Tatar slave raids in East Slavic lands
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The military of the Crimean Khanate and the Nogai Horde conducted slave raids in the East Slavic territories controlled by Russia[a] and Lithuania.[b] These raids began after Crimea became independent about 1441 and lasted until the peninsula came under Russian control in 1774.
Their main purpose was the Muscovy pacification and the capture of slaves, most of whom were exported to the Ottoman slave markets in Constantinople or elsewhere in the Middle East. The raids were an drain of the human and economic resources of eastern Europe. They largely inhabited the "Wild Fields" – the steppe and forest-steppe land which extends from a hundred or so miles south of Moscow to the Black Sea and which now contains most of the Russian and Ukrainian population. The campaigns also played an important role in the development of the Cossacks.
Estimates of the number of people affected vary: according to Alan W. Fisher, the number of people deported from the Slavic lands on both sides of the border during the 14th to 17th centuries was about 3 million. Michael Khodarkhovsky estimates that 150,000 to 200,000 people were abducted from Russia in the first 50 years of the 17th century.
The ﬁrst major Tatar raid for slaves occurred in 1468 and was directed into the south-eastern border of Poland. Crimean Khan Devlet I Giray burnt down Moscow during the 1571 campaign, Ivan the Terrible who proclaimed himself «the tsar of Muscovy and all Rus» wherein, having learnt that Crimean Tatar army was approaching Moscow, fled from Moscow to Kolomna with his oprichniks army. The last raid into Hungary by the Crimean Tatars took place in 1717. In 1769 a last major Tatar raid, which took place during the Russo-Turkish War, saw the capture of 20,000 slaves.
Most of the raids fell on territory of today's Russia and Ukraine – lands previously divided between Muscovy and Lithuania, although some fell on Moldavia and Circassia (North Caucasus). A considerable part of the male population of Crimea took part in these campaigns.
The main economic goal of the raids was booty, some of it material, but most of it human. These human trade goods were mostly sold on to the Ottoman Empire, although some remained in Crimea. Slaves and freedmen formed approximately 75% of the Crimean population. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "It is known that for every slave the Crimeans sold in the market, they killed outright several other people during their raids, and a couple more died on the way to the slave market." The main slave market was Caffa which after 1475 was part of the coastal strip of Crimea that belonged to the Ottomans. In the 1570s close to 20,000 slaves a year went on sale in Caffa.
The Crimean Khanate broke off from the Golden Horde in 1441. When the Horde came to an end in 1502 the buffer between Crimea and its northern neighbors disappeared. The Khans took advantage of the conflicts between Lithuania and Moscow, allying now with one, then with the other, and using the alliance with one as a justification to attack the other. During the Russo-Lithuanian War of 1500–1506 the Crimeans were allied with Russia and penetrated deep into Lithuania. Relations soon deteriorated. Near continuous raids on Muscovy began in 1507.
The theater of warEdit
At the beginning of this period, between the Crimean Khanate and the Duchy of Moscow lay almost 700 miles of thinly populated grassland, the so-called Wild Fields. The Oka River, 40 miles south of Moscow, was both the principal and last line of defense. It was guarded by the Beregovaya Sluzhba ("river-bank service"). This continued to exist even after the construction of the Belgorod Line far to the south. Its troops rarely crossed the Oka, even when there were massive Tatar attacks on the fortresses to the south.
Between Muscovy and Crimea there were three main routes also known as trails. To avoid fords they generally followed the high ground between one river basin and another.
In Crimea and TurkeyEdit
The main slave market was at Caffa which after 1475 belonged to the Ottoman Empire. The town had artillery and a strong garrison of Janissaries. Besides Caffa, slaves were sold in Karasubazar, Tuzleri, Bakhchysarai and Khazleve. Slave dealers came from various backgrounds: Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians and others. For the right to trade they paid tax to the Crimean Khan and Turkish Pasha. In Caffa there were sometimes as many as 30,000 slaves, mostly from Muscovy and the southeastern lands of the Commonwealth. Ruthenian slaves were slightly more valuable than those from Muscovy since the latter were considered treacherous and likely to run away.
Michalon Litvin described Caffa as "an insatiable and lawless abyss, drinking our blood." Besides the bad food, water, clothing and shelter, they were subjected to exhausting labor and abuse. According to Litvin "the stronger slaves were castrated, others had their noses and ears slit and were branded on the forehead or cheek. By day they were tormented with forced labor and at night kept in dungeons." Muslim, Armenians, Jews, and Greek traders all purchased Slavic slaves in Caffa.
- Russia underwent a series of political changes in the period of the raids. The Grand Duchy of Moscow brought all Russian lands under its control and became the Tsardom of Russia in 1547. From 1721, following the reforms of Peter the Great, it was the Russian Empire.
- From 1569, Lithuania was in union with Poland as the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
- Bloomsbury.com. "The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774". Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
- Kizilov, Mikhail. "Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards: The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captives in the Crimean Khanate".
- Subtelny, Orest (1988). "Ukraine: A History". pp. 105-106.
- Brian L. Davies, Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 2007
- James Minahan (2000). "One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups". p. 216.
- Nicholas Breyfogle, Abby Schrader, Willard Sunderland (2007). "Peopling the Russian Periphery: Borderland Colonization in Eurasian History". p. 43.
- Alan W. Fisher "Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade", Canadian American Slavic Studies, 1972, Vol. 6, pp. 575–594.
- Michael Khodarkovsky, "Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800", Indiana University Press, 2002, p. 22, ISBN 978-0-253-21770-7
- Brian Glyn Williams (2013). "The Sultan's Raiders: The Military Role of the Crimean Tatars in the Ottoman Empire" (PDF). The Jamestown Foundation. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21.
- Géza Dávid; Pál Fodor (2007). Ransom Slavery Along the Ottoman Borders: (Early Fifteenth – Early Eighteenth Centuries). BRILL. p. 203. ISBN 90-04-15704-2.
- Mikhail Kizilov. "Slave Trade in the Early Modern Crimea From the Perspective of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources". Oxford University. pp. 2–7.
- Slavery. Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Halil Inalcik. "Servile Labor in the Ottoman Empire" in A. Ascher, B. K. Kiraly, and T. Halasi-Kun (eds), The Mutual Effects of the Islamic and Judeo-Christian Worlds: The East European Pattern, Brooklyn College, 1979, pp. 25–43.
- A slightly different account of the three trails is given in the Muravsky Trail article
- MATSUKI, Eizo. "The Crimean Tatars and their Russian-Captive Slaves An Aspect of Muscovite-Crimean Relations in the 16th and 17th Centuries" (PDF): 178. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-05.
- Brian L. Davies, "Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe 1500–1700", 2007.
- Michael Khodarkovsky, "Russia's Steppe Frontier", 2002