Khiva, a city in northwestern Uzbekistan and the name of a khanate in existence prior to and during the rule of the Russian Empire, is located in the midst of the deserts of Central Asia. Early in human history, farming peoples settled in the region, relying on irrigation to bring water to their fields from the nearby Amu River (Amu-Darya), known in antiquity as the Oxus. Its sources in the great glacial fields of the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains to the southeast assured a steady supply of water sufficient to sustain agriculture and human settlement. Long-distance commerce began with the opening of the great trade routes (collectively known as the Silk Route) between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Nomadic tribes frequently invaded the territory, conquering the lands of Khorezm (as Khiva was then called) and destroying the cities. Settlers founded the city of Khiva in the tenth century, during a period of prosperity. That time of peace came to an end with the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century. Two centuries later, Turkic tribes in turn conquered the region.
One Turkic leader (khan) founded the Khanate of Khiva shortly afterward. The strongest unifying force among its peoples was the Islamic religion. All the peoples living there belonged to the Sunni branch of Islam. The hot climate permitted the Khivan farmers to grow cotton. It was woven into beautiful rugs, which Khiva's merchants transported for sale to the Middle East and to Russia. Slavery was common, for nomads brought captives for sale in Khiva whom they had captured in Persia (Shiite Muslims), and in the Siberian plains (Russians). The Khivan peoples were divided by clan and tribal loyalties, and spoke several Turkic languages. The most important division was between the nomadic tribes of the desert and those who lived in towns or farmed the irrigated land. Nomadic raids and revolts unsettled the principality. Frequent wars with neighboring rulers (especially Bukhara) also kept Khiva weak.
The Russian Empire conquered the khanate in the 1870s. In the eighteenth century, it had begun to expand into the plains of southern Siberia and northern Central Asia, with the goal of colonial domination of the area. In the 1860s its armies began their offensive against the khanates of the southern oasis lands. The khanate forces were poorly armed and quickly capitulated. Khiva surrendered to a Russian army after a brief war in 1873. Some khanates were absorbed into the empire. Khiva (and Bukhara) remained as Russian protectorates, independent in their internal affairs but forced to accept the empire's control over their foreign affairs. The Khanate of Khiva was left with a shrunken territory within the borders imposed by Russia. Its trade with Russia grew rapidly, for its cotton was in great demand for Russian textile manufacturing.
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, the khanate briefly regained its full independence. But in 1918 armies under the command of the Communist Party from the revolutionary state of Soviet Russia invaded Central Asia. The Communists won the support of a group of Khivan reformers, who took charge of a tiny state that they called the Khorezm People's Republic. It lasted only until 1924, when the Soviet government ordered Khorezm's leaders to agree to the annexation of their state by the new Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Its lands were divided between the Soviet Republics of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The Communists believed that their new ethnoterritorial republics, grouped around one majority ("titular") nationality, would assist in bringing socialism to the Central Asian peoples. Uzbek and Turkmen communists assumed command of the peoples once ruled by the Khivan khan. The city of Khiva became a small regional center. Its ancient walled city was a picturesque reminder of its pre-Russian past.
Becker, Seymour. (1968). Russia's Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva, 1865–1924. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Glazebrook, Philip. (1937). Journey to Khiva. London: Harvill Press.
Naumkin, Vitaly. (1992). Khiva. Caught in Time: Great Photographic Archives. Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing.
"Khiva." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/khiva
"Khiva." Encyclopedia of Russian History. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/khiva
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Khiva (khē´və, khēvä´), city (1989 pop. 40,001), S Uzbekistan, in the Khiva oasis and on the Amu Darya River. Industries include metalworking, cotton and silk spinning, wood carving, and carpetmaking. The city, in existence by the 6th cent., was the capital of the Khwarazm (Khorezm) kingdom in the 7th and 8th cent. From the late 16th until the early 20th cent., Khiva was the capital of the khanate of the same name (see Khiva, khanate of. The city was a significant trade and handicraft center in the late 18th and early 19th cent. It passed to Russia in 1873. It served as the capital of the Khorezm Soviet People's Republic from 1920 to 1923 and of the Khorezm SSR in 1923 and 1924. The ancient quarter of the city has been set aside to preserve such landmarks as an 18th-century fort, the khan's palace (now a museum), and a 19th-century mausoleum and minaret.
"Khiva." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/khiva
"Khiva." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/khiva