Khanate of Khiva
خیوه خانلیگی (Chagatay)
Khivâ Khânligi
خانات خیوه (Persian)
Khânât-e Khiveh
Flag of Khiva
The Khanate of Khiva (bordered in red), c. 1700.[citation needed]
The Khanate of Khiva (bordered in red), c. 1700.[citation needed]
Common languages
Sunni Islam
GovernmentAbsolute hereditary monarchy
• 1511–1518
Ilbars I [ru] (first)
• 1918–1920
Sayid Abdullah (last)
• Established
• Afsharid conquest
• Qungrad dynasty est.
12 August 1873
• Disestablished
2 February 1920
1911[5]67,521 km2 (26,070 sq mi)
• 1902[6]
• 1908[7]
• 1911[5]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Timurid Empire
Khorezm People's Soviet Republic
Today part of

The Khanate of Khiva (Chagatay: خیوه خانلیگی, romanized: Khivâ Khânligi, Persian: خانات خیوه, romanizedKhânât-e Khiveh, Uzbek: Xiva xonligi, Turkmen: Hywa hanlygy, Russian: Хивинское ханство, romanizedKhivinskoye khanstvo) was a Central Asian polity[8] that existed in the historical region of Khwarazm from 1511 to 1920, except for a period of Afsharid occupation by Nader Shah between 1740 and 1746. Centred in the irrigated plains of the lower Amu Darya, south of the Aral Sea, with the capital in the city of Khiva. It covered present-day western Uzbekistan, southwestern Kazakhstan and much of Turkmenistan before the Russian conquest at the second half of the 19th century.

In 1873, the Khanate of Khiva was greatly reduced in size and became a Russian protectorate. The other regional protectorate that lasted until the Revolution was the Emirate of Bukhara. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Khiva had a revolution too, and in 1920 the Khanate was replaced by the Khorezm People's Soviet Republic. In 1924, the area was formally incorporated into the Soviet Union and today it is largely a part of Karakalpakstan, Xorazm Region in Uzbekistan, and Daşoguz Region of Turkmenistan.


The terms "Khanate of Khiva" and "Khivan Khanate", by which the polity is commonly known in Western scholarship, are a calque that derive from the Russian exonym: Хивинское ханство, romanizedKhivinskoe khanstvo.[9][10] The term was first used by the Russians in the second half of the 17th century,[10] or in the 18th century.[9] Locals of the polity did not use this term, and instead referred to it as the vilayet Khwārazm ("country of Khwārazm").[9]

Prior to the 17th/18th centuries, the polity was often called "Urgench" (or "Iurgench" in Russian sources). This name was also sometimes used in Iran and Bukhara, with the designation "Urganji" often being used as the collective name for its inhabitants.[11]


Early history

See Khwarazm, the local name of the region.

After 1500

Khanate of Khiva (labeled Karasm), on a 1734 French map. The Khanate on the map surrounds the Aral Sea
A 1903 Polish map showing Khiva (Chiwa, in Polish) within the much reduced borders the Khanate had during 1874–1920
Khiva protectorate in 1903

After the capital was moved to Khiva, Khwarazm came to be called the Khanate of Khiva (the state had always referred to itself as Khwarazm, the Khanate of Khiva as a name was popularized by Russian historians in honor of its capital, Khiva).[12] Some time around 1600,[13] the Daryaliq or west branch of the Oxus dried up causing the capital to be moved south to Khiva from Konye-Urgench. Although based in the Oxus delta, the Khanate usually controlled most of what is now Turkmenistan. The population consisted of agriculturalists along the river, the Turkic Sarts, and nomads or semi-nomads away from the river. It is arbitrary to anachronistically project modern ethnic and national identifications, largely based on Soviet national delimitation policies, on pre-modern societies. The settled population was composed of aristocrats and peasants bound to the land. During the mid-1600s many Persian slaves were captured by Turkmens and a few Russian and Turkic slaves. Before and during this period, the settled area was increasingly infiltrated by Uzbeks from the north,[citation needed] with their Turkic dialects evolving into what is now the Uzbek language, while the original Iranian Khwarezmian language died out. The swampy area of the lower delta was increasingly populated by Karakalpaks and there were Kazakh nomads on the northern border. The Turkmen nomads paid taxes to the Khan and were a large part of his army, but often revolted. Since the heart of the Khanate was surrounded by semi-desert the only easy military approach was along the Oxus. This led to many wars with the Khanate of Bukhara further up the river (1538–40, 1593, 1655, 1656, 1662, 1684, 1689, 1694, 1806, and others).

