Emirate of Bukhara

The Emirate of Bukhara (Persian: امارت بخارا‎; Uzbek: Buxoro amirligi) was an Uzbek[7] state that existed from 1785 to 1920 in what is now modern-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It occupied the land between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, known formerly as Transoxiana. Its core territory was the land along the lower Zarafshan River, and its urban centres were the ancient cities of Samarkand and the emirate's capital, Bukhara. It was contemporaneous with the Khanate of Khiva to the west, in Khwarezm, and the Khanate of Kokand to the east, in Fergana.

Emirate of Bukhara

امارت بخارا
Buxoro amirligi
Flag of Bukhara
The Emirate of Bukhara (green), c. 1850.
The Emirate of Bukhara (green), c. 1850.
StatusSemi-Independent state
(under Russian protection 1873–1917)
Common languagesPersian (official)[1][2]
Chagatai Turkic [3]
Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Sufism (Naqshbandi), Zoroastrianism, Judaism
GovernmentAbsolute Monarchy
• 1785–1800
Mir Masum Shah Murad
• 1911–1920
• Manghit control
• Established
• Conquered by Russia
• Russian protectorate
• Disestablished
October 1920
• 1875[4]
Currencyfulus, tilla, and tenga.[6]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Khanate of Bukhara
Bukharan People's Soviet Republic


A bureaucrat in Bukhara, ca.1910
Fires in Bukhara during the Red Army's attack, 1 September 1920
The Emirate of Bukhara (top), with Kabool (centre) and Balochistan (bottom and right).
The borders of the Russian imperial territories of Khiva, Bukhara and Kokand in the time period of 1902–1903.
Large Medallion Suzani (textile) from Bukhara, mid-18th century?

The Emirate of Bukhara was officially created in 1785, upon the assumption of rulership by the Manghit emir, Shah Murad. As one of the few states in Central Asia after the Mongol Empire not ruled by descendants of Genghis Khan (besides the Timurids), it staked its legitimacy on Islamic principles rather than Genghisid blood, as the ruler took the Islamic title of Emir instead of Khan. Moreover, both of its neighbors, the Khanate of Khiva and the Kokand Khanate, as well as its predecessor, the Khanate of Bukhara, were ruled by Genghisid descendants.

Over the course of the 18th century, the emirs had slowly gained effective control of the Khanate of Bukhara, from their position as ataliq; and by the 1740s, when the khanate was conquered by Nadir Shah of Persia, it was clear that the emirs held the real power. In 1747, after Nadir Shah's death, the ataliq Muhammad Rahim Bi murdered Abulfayz Khan and his son, ending the Janid dynasty [ja]. From then on the emirs allowed puppet khans to rule until, following the death of Abu l-Ghazi Khan, Shah Murad assumed the throne openly.[8]

Fitzroy Maclean recounts in Eastern Approaches how Charles Stoddart and Arthur Conolly were executed by Nasrullah Khan in the context of The Great Game, and how Joseph Wolff, known as the Eccentric Missionary, escaped their fate when he came looking for them in 1845. He was wearing his full canonical costume, which caused the Emir to burst out laughing, and "Dr Wolff was eventually suffered to leave Bokhara, greatly to the surprise of the populace, who were not accustomed to such clemency."[9]

In 1868, the emirate lost a war with Imperial Russia, which had aspirations of conquest in the region. Russia annexed much of the emirate's territory, including the important city of Samarkand.[10] In 1873 the remainder became a Russian protectorate,[11] and was soon surrounded by the Governorate-General of Turkestan.

Reformists within the Emirate had found the conservative emir, Mohammed Alim Khan, unwilling to loosen his grip on power, and had turned to the Russian Bolshevik revolutionaries for military assistance. The Red Army launched an unsuccessful assault in March 1920, and then a successful one in September of the same year.[12] The Emirate of Bukhara was conquered by the Bolsheviks and replaced with the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic. Today the territory of the defunct emirate lies mostly in Uzbekistan, with parts in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. It had also included present northern Afghanistan between 1793 and 1850.


The emir's daughter Shukria Raad Alimi worked as a broadcaster in Radio Afghanistan. Shukria Raad left Afghanistan with her family three months after Soviet troops invaded the country in December 1979. With her husband, also a journalist, and two children she fled to Pakistan, and then through Germany to the United States. In 1982, she joined the VOA, and has worked as a broadcaster for VOA's Dari Service, editor, host and producer.[13]


Located along important trading routes, Bukhara enjoyed a rich cultural mixture, including Persian, Uzbek, and Jewish influences. The city of Bukhara has a rich history of Persian architecture and literature, traditions that were continued into the Emirate Period. Prominent artists of the period include the poet Kiromi Bukhoroi, the calligrapher Mirza Abd al-Aziz Bukhari and the scholar Rahmat-Allah Bukhari. Throughout this period, the madrasahs of the region were renowned.

