Blacks in Crimea (Crimean Khanate)

Blacks in Crimea (Crimean Khanate) were slaves imported to the Crimean Khanate and mainly served as eunuchs. They helped transmit Turkish culture to the Crimean Khanate which had become an Ottoman vassal. 

In 1517, the Ottoman Empire conquered Egypt. It gained access to black slaves. Some of these slaves were directed to Crimea, the Crimean Khanate(1441-1783). Many of these slaves took the roles of eunuchs (those who survived the operation) in elite Khanate homes. Typically, every household had a chief eunuch  and minor eunuchs, who overlooked, supervise, and guarded the harem. In his visit to Crimea ,  between 1665-1666 , Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi noted many black eunuchs(kara hâdim ağalar). The Crimean Khanate seemed to have a preference for black eunuchs over white ones, a preference found in the Ottoman empire. Very little is known of the lives of black eunuchs. Blacks were used as eunuchs to the very end of the Khanate.  

Black eunuchs were significant in two ways. One since most originated from the Turkish empire, they help transfer Turkish culture and establish Turkish norms to the Khanate, which became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, integrating the khanate into the expanding Turkish world. They were also the only slave export from the Ottoman Empire. Most of the slaves were imports, who were not exported. The Crimean Khanate became a major slave exporting region. It raided surrounding areas for slaves and shipped them to Istanbul. Eastern Europeans-Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Circassians - were captured and exported to the Ottoman Empire.


Works Cited

Mirzai, Behnaz A., Montana, Ismael Musah, and Lovejoy, Paul E.(2009). Slavery, Islam and Diaspora. Africa World Press, Inc. ISBN 1-59221-705-2