal family supported the American revolution and the North during the Civil WarThe Askenazi jews who created the Bolshevek revolution robbed a train and murdered the royal family. They went on a campaign to destroy the Czars remaining loyal peasants. America is still under the Rothchild banks occupation to continue the Zionist plan to conquer the world. These Banking system and power brokers have pushed our world into great wealth and destructive ruin. When they created their plan they could not see anything but their own greedy desires to control all. I fear that in the end they will only destroy us all.

Roberta Melville
Roberta Melville

History repeats it self again, The same arguments were used by uncle adolf to annex studentland

Beau Brumley
Beau Brumley

It's quite hypocritical to recognize Kosovo as an independent state while at the same time condemning Crimeans for doing the same thing. I find it respectable for Crimea to disassociate itself from a nation overtaken by neo-Nazis.

Gamer Maximov
Gamer Maximov

It was a  joke and not a referendum. The number of bulletins was much more then number of voters. In Sevastopol there were 123% votes "for Russia" There were not any credible observers. Referendum was conducted in 10 days with massive anti-Ukraine propaganda. All ukrainian TV channals were blocked. Independent pay-rolls shows that around 50% of crimians want Crimea with more rights in Ukraine. 

Gamer Maximov
Gamer Maximov

Russia itself initiated, conducted and counted referendum in it's own dictatorship manner. Why didn't Russia conduct the referendum in democratic way? All OSCE observers were kicked out from Crimea.

Tony de Burca
Tony de Burca

It seems that with an 86% turnout and 97% in favour of the referendum to join Russia the people of Crimea have spoken. In Northern Ireland we must accept that a majority of that population wish to be part of the U.K. and unless and until that majority changes that is what all sides have accepted.

Andrey Kondrashev
Andrey Kondrashev

The residents of the Crimea themselves held a referendum for joining Russia. Army them was protected from "Bandera"who killed and burned by a Molotov cocktail in Kiev police publicly humiliated Russians and Ukrainians who did not support the change vlastibor as aggressive"Bandera". As you can on the other to protect civilians?

DOBUM YOON
DOBUM YOON

It is very important information for me to understand the history.

Thank you.

Eugene Gavrilov
Eugene Gavrilov

Crimea is, was and will be a Russian territory. There is no Ukraine at all. Just a small part in region of Lvov where half-polacks live may be called Ukraine. All other territory belongs to Russia.

Тарас Гринчишин
Тарас Гринчишин

Interesing, but at least one mistake - on the last map: city of Sevastopol' is/was an Ukrainian territory, being the 27-th (after Crimean authonomy, 24 oblasts and city of Kyiv) administrative unit of Ukraine. Russia leased for its navy only several military bases within both Sevastopol' and rest of Crimea territories.

Pavel Sotov
Pavel Sotov

Крым - исконно русская территория.

ghaffar Vasandani
ghaffar Vasandani

As seen from ng report history of crimea is very much interesting. The  people have spoken indeed and they should be given freedom to live the way they like. 

Charles Damery
Charles Damery

The one you have to think of is the oil and gas reserves under the Black Sea. That all Putin cares about and he has the military to take it. By hook or by crook.

Abe Yarok
Abe Yarok

@J Taylor  

We are living in the modern age , not in the mid evil times . Its out of style ,today ,that type of blind hatred . By the way you forget to blame them for the traffic jam in midtown Manhattan , their must be some connection ,after all I am sure ,you can come up with something ,if you try hard enough . 

Do you realize , that the "protocols of the elders of zion " was used as justification ,for their atrocities by Hitler & Stalin , a documents ,which all historians agree today ,never excited , & no trace of any such ,was ever found in an archives ,anywhere ,in the world ,even in material that become ,unclassified . The Jewish Religion ,preachs love & kindness ,as is stated in the Bible & Talmud.

Taylor ,think it over again, its just doesn't add up. 

Have a nice day

Abe 

Abe Yarok
Abe Yarok

@J Taylor  

We are living in the modern age , not in the mid evil times . Its out of style ,today ,that type of blind hatred . By the way you forget to blame them for the traffic jam in midtown Manhattan , their must be some connection ,after all I am sure ,you can come up with something ,if you try hard enough . 

Do you realize , that the "protocols of the elders of zion " was used as justification ,for their atrocities by Hitler & Stalin , a documents ,which all historians agree today ,never excited , & no trace of any such ,was ever found in an archives ,anywhere ,in the world ,even in material that become ,unclassified . The Jewish Religion ,preachs love & kindness ,as is stated in the Bible & Talmud.  