Persian slave in the Khanate of Khiva, 16th century. Painting made in the 19th century

Before 1505, Khwarazm was nominally dependent on the Timurid Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara based in Khorasan. From 1488 Muhammad Shaybani built a large but short-lived empire in southern Central Asia, taking Khwarazm in 1505. At nearly the same time, Shah Ismail I was building a powerful Shiite state in Persia. The two consequently clashed in 1510 near Merv with Muhammad killed in the battle and Khwarazm shortly occupied.[14] The Shah's religion provoked resistance and in 1511 his garrison was expelled and power passed to Ilbars, who founded the long-lived Arabshahid dynasty.[15]

Around 1540 and 1593, the Khans were driven out by the Bukharans. In both cases they fled to Persia and soon returned. In 1558, Anthony Jenkinson visited Old Urgench and was not impressed. Following Arap Muhammad (1602–23), who moved the capital to Khiva, there was a period of disorder, including an invasion by the Kalmyks, who left laden with plunder. Disorder was ended by Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur (1643–1663) who twice defeated the Kalmyks and wrote a history of Central Asia. His son Anusha (1663–1685) presided over a period of urban growth until he was deposed and blinded. From 1695, Khiva was for some years a vassal of Bukhara which appointed two khans. Shir Gazi Khan (1714–1727), who was killed by slaves, is said to have been the last proper Arabshahid.[16] Khan Ilbars (1728–40) was a Shibanid ruler, son of Shakhniyaz khan[17] who unwisely killed some Persian ambassadors. In a repeat of the Shah Ismail story, Nadir Shah conquered Khiva, beheaded Ilbars and freed some 12,000–20,000 slaves. Next year the Persian garrison was slaughtered, but the rebellion was quickly suppressed. Persian pretensions ended with Nadir's murder in 1747. After 1746, the Qongrat tribe became increasingly powerful and appointed puppet khans. Their power was formalized as the Qongrat dynasty by Iltuzar Khan in 1804. Khiva flourished under Muhammad Rahim Khan (1806–1825) and Allah Quli Khan (1825–1840) and then declined. After Muhammad Amin Khan was killed trying to retake Sarakhs on March 19, 1855,[18] there was a long Turkmen rebellion (1855–1867). In the first two years of the rebellion, two or three Khans were killed by Turkmens.[citation needed]

Russian Empire period

See also: Turkoman Revolt of 1912–1913

Main article: Khivan campaign of 1873

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Khanate of Khiva in 1900 (in grey)
Muhammad Rahim Khan II (third from the right) and his officials at the coronation of Nicholas II.

Russians made five attacks on Khiva. Around 1602 some free Ural Cossacks unsuccessfully raided Khwarazm. In 1717 Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky attacked Khiva from the Caspian Sea. After he won the battle, Shir Ghazi Khan (1715–1728) made a treaty and suggested that the Russians disperse so that they could be better fed. After they dispersed they were all killed or enslaved, only a few surviving to tell the tale. In 1801 an army was sent toward Khiva but was recalled when Paul I was murdered. In the Khivan campaign of 1839 Perovsky tried an attack from Orenburg. The weather was unusually cold and he was forced to turn back after losing many men and most of his camels. Khiva was finally conquered by the Khivan campaign of 1873. The Russians installed Sayyid Muhammad Rahim Bahadur Khan II as the vassal ruler of the region.[19]

The conquest of Khiva was part of the Russian conquest of Turkestan. British attempts to deal with this were called the Great Game. One of the reasons for the 1839 attack was the increasing number of Russian slaves held at Khiva. To remove this pretext Britain launched its own effort to free the slaves. Major Todd, the senior British political officer stationed in Herat (in Afghanistan) dispatched Captain James Abbott, disguised as an Afghan, on 24 December 1839, for Khiva. Abbott arrived in late January 1840 and, although the Khan was suspicious of his identity, he succeeded in talking the Khan into allowing him to carry a letter for the Tsar regarding the slaves. He left on 7 March 1840, for Fort Alexandrovsk, and was subsequently betrayed by his guide, robbed, then released when the bandits realized the origin and destination of his letter. His superiors in Herat, not knowing of his fate, sent another officer, Lieutenant Richmond Shakespear, after him. Shakespear had more success than Abbott: he convinced the khan to free all Russian subjects under his control, and also to make the ownership of Russian slaves a crime punishable by death. The freed slaves and Shakespear arrived in Fort Alexandrovsk on 15 August 1840, and Russia lost its primary motive for the conquest of Khiva, for the time being.

