News / Europe

Crimea's Complicated History in Brief

Ukrainian officers return after negotiations with Russian troops (L) at the Belbek airport in the Crimea region, March 4, 2014.
Ukrainian officers return after negotiations with Russian troops (L) at the Belbek airport in the Crimea region, March 4, 2014.
Katherine Gypson
Crimea is a strategically located region on the Black Sea with a complicated history.  
Crimea is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea and an autonomous, predominantly Russian-speaking, republic of Ukraine.  

Ethnic Russians account for 58 percent of Crimea's population, while Ukrainians make up 24 percent.  Crimean Tatars, who began returning to the peninsula from exile after the fall of the Soviet Union, comprise 12 percent of its population.

In its early history, the Crimea was part of several major empires.  By the 13th century, it was occupied by the Tatars - Turkic-speaking Muslims who were part of the Mongol Empire.  

The Crimea was annexed by Russian empress Catherine the Great in 1783.

The Crimean War of 1853-56 pitted Russia against Great Britain and France.

Allied forces took the city of Sevastopol, the home of the Tsar’s Black Sea Fleet, after a long siege.  By the war’s end, the Crimea lay in ruins.

Crimea was the sight of brutal fighting during the 1917 Russian revolution and during World War II.  During this time, Crimea was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

In 1944, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin deported the entire Crimean Tatar population to Central Asia and other parts of the Soviet Union for their alleged collaboration with the Nazis.

In 1954, the Soviet Union, now under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of independent Ukraine, and Moscow and Kyiv agreed to divide up the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet.  

In a recent poll of Russians by the state-run All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion, 56 percent of the respondents said they saw Crimea as part of Russia.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid