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.
134 comments
Thom Sokoloski
Thom Sokoloski

Boundaries shift but that is not the point. The point is that Russia broke the the 1994  Budapest Agreement it signed with Europe and US. Why? Because their stranglehold on Ukrainian politicians had been severed by the will of the Ukrainian people, and in my book, the will of the people must needs respecting. 


In this case a boundary shifted through illegal aggression by Russia, and National Geographic should stay away of legitimizing it. It is no different then the land grab in the East whcih they almost lost, and to re-enforce the lunatics who assume they are in control. Now it is a standstill. 


National Geographic should worry less about losing its subscription base in Russia and stick to its reputation as a provider of authentic and honest journalism.


Russian hubris needs to get out of the past. The glory days are over. It is time to focus on world peace and less on re-securing an empire that is over with. 

Андрей Андреев
Андрей Андреев

Какие крымские татары? Греки там намного раньше появились. А ещё раньше - скифы.:-)  А сейчас - это Россия.

Jarek P
Jarek P

Crimeria should be independent state and should belong to Tatars, it was invaded in XVIII, XIX century by Russians like many other countries including Poland and the Tatar nation was exterminated by Russians. And now Russians claim that it was always Russian land, but it's not, they are invaders in Eastern Europe since the time when Russia become an empire, at the beginning of XVIII century, the Russian invasion starts., you can see maps from XVIII century and older.
ps. sorry for my English, 

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.

Markus Jo
Markus Jo

@Thom Sokoloski World peace ? Tell that the U.S., the most warmongering Empire the world has ever seen, it has fought more wars and killed more people in it's existence than any other empire in history ever

did.

Markus Jo
Markus Jo

@Thom Sokoloski dude, have you ever been in Crimea ? 99% is Russian there and supports them, all hell would break loose if Russia didn't intervene, with 10000's of casualties as a result... Now it's calm... You're just being ignorant and supporting the Ukraine Nazi's.

Maxim Zheleznyak
Maxim Zheleznyak

@Jarek P Before Russia destroyed Tatar State in Crimea, for 250!!!! years main Tatar State businees was slavery of Russian people. Crimea was not invaded it was conquered in response to the deadly threat and tremedous damage it made to Russia in previos 250 years.

iarema xwr
iarema xwr

@Andrei Gavrea Interesting thing they were never talking about it before Russian troops in uniforms without emblems came there. These 'little green men' were so much Crimeans as Lenin was Zulu.

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 

Ron Monks
Ron Monks

@Beau Brumley Do you know as a fact that Ukraine has been "overtaken by neo-nazis?  No, didn't think so.  I live in Ukraine and its people are the same peaceful people as before...even when they were ruled by the real Nazi - Putler as the people of Ukraine call him - through his chain of corrupt puppets.  As to the Nazis, there are some.  The call themselves separatists or rebels, when in fact, they are no better than SS troops invading Ukraine yet again.


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?

Markus Jo
Markus Jo

@Gamer Maximov That's not true, there were a lot of independent observers, but you just won't want to hear that.

Ron Monks
Ron Monks

@Tony de Burca You can't be serious.  The referendum was illegal and most people did not pariicipate including the Ukrainians and Tatars.  Why would any sane person believe the referendum was anything other than a farce where the results were determined in advance from Moscow.  Oh, that's right,, they let non Ukrainian citizens vote as well including people living in Moscow.  Referendum?  give me a break!

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. 

iarema xwr
iarema xwr

@Maxim Zheleznyak What about half a million of slaves in Russia today?

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.

Ron Monks
Ron Monks

@John Armstrong @Gamer Maximov John, perhaps you should look a few things up.  I live in Ukraine, in a city where everyone speaks Russian and nearly everyone is against Putin.  Here they call him "Putler"  Speaking Russian or any language is perfectly legal and commonplace.  Ukraine is a polyglot country - unlike xenophobic Russia.

Ron Monks
Ron Monks

@Sam Johns @Gamer Maximov You are the fool, Sam.  Those rejoicing were Russian citizens stationed in Sevastopol and attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet.  Prior polls showed that only 30% of the population had any interest in being joined to Russia.

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!

Ron Monks
Ron Monks

@David Larsen @Tony de Burca And that 33% or so is what polls showed before Maidan.  Remember that a large number of Crimea residents are there on military assignment.  It would be like allowing Americans to vote in Heidleberg on a referendum to be annexed by the USA.  Who would take such a vote seriously?  As an American, I sure wouldn't and of course the whole idea is ludicrous.  But ludicrous has be the best way to describe Moscow's behavior for many years.


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??

Markus Jo
Markus Jo

@Ron Monks 99% of the population wanted to join Russia, I don't see any civil war happening in Crimea, like in Nazi Ukraine ? 

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?

Ron Monks
Ron Monks

@Alex U. Alex - a young brainwashed fool or a paid Russian troll, it doesn't matter.  

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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