A permanent Russian presence on the Aral Sea began in 1848 with the building of Fort Aralsk at the mouth of the Syr Darya. The Empire's military superiority was such that Khiva and the other Central Asian principalities, Bukhara and Kokand, had no chance of repelling the Russian advance, despite years of fighting.[20] In 1873, after Russia conquered the great cities of Tashkent and Samarkand, General Von Kaufman launched an attack on Khiva consisting of 13,000 infantry and cavalry. The city of Khiva fell on 10 June 1873 and, on 12 August 1873, a peace treaty was signed that established Khiva as a quasi-independent Russian protectorate. The conquest ended the Khivan slave trade. After the conquest of what is now Turkmenistan (1884) the protectorates of Khiva and Bukhara were surrounded by Russian territory.

The first significant settlement of Europeans in the Khanate was a group of Mennonites who migrated to Khiva in 1882. The German-speaking Mennonites had come from the Volga region and the Molotschna colony under the leadership of Claas Epp Jr. The Mennonites played an important role in modernizing the Khanate in the decades prior to the October Revolution by introducing photography, resulting in the development of Uzbek photography and filmmaking, more efficient methods for cotton harvesting, electrical generators, and other technological innovations.[21]

Civil war and Soviet Republic

Main article: Khivan Revolution

Flag used by the Khanate during the civil war (1917–1922).[22]

After the 1917 Bolshevik seizure of power in the October Revolution, anti-monarchists and Turkmen tribesmen joined forces with the Bolsheviks at the end of 1919 to depose the khan. By early February 1920, the Khivan army under Junaid Khan was completely defeated.[23] On 2 February 1920, Khiva's last Kungrad khan, Sayid Abdullah, abdicated and a short-lived Khorezm People's Soviet Republic (later the Khorezm SSR) was created out of the territory of the old Khanate of Khiva, before it was finally incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1924, with the former khanate divided between the new Turkmen SSR and Uzbek SSR. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these became Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan respectively. Today, the area that was the khanate has a mixed population of Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Turkmens, and Kazakhs.

Khans of Khiva (1511–1920)

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The borders of the Russian imperial territories of Khiva, Bukhara and Kokand during 1902–1903.

Data on the Khivan Khans is sparse and sometimes contradictory, especially for the minor khans. Names and dates from Bregel/Muniz[24] which probably gives the best modern scholarship. Short biographies are from Howarth's 1880 book[25] which is old but has biographies of most of the khans.

Arabshahid dynasty (Yadigarid Shibanid dynasty, 1511–1804)

According to Howorth, the ancestors of Ilbars were Arabshah, Haji Tuli, Timur Sheikh, Yadigar Khan, Bereke, Ilbars. Arabshah's brother was Ibrahim Oghlan, ancestor of the khans of Bukhara.

