Emirate of Bukhara
امارت بخارا (Persian)
Imārat-i Bukhārā (Persian)
بخارا امیرلیگی (Chagatay)
Bukhārā Amirligi (Chagatay)
Flag of Bukhara
The Emirate of Bukhara under Russian rule c. 1900
The Emirate of Bukhara under Russian rule c. 1900
and largest city
Common languages
Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Sufism (Naqshbandi), Zoroastrianism, Judaism
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
• 1785–1799
Mir Masum Shah Murad
• 1911–1920
Mir Muhammad Alim Khan
• Manghit control
• Shah Murad became Emir
• Conquered by Russia
• Russian protectorate
2 September 1920
• 1875[4]
c. 2,478,000
• 1911[5]
c. 3,000,000–3,500,000
Currencyfulus, tilla, and tenga.[6]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Khanate of Bukhara
Bukharan People's Soviet Republic

The Emirate of Bukhara (Persian: امارت بخارا, romanizedImārat-i Bukhārā,[7] Chagatay: بخارا امیرلیگی, romanized: Bukhārā Amirligi) was a Muslim polity in Central Asia[8] that existed from 1785 to 1920 in what is now Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. It occupied the land between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, known formerly as Transoxiana. Its core territory was the fertile land along the lower Zarafshon river, and its urban centres were the ancient cities of Samarqand and the emirate's capital, Bukhara. It was contemporaneous with the Khanate of Khiva to the west, in Khwarazm, and the Khanate of Kokand to the east, in Fergana. In 1920, it ceased to exist with the establishment of the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic.


See also: Bukharan Revolution and Bukhara operation (1920)

The Emirate of Bukhara was officially created in 1785, upon the assumption of rulership by the Manghit emir, Shah Murad. Shahmurad, formalized the family's dynastic rule (Manghit dynasty), and the khanate became the Emirate of Bukhara.[9]

As one of the few states in Central Asia after the Mongol Empire not ruled by descendants of Genghis Khan (besides the Timurids), it staked its legitimacy on Islamic principles rather than Genghisid blood, as the ruler took the Islamic title of Emir instead of Khan. In the 18th-19th centuries, Khwarazm (Khiva Khanate) was ruled by the Uzbek dynasty of Kungrats.[10]

Over the course of the 18th century, the emirs had slowly gained effective control of the Khanate of Bukhara, from their position as ataliq; and by the 1740s, when the khanate was conquered by Nadir Shah of Persia, it was clear that the emirs held the real power. In 1747, after Nadir Shah's death, the ataliq Muhammad Rahim Bi murdered Abulfayz Khan and his son, ending the Janid dynasty. From then on the emirs allowed puppet khans to rule until, following the death of Abu l-Ghazi Khan, Shah Murad assumed the throne openly.[11]

Fitzroy Maclean recounts in Eastern Approaches how Charles Stoddart and Arthur Conolly were executed by Nasrullah Khan in the context of The Great Game, and how Joseph Wolff, known as the Eccentric Missionary, escaped their fate when he came looking for them in 1845. He was wearing his full canonical costume, which caused the Emir to burst out laughing, and "Dr Wolff was eventually forced to leave Bokhara, greatly to the surprise of the populace, who were not accustomed to such clemency."[12]

In 1868, the emirate lost a war with Imperial Russia, which had aspirations of conquest in the region. Russia annexed much of the emirate's territory, including the important city of Samarkand.[13] In 1873, the remainder became a Russian protectorate,[14] and was soon surrounded by the Governorate-General of Turkestan. The Russians forced the abolition of the Bukhara slave trade in 1873, though slavery itself was not formally abolished until 1885.[15]

Reformists within the Emirate had found the conservative emir, Mohammed Alim Khan, unwilling to loosen his grip on power, and had turned to the Russian Bolshevik revolutionaries for military assistance. The Red Army launched an unsuccessful assault in March 1920, and then a successful one in September of the same year.[16] The Emirate of Bukhara was conquered by the Bolsheviks and replaced with the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic. Today, the territory of the defunct emirate lies mostly in Uzbekistan, with parts in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. In the first half of the 19th century it had some influence in northern Afghanistan, as the emirs of the Chahar Wilayat (Maimana, Sheberghan, Andkhui, Sar-i Pol) nominally accepted Bukharan suzerainty.[17]


In the era of the Manghyt emirs in Bukhara, a large construction of madrasahs, mosques and palaces was carried out. Located along important trading routes, Bukhara enjoyed a rich cultural mixture, including Persian, Uzbek, and Jewish influences.

A local school of historians developed in the Bukhara emirate. The most famous historians were Mirza Shams Bukhari, Muhammad Yakub ibn Daniyalbiy, Muhammad Mir Olim Bukhari, Ahmad Donish, Mirza Abdalazim Sami, Mirza Salimbek.[18]

The city of Bukhara has a rich history of Persian architecture and literature, traditions that were continued into the Emirate Period. Prominent artists of the period include the poet Kiromi Bukhoroi, the calligrapher Mirza Abd al-Aziz Bukhari and the scholar Rahmat-Allah Bukhari. Throughout this period, the madrasahs of the region were renowned.

Administrative and territorial structure

Administratively, the Emirate was divided into several beyliks or bekliks:

  1. Baljuvon, (now Khatlon Region, Tajikistan).
  2. Hisar, (now Tajikistan)
  3. Burdalik, (now Lebap Region, Turkmenistan)
  4. Guzar, (now Qashqadaryo Region, Uzbekistan)
  5. Charjuy, (now Lebap Region, Turkmenistan)
  6. Darvaz, (c 1878, now Darvoz district, Tajikistan)
  7. Dehnav, (now Surxondaryo Region, Uzbekistan)
  8. Kabakli, (now Lebap Region, Turkmenistan)
  9. Karakul, (now Bukhara Region, Uzbekistan)
  10. Karategin, (now Rasht district, Tajikistan)
  11. Karshi, (now Qashqadaryo Region, Uzbekistan)
  12. Kattakurgan, (now Samarkand region, Uzbekistan)
  13. Kulyab, (now Khatlon Region, Tajikistan)
  14. Karshi, (now Qashqadaryo Region, Uzbekistan)
  15. Kerki, (now Lebap Region, Turkmenistan)
  16. Nurata, (now Navoiy Region, Uzbekistan)
  17. Panjikent, (now Sughd province, Tajikistan)
  18. Rushan, (now Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region, Tajikistan)
  19. Samarkand, (now Samarqand Region, Uzbekistan — part of Russia since 1868
  20. Shahrisabz, (c 1870, now Kashkadarya Region, Uzbekistan)
  21. Urgut, (now Samarqand Region, Uzbekistan)
  22. Falgar, (now Sughd province, Tajikistan)

Amirs/Emirs of Bukhara (1785–1920)

Titular Name Personal Name Reign
Khudayar Bey
خدایار بیگ
Muhammad Hakim
محمد حکیم
Muhammad Rahim
محمد رحیم
Muhammad Rahim
محمد رحیم
Muhammad Rahim
محمد رحیم
Daniyal Biy
دانیال بیگ
Amir Masum
امیر معصوم
شاہ مراد بن دانیال بیگ
Haydar bin Shahmurad
حیدر تورہ بن شاہ مراد
Mir Hussein bin Haydar
حسین بن حیدر تورہ
Umar bin Haydar
عمر بن حیدر تورہ
Nasr-Allah bin Haydar Tora
نصراللہ بن حیدر تورہ
Muzaffar bin Nasrullah
مظفر الدین بن نصراللہ
Abdul-Ahad bin Muzaffar al-Din
عبد الأحد بن مظفر الدین
Muhammad Alim Khan bin Abdul-Ahad
محمد عالم خان بن عبد الأحد
Overthrow of Emirate of Bukhara by Bukharan People's Soviet Republic.

See also


  1. ^ Roy (2000), The new Central Asia: the creation of nations, p.70
  2. ^ "About the national delimitation in Central Asia"
  3. ^ Grenoble, Lenore (2003). Language Policy of the Soviet Union. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 1-4020-1298-5.
  4. ^ |Meyendorf E.K. Travel from Orenburg to Bukhara. Foreword N. A. Halfin. Moscow, The main edition of the eastern literature of the publishing house "Science", 1975. (in Russian:Мейендорф Е. К. Путешествие из Оренбурга в Бухару. Предисл. Н. А. Халфина. М., Главная редакция восточной литературы издательства "Наука", 1975.)
  5. ^ Olufsen, Ole (1911). The emir of Bokhara and his country; journeys and studies in Bokhara. Gyldendal: Nordisk forlag. p. 282.
  6. ^ ANS Magazine. "The Coinage of the Mangit Dynasty of Bukhara" Archived 15 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine by Peter Donovan. Retrieved: 16 July 2017.
  7. ^ "نگاهی به امارت بخارا در صد سالگی انقلاب اکتبر". BBC News. 5 November 2017.
  8. ^ Golden, Peter B. (2011). Central Asia in World History. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 115.
  9. ^ Soucek, Svat. A History of Inner Asia (2000), p. 180.
  10. ^ Bregel, Y. The new Uzbek states: Bukhara, Khiva and Khoqand: C. 1750–1886. In N. Di Cosmo, A. Frank, & P. Golden (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Inner Asia: The Chinggisid Age (pp. 392-411). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009
  11. ^ Soucek (2000), pp. 179–180
  12. ^ Eastern Approaches ch 6 "Bokhara the Noble"
  13. ^ Soucek (2000), p. 198
  14. ^ Russo-Bukharan War 1868, Armed Conflict Events Database, OnWar.com
  15. ^ Becker, S. (2004). Russia's Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva, 1865-1924. Storbritannien: Taylor & Francis., p. 67-68
  16. ^ Soucek (2000), pp. 221–222
  17. ^ Lee, Jonathan L. (1 January 1996). The "Ancient Supremacy": Bukhara, Afghanistan and the Battle for Balkh, 1731-1901. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-10399-3.
  18. ^ Anke fon Kyugel'gen, Legitimizatsiya sredneaziatskoy dinastii mangitov v proizvedeniyakh ikh istorikov (XVIII-XIX vv.). Almaty: Dayk press, 2004