Taylor ,think it over again, its just doesn't add up. 

Have a nice day

Abe 

John Armstrong
John Armstrong

@Gamer Maximov many news agencies reported a lot differant than what you say , where is your proof of this "123% votes" ??? When least not forget that the government of Ukraine made speaking Russian Illegal and almost 90% of Crimea speaks Russian , you can look that up and find that easily , so if your language you speak , and your way of life are made illegal , what do you expect someone to do?

Sam Johns
Sam Johns

@Gamer Maximov  Do not be a fool. You can not force people to rejoice. And threaten them with a gun. It is not possible. You neonazi?

David Larsen
David Larsen

@Tony de Burca That is a lie. It is more like 35% turned out for what the World determined an illegal vote. The people who believe in law and the World did not vote! So what you have is 97% of 35% of the people. Those people probably were not even Ukrainians but Russians. The vote was illegal and many were not even supposed to vote!

Gamer Maximov
Gamer Maximov

@Tony de Burca It was a  joke and not a referendum. The number of bulletins was much more then number of voters. In Sevastopol there were 123% votes "for Russia" There were not any credible observers. Referendum was conducted in 10 days with massive anti-Ukraine propaganda. All ukrainian channals were blocked. Independent pay-rolls shows that around 50% of crimians want Crimea with more rights in Ukraine. 

David Larsen
David Larsen

@Andrey Kondrashev That is ignorant. The only "Bandera" is Putin. You have been listening to the Putin propaganda. Everyone else in the World with free press knows this is ridiculous. Criminals like to say crap like this as it promotes their illegal takeover. It is simply hogwash. If you truly believe this than you are extremely naive.  Putin is the biggest criminal in the World with a net worth of 100+ billion. Why do you think many people living in Ukraine and Russia do not have toilets! they are that backward and poor because of the criminals!

David Larsen
David Larsen

@Eugene Gavrilov more hogwash. It is Ukraine. The World accepted it including Russia. Russia killed 7-10 million and made slaves of millions of Ukrainians including Crimeans. This is why it was not Russia. Dimwits. Kill them starve them and now that they made something steal it!

Veselin Vasilev
Veselin Vasilev

@Pavel Sotov так точно :) Росийская Федерация надо существует ето очень важна для каждьй человек  в мире так чоеловек имеет вьйбор куда он хочеть жьйть тоже Крьйм руских Это важно для России быть сильной стороной обороны и Черноморский флот, что США не хотят существовать

когда мир многополярный, то люди будут иметь свободу выбора, где жить предпочтительно их

Александр Назаренко
Александр Назаренко

@Pavel Sotov Может турецкая территория!!! Когда будут гробы с русскими парнями в Москву возвращаться, посмотрим как русские путлера поддерживать будут. С Украиной не получится так как с Чечней и с Грузией.    

Harald Petersen
Harald Petersen

@Charles Damery  it's not about the oil and gas, which Russia has more than plenty but about their naval base in Sebastopol not getting into the NATO hands.

Ryszard Ruśniak
Ryszard Ruśniak

@Abe Yarok @J Taylor  not the "protocols" but the reparation after WWI and judeo-communist Weimar Republic, waiting for Russian Jewish communists to join after conquering Poland.

Hitler and Pilsudski saved Europe from judeo-communism. Abe, no offence but that/s the way it was.

David Larsen
David Larsen

@Sam Johns @Gamer Maximovyour the fool. You have no idea what Russia buys including people rejoicing. They buy votes, instigators, demonstrators just about everything. If they can't buy it they use physical force i.e. 20000 soldiers! Russia is a government of criminals! It is simply unbelievable and anyone wanting such a government has to be a criminal. That is fact. It is simply unbelievable! Every person in Russia knows this!

Sam Johns
Sam Johns

@Gamer Maximov  Do not be a fool. You can not force people to rejoice. And threaten them with a gun. It is not possible. You neonazi??

Veselin Vasilev
Veselin Vasilev

@David Larsen @Andrey KondrashevMr. Lares not know much about Russia except that your enemy but that's just my pomilsete consider how wars the United States fought in World War II, so consider who is the aggressor olemiya now

and thank God that there are countries like Russia that can counter the excesses of the White House, you know very well o
in this world, the United States and Russia must exist as a great country to be a balance in the world otherwise not good for a single person in the world
I am Bulgarian and the only American who has respect for your people who killed JFK toye true patriot he wanted daobroto all around the world not only for her country
and you accept that the Russian Federation is, and that should be there is better for all of us to have the freedom to choose where to go in the U.S. or Russia or Europe
good luck man

Anton Bessolitsyn
Anton Bessolitsyn

@David Larsen You and I we're just ordinary people. I live in Russia and I listen to Putin's propaganda, you listen to what you say your policy. If you think that your press-free, it is a mistake. If you really want to know about the situation in Crimea - Let's go to Crimea and talk to people, different people! I don't trust our and your press. 

