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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs