1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Khiva (khanate)

KHIVA, formerly an important kingdom of Asia, but now a much reduced khanate, dependent upon Russia, and confined to the delta of the Amu-darya (Oxus). Its frontier runs down the left bank of the Amu, from 40° 15′ N., and down its left branch to Lake Aral; then, for about 40 m. along the south coast of Lake Aral, and finally southwards, following the escarpment of the Ust-Urt plateau. From the Transcaspian territory of Russia Khiva is separated by a line running almost W.N.W.-E.S.E. under 40° 30′ N., from the Uzboi depression to the Amu-darya. The length of the khanate from north to south is 200 m., and its greatest width 300 m. The area of the Khiva oasis is 5210 sq. m. while the area of the steppes is estimated at 17,000 sq. m. The population of the former is estimated at 400,000, and that of the latter also at 400,000 (nomadic). The water of the Amu is brought by a number of irrigation canals to the oasis, the general declivity of the surface westwards facilitating the irrigation. Several old beds of the Amu intersect the territory. The water of the Amu and the very thin layer of ooze which it deposits render the oasis very fertile. Millet, rice, wheat, barley, oats, peas, flax, hemp, madder, and all sorts of vegetables and fruit (especially melons) are grown, as also the vine and cotton. The white-washed houses scattered amidst the elms and poplars, and surrounded by flourishing fields, produce the most agreeable contrast with the arid steppes. Livestock, especially sheep, camels, horses and cattle, is extensively bred by the nomads.

The population is composed of four divisions: Uzbegs (150,000 to 200,000), the dominating race among the settled inhabitants of the oasis, from whom the officials are recruited; Sarts and Tajiks, agriculturists and tradespeople of mixed race; Turkomans (c. 170,000), who live in the steppes, south and west of the oasis, and formerly plundered the settled inhabitants by their raids; and the Kara-kalpaks, or Black Bonnets, a Turki tribe some 50,000 in number. They live south of Lake Aral, and in the towns of Kungrad, Khodsheili and Kipchak form the prevailing element. They cultivate the soil, breed cattle, and their women make carpets. There are also about 10,000 Kirghiz, and when the Russians took Khiva in 1873 there were 29,300 Persian slaves, stolen by Turkoman raiders, and over 6500 liberated slaves, mostly Kizil-bashes. The former were set free and the slave trade abolished. Of domestic industries, the embroidering of cloth, silks and leather is worthy of notice. The trade of Khiva is considerable: cotton, wool, rough woollen cloth and silk cocoons are exported to Russia, and various animal products to Bokhara. Cottons, velveteen, hardware and pepper are imported from Russia, and silks, cotton, china and tea from Bokhara. Khivan merchants habitually attend the Orenburg and Nizhniy-Novgorod fairs.

History.—The present khanate is only a meagre relic of the great kingdom which under the name of Chorasmia, Kharezm (Khwārizm) and Urgenj (Jurjānīya, Gurganj) held the keys of the mightiest river in Central Asia. Its possession has consequently been much disputed from early times, but the country has undergone great changes, geographical as well as political, which have lessened its importance. The Oxus (Amu-darya) has changed its outlet, and no longer forms a water-way to the Caspian and thence to Europe, while Khiva is entirely surrounded by territory either directly administered or protected by Russia.

Chorasmia is mentioned by Herodotus, it being then one of the Persian provinces, over which Darius placed satraps, but nothing material of it is known till it was seized by the Arabs in A.D. 680. When the power of the caliphs declined the governor of the province probably became independent; but the first king known to history is Mamun-ibn-Mahommed in 995. Khwārizm fell under the power of Mahmud of Ghazni in 1017, and subsequently under that of the Seljuk Turks. In 1097 the governor Kutb-ud-din assumed the title of king, and one of his descendants, ‛Ala-ud-din-Mahommed, conquered Persia, and was the greatest prince in Central Asia when Jenghiz Khan appeared in 1219. Khiva was conquered again by Timur in 1379; and finally fell under the rule of the Uzbegs in 1512, who are still the dominant race under the protection of the Russians.

Russia established relations with Khiva in the 17th century. The Cossacks of the Yaik during their raids across the Caspian learnt of the existence of this rich territory and made more than one plundering expedition to the chief town Urgenj. In 1717 Peter the Great, having heard of the presence of auriferous sand in the bed of the Oxus, desiring also to “open mercantile relations with India through Turan” and to release from slavery some Russian subjects, sent a military force to Khiva. When within 100 miles of the capital they encountered the troops of the khan. The battle lasted three days, and ended in victory for the Russian arms. The Khivans, however, induced the victors to break up their army into small detachments and treacherously annihilated them in detail. It was not until the third decade of the 19th century that the attention of the Muscovite government was again directed to the khanate. In 1839 a force under General Perovsky moved from Orenburg across the Ust-Urt plateau to the Khivan frontiers, to occupy the khanate, liberate the captives and open the way for trade. This expedition likewise terminated in disaster. In 1847 the Russians founded a fort at the mouth of the Jaxartes or Syr-darya. This advance deprived the Khivans not only of territory, but of a large number of tax-paying Kirghiz, and also gave the Russians a base for further operations. For the next few years, however, the attention of the Russians was taken up with Khokand, their operations on that side culminating in the capture of Tashkent in 1865. Free in this quarter, they directed their thoughts once more to Khiva. In 1869 Krasnovodsk on the east shore of the Caspian was founded, and in 1871–1872 the country leading to Khiva from different parts of Russian Turkestan was thoroughly explored and surveyed. In 1873 an expedition to Khiva was carefully organized on a large scale. The army of 10,000 men placed at the disposal of General Kaufmann started from three different bases of operation—Krasnovodsk, Orenburg and Tashkent. Khiva was occupied almost without opposition. All the territory (35,700 sq. m. and 110,000 souls) on the right bank of the Oxus was annexed to Russia, while a heavy war indemnity was imposed upon the khanate. The Russians thereby so crippled the finances of the state that the khan is in complete subjection to his more powerful neighbour.  (J. T. Be.; C. El.)