Administrative and territorial structureEdit

Administratively, the Emirate was divided into several beyliks or bekliks:

  1. Baljuvon
  2. Hisar, (now Tajikistan)
  3. Guzar, (now Kashkadarya Region, Uzbekistan)
  4. Darvaz, (c 1878, now Darvaz district, Tajikistan)
  5. Karategin, (now Rasht district, Tajikistan)
  6. Kattakurgan, (now Samarkand region, Uzbekistan)
  7. Kulyab, (now Khatlon region, Tajikistan)
  8. Karshi, (now Kashkadarya Region, Uzbekistan)
  9. Kerki, (now Lebap Region, Turkmenistan)
  10. Charjuy, (now Lebap Region, Turkmenistan)
  11. Nurata, (now Navoiy Region, Uzbekistan)
  12. Panjikent, (now Sughd province, Tajikistan)
  13. Rushan, (now Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region, Tajikistan)
  14. Samarkand, (now Samarqand Region, Uzbekistan — part of Russia since 1868
  15. Shahrisabz, (c 1870, now Kashkadarya Region, Uzbekistan)
  16. Urgut, (now Samarqand Region, Uzbekistan)
  17. Falgar, (now Sughd province, Tajikistan)

Beyliks were divided into amlakdorliks, tumens, etc...

Amirs/Emirs of Bukhara (1785–1920)Edit

Titular Name Personal Name Reign
Khudayar Bey
خدایار بیگ
Muhammad Hakim
محمد حکیم
Muhammad Rahim
محمد رحیم
Muhammad Rahim
محمد رحیم
Muhammad Rahim
محمد رحیم
Daniyal Bey
دانیال بیگ
Amir Masum
امیر معصوم
Shah Murad bin Daniyal Bey
شاہ مراد بن دانیال بیگ
Haydar Tora bin Shah Murad
حیدر تورہ بن شاہ مراد
Hussain bin Haydar Tora
حسین بن حیدر تورہ
Umar bin Haydar Tora
عمر بن حیدر تورہ
Nasr-Allah bin Haydar Tora
نصراللہ بن حیدر تورہ
Muzaffar al-Din bin Nasr-Allah
مظفر الدین بن نصراللہ
Abdul-Ahad bin Muzaffar al-Din
عبد الأحد بن مظفر الدین
Muhammad Alim Khan bin Abdul-Ahad
محمد عالم خان بن عبد الأحد
Overthrow of Emirate of Bukhara by Bukharan People's Soviet Republic.
  • Pink Rows Signifies progenitor chiefs serving as Tutors (Ataliqs) & Viziers to the Khans of Bukhara.
    • Green Rows Signifies chiefs who took over reign of government from the Janids and placed puppet Khans.


  1. ^ Roy (2000), The new Central Asia: the creation of nations, p.70
  2. ^ "About the national delimitation in Central Asia"
  3. ^ Grenoble, Lenore (2003). Language Policy of the Soviet Union. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 1-4020-1298-5.
  4. ^ E.K. Travel from Orenburg to Bukhara. Foreword N.A. Halfin. Moscow, The main edition of the eastern literature of the publishing house "Science", 1975. (in Russian:Мейендорф Е. К. Путешествие из Оренбурга в Бухару. Предисл. Н. А. Халфина. М., Главная редакция восточной литературы издательства "Наука", 1975.)
  5. ^ http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BCdEMgFhAzg/URYO6A8B1HI/AAAAAAAADLw/-HAzla6bBMk/s1600/muslim-world-1900.jpg
  6. ^ ANS Magazine The Coinage of the Mangit Dynasty of Bukhara. by Peter Donovan. Retrieved: 16 July 2017.
  7. ^ Peter B. Golden (2011), Central Asia in World History, p.115
  8. ^ Soucek (2000), pp. 179–180
  9. ^ Eastern Approaches ch 6 "Bokhara the Noble"
  10. ^ Soucek (2000), p. 198
  11. ^ Russo-Bukharan War 1868, Armed Conflict Events Database, OnWar.com
  12. ^ Soucek (2000), pp. 221–222
  13. ^ "A Princess-Broadcaster". Voice of America. March 31, 2002. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013.



  • Malikov A., The Russian conquest of the Bukharan Emirate: military and diplomatic aspects in Central Asian Survey, Volume 33, issue 2, 2014, p. 180-198