Andrey B. Gladkov
Andrey B. Gladkov

@Александр Назаренко Татары там появились только в 15 веке. А тех, кто до них был, можно, не считать? 

Неандертальцы, скифы, греки, печенеги, русы, хазары, византийцы, римляне, половцы? С чего вы взяли, что гробы пойдут? Кто-то воевать собрался? Может быть, Украина, за Крым? Какая в Украине армия, последние события показали. В Грузии, хоть постреляли, а в Крыму, даже этого не пришлось делать. Придётся на помощь Запад звать. Кстати, у Путина, сейчас, самый высокий рейтинг,за всё время,  именно, благодаря,  Украине. Крым, уже не отдадут,  мачехе Украине, ей придётся повоевать за него. Вы то, умирать за Крым не пойдёте, судя по всему, в армии не служили, поэтому, у вас и отношение такое шапкозакидательское и воинственная риторика.

Aleksander Morozov
Aleksander Morozov

@Александр Назаренко  уже не получилось. В Крыму вообще стрелять не пришлось. Трусливые хохлы без боя сдались.

Alex U.
Alex U.

@David Larsen @Gamer Maximov You are lost in time. Look at crimeans today. People are happy. Salary & pension increased. 90% of ukrainian soldiers selected russian army and navy. Less a hundred families went out from the peninsula (1.9m population).
Look around you, mr. Maximov. The state before defolt. Social payment decreased. Armed guys with masks at the street... Why they hide the faces like gangsters? From the nation? Do you want to know you future? Famine is coming to you. Ukraine is not needed for ES or US...
Mr. Larsen I don't know where are you from. You are the really victim of US propaganda. They are criminals. They really thrill all the world.
We provide the peace in Crimea (no one was died) and save russians. Like US in Kosovo, Egypt, Lybia, Iraq, etc. Like GB "saved" citizens in Falklands. Like Turkey in Cyprus. Enough examples?

Serhiy The same
Serhiy The same

@Aleksander Morozov Понятно, что трусливые, ведь хРАБрЫе русские перед собой поставили. Ваш презик так и сказал " посмотрим, как они стрелять будут". Браво! Так низко даже Гитлер не делал. хРАБрецЫ!

Viktoria Mullin
Viktoria Mullin

@Aleksander Morozov "...скажи-ка дядя, ведь не даром, Москва, спалённая пожаром, Французу отдана?" (М.Ю.Лермонтов "Бородино")

без поэзии, а только в контексте истории: Не спешите с выводами


Viacheslav Komarov
Viacheslav Komarov

@Aleksander Morozov  не надо провокаций. Украинцы не трусливые. Просто нацистам не удалось спровоцировать их стрелять в своих братьев-славян. Не секрет, что раскол в Украинском обществе тлел уже давно и когда наступил час Х, то всем стало очевидно, что начни кто-то стрелять по россиянам или по крымчанам, война уже начнётся внутри украинских воинских частей. Ведь очень многие граждане Украины не разделяют себя от русской цивилизации. В конце-концов все россияне не одного славянского племени. Нас много и мы разные. И те парни, кто сейчас там с оружием, моего возраста, мы все родились в СССР и воспитывались на принципах дружбы народов, братства и единства. Потом мы все видели, что это политики устраивают ссоры и пилят власть и собственность, а мы как были одним народом, так и остались.


Serhiy The same
Serhiy The same

@Alex U. Where are you from? You said a lot, but it is all lie!
I am from Ukraine, but most of my and my wife relatives living in Crimea. I am always talking with them about this situation. Now many people not really happy in Crimea and a lot of them were against to be a part of Russia, but they had no chance because nobody didn't ask them. Only in one city of Crimea most part of people wanted to Russia. It was Sevastopol. 

You said "We provide the peace in Crimea (no one was died)", but you again lied. Some Ukrainian soldiers were killed. Who killed them? Green men? Aren't they (green men) Russians? And now you say "no one was died".

P.S. Where you saw in the world, that  women and children went before soldiers , as it made Russians soldiers in Crimea?

Think about this. And if you have no enough information don't tell a lie. At first visit Crimea and ask people which living there. Wellcome!

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