Crimea's Tatars are the Native Crimean Nomads Interbred with the Mongols of Genghis Khan's Army

The Mongol Empire in 1294

The group of people now know as the 'Crimean Tatars', unlike the Russians or Ukranians, didn't come from anywhere, at least as far back as recorded history goes. The Crimean Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Crimea, they are the native Crimeans. The name 'Tatars' was used an alternative term for the Shiwei, a nomadic confederation to which these Crimean native people belonged.  As various of these nomadic groups became part of Genghis Khan's armies  in the early 13th century, a fusion of Mongol and Turkic elements took place creating the Turko-Mongol ethnic group we now call the Crimean Tatars.

Remember, the Mongols didn't stop in Russia - they got as far as the gates of Budapest in Hungary, and the only reason they turned back in 1241 was because the Great Khan Ogedei [son of Genghis who died in 1227] died and they had to go back to choose his successor., including Batu Khan leader of the western part of the empire, known as the Golden Horde. But the Tatars stayed put and later emerged as an independent nation at the time of the Crimean Khanate, a Turkic-speaking Muslim state which was among the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the beginning of the 18th century. The nobles and rulers of the Crimean Tatars were the progeny of Hacı I Girai, a Jochid descendant of Genghis Khan and thus of Batu Khan of the Mongol Golden Horde.

Down through recorded history Crimea was invaded or occupied successively by the Goths (AD 250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (4th–8th century), the Khazars (8th century), the state of Kievan Rus' (10th–11th centuries), the Byzantine Empire (1016), the Kipchaks (Kumans) (1050), and the Mongols (1237). In the 13th century, the Republic of Genoa seized the settlements which their rivals, the Venetians, had built along the Crimean coast and gained control of the Crimean economy and the Black Sea commerce for two centuries. They were followed by the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th to 18th centuries. In the 18th century Crimea became part of the Russian Empire. In 1921 the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic [SSR] was created. In 1954 Crimea was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of the newly independent Ukraine. Independence was supported by a referendum in all regions of Ukrainian SSR, including Crimea.

The Tatars are the Crimeans, nonetheless, on 18 May 1944 , the entire population of the Crimean Tatars [pictured at left in traditional dress] were forcibly deported in the "Sürgün" (Crimean Tatar for exile) to Siberia by Joseph Stalin's Soviet government as a form of collective punishment on the grounds that they had collaborated with the Nazi occupation forces.

In 1967 a Soviet decree removed the charges against Crimean Tatars but the Soviet government did nothing to facilitate their resettlement in Crimea or to make reparations for lost lives and confiscated property. Today, more than 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to their homeland but the Ukrainian government has done little to settle the land title disputes and almost all Tatars still live on 'squats'.

The Great Khans conquered most of Eurasia between 1206 and 1294 on horseback. i've spent a buncha very interesting time lately learning about Genghis Khan...and, for today i'll just say the Mongols were pretty cool as far as hordes go. They stuck to being pastoralists, they were shamanists [today we'd call them panthesists]. Unlike most conquers they didn't proselytize, they didn't even go into the towns or cities, they just hung around with their horses out on the bordering grasslands. They sent in a few officials to take a census [they invented the census] and as long as the area paid taxes [tribute] they never even saw the mongols. If they didn't pay, well...

The story of the Great Khans is the history of Russia. The Russian Princes paid the tribute, in part because they feared the Teutonic Knights and hoped the Golden Horde would subdue them, in part because they woulda lost anyway. Instead of having their towns burned to the ground the Russian Princes lived and as the Mongol Empire retreated over the coming centuries the Russians filled the vacuum. It's a great story...to be continued in the days to ahead on The Mud Report because of how it pre-determined the events today in Crimea, Ukraine and all of Eurasia and also because it's a very neat story.

Genghis Khan said in the hours before his death in 1227  "It's not how many breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away."