For thousands of years, by virtue of its geographical location and its natural contours, Crimea has been a crucial meeting place for Eurasian and Mediterranean populations. Throughout its long history, the region has been inhabited by Tauri, Cimmerians, Scythians, Greeks, Goths, Byzantines, Jews, Armenians, Genoese, Tatars and Russians. Although none of these groups has conclusively linked its name to the Crimean peninsula, each has left behind important historical and cultural legacies. This book tells the story of Crimea from antiquity to the present day, describes the millenary multi-ethnic and multicultural nature of the region, and highlights how – in the modern and contemporary age – two peoples have played a fundamental and substantially hegemonic role: first the Tatars (from 1441 to 1783), then the Russians (from 1783 to today). In recent years, Crimea has been at the centre of international affairs both for its annexation to Russia in 2014 and for its key role in the Russian-Ukrainian war that began in February 2022.
Aldo Ferrari teaches Eurasian History at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and coordinates the research programme on Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) in Milan.