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Oxted and District History Society
 Tuesday 23rd January 2007.

’The Crimea’ by John Tolley

The Crimea is a large peninsula on the north side of the Black Sea where successive invaders settled throughout its history. John Tolley explained this to the Oxted & District History Society in his illustrated lecture on ‘The Crimea’.

Heroditus wrote that in ancient times it was occupied by the Syrians and then the Scythians, who absorbed much Greek culture. The Romans followed and then the Goths and Huns invaded. From 700 AD the Crimea was in the Khazar kingdom, before being conquered by the Grand Prince of Kiev in 988. In 1237 Genghis Khan captured the north and centre of the Crimea and some Crimean Tartars still remain. At this time the Genoese occupied the south. They carried on a lucrative slave trade with Italy.

In 1452 the southern Crimea was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. At this time the north was occupied by the Lithuanians who had previously conquered Kiev. The Ottomans soon occupied the whole Crimea until the Russians took it over in the 1780s.

In the 19th Century the Crimea became a popular area for holiday homes for wealthy Russians, despite the disruption caused by the Crimean War. Today the Crimea is a semi-autonomous region within the Ukraine but 58% of the population still consider themselves to be Russian.

Lecture given at
Oxted United Reformed Church,
Bluehouse Lane, Oxted