The Black Sea and the coastal areas have played an important role in the history of eastern Europe and western Asia. Byzantium, Kiev Rus, the Golden Horde, Lithuania, Poland, the Ottoman Empire and Muscovy all tried to control parts of its area at various periods in history. From 1475 for three hundred years the Ottoman Turks controlled the Black Sea and the lands surrounding it. In 1783 Catherine annexed the Crimean peninsula, with its Muslim Tatar population, to the Russian Empire after a major Russian military victory over the Ottomans. The effect on the Ottoman Empire was significant. It lost its Tatar military forces when traditional means of securing recruits for the army had broken down; lost its secure northern frontier - the route to Istanbul itself was now open; it lost, for the first time, a Muslim province. This book provides a scholarly and balanced account of an important part of the transformation of the Muscovite state into a multinational empire. It also contributes to our understanding of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
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