  1. Ilbars I (1511–1518): Enthroned by locals, fought several months to drive the Persians out, brought in Uzbeks in numbers to raid Khorasan.
  2. Sultan Haji (1518–1519): Nephew of Ilbars I, had a short reign; real power in the hands of his cousin Sultan Ghazi.
  3. Hasan Quli (1519–1524, ru:1519): cousin of Ilbar I, killed by Ilbars' sons after 4-month siege of Urganch.
  4. Sufyan (1529–1535, ru:1519–1522): 'Sofian Khan', second cousin of Ilbars, fought Turkmens on lower Uzboy River, which then had water.
  5. Bujugha (1524–1529, ru:1522–1526): brother of Sufyan, raided Persia, concluded a marriage alliance with Tahmasp I using Sufyan's daughter. Dates from Bregel/Muniz reverse 4 and 5.
  6. Avniq (1535–1538, ru:1526–1538): 'Avaneq', brother of Sufyan, blood feud with Ilbars' family and others led to an invasion by Bukhara and his death. Bukharans held Khwarazm until they were driven out by his son, Din Muhammed.
  7. Qal (1539–1549, ru:1541–1547): 'Khal Khan', son of Avniq, prosperous reign.
  8. Aqatay (1549–1557, ru:1547–1557): 'Akatai', brother of Sufyan, fought the sons of several of his brothers, defeated and impaled.
  9. Dust Muhammad (1557–1558): 'Dost Khan', son of 5, fought his brother Ish and both were killed.
  10. Haji Muhammad I (1558–1602): son of 8, fought Bukhara, which conquered Khiva, 3 years in Persia, regained homeland, driven out, retook it. Visit of Anthony Jenkinson.
  11. Arab Muhammad I (1602–1623, ru:1603–1621): son of 10, Ural Cossack raid defeated, two Kalmyk raids, weak, two sons rebelled, blinded, later killed.
  12. Isfandiyar (1623–1643) 12. son of 11, killed his rebellious brothers, pro-Turkmen, anti-Uzbek.
  13. Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur (1643–1663): son of 11, khan after defeating Turkmen-Bukharan faction, fought Bukhara and Kalmyks, wrote the Genealogy of Turkmens, an important historical source.
  14. Anusha (1663–1685): son of 13, took Bukhara[26] and lost it, three more failures at Bukhara, overthrown and blinded by son Erenk.
  15. Between Anusha and Sher Gazi (1685–1714) Bregel and Howorth diverge, as do entries in the Russian Wikipedia. Howorth has A. Muhammed Erenk, failed attack on Bukhara, poisoned, B. Shah Niaz (1687 – after 1700) appointed by Bukhara, letter to czar in 1700. C. Arab Muhammed, letter from Czar in 1703. D. Haji Muhammed Behadur envoy to czar in 1714, E. Yadiger (d. 1714), F. Arank, a Karakalpak, father of Shir Gazi.
  16. Khudaydad (1685–1687) ru: 1686–1689, son of Anusha, enthroned at 15, killed.
  17. Muhammad Awrang I (1687–1694) ru:1689–1694, son of Anusha, killed by fall from horse.
  18. Chuchaq (1694–1697) ru: calls him 'Jochi Khan', descendant of Haji Muhammad I.
  19. Vali (1697–1698) ru: descendant of Haji Mukhammad, could not maintain stability and was removed.
  20. Ishaq Agha Shah Niyaz (1698–1701) ru: son of Jochi/Chuchaq. Howorth has Shah Niyaz appointed by Bukhara in 1687.
  21. Awrang II (1701–1702)
  22. ru only:Shakhbakht Khan (1702–03) son of Shah Niyaz, overthrown.
  23. ru only:Sayyid Ali Khan (1703) son of Shah Niyaz, reign lasted several days.
  24. Musa (1702–1712) ru:1703–04, son of Jochi/Chucaq, fled to Merv.
  25. Yadigar I (1712–1713) ru:1704–1714, son of Haji Muhammad I, followed by Sher Ghazi.
  26. Awrang III (c. 1713 – c. 1714).
  27. Haji Muhammad II (c. 1714) envoy to czar in 1714, grandson of Abul Ghazi.
  28. Shir Ghazi (1714–1727) from Bukhara, defeated Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky, fought rival state on lower delta under Timur Sultan, visited by Florio Beneveni, minor slave rebellion. ru:killed by slaves in same year as Howorth's slave rebellion, descendant of Sultan Gazi (see Sultan Haji).
  29. Sarigh Ayghir (1727)
  30. Ilbars II (1728–1740), son of Shakhniyaz khan,[17] rejected threat from Nadir Shah, surrendered to him, executed by Nadir because he had killed Nadir's envoys. Nadir freed many slaves.
  31. Tahir (1740–1742) cousin of Bukharan khan, appointed by Nadir Shah, killed when Nadir's army was elsewhere.
  32. Nurali I (1742) Kazakh, son of Abul Khair Khan, helped expel Nadir's garrison, fled to steppe before Persian army returned. ru: expelled by Persians.
  33. Abu Muhammad (1742) son of Ilbars, appointed by returning Persians
  34. Abu al-Ghazi II Muhammad (1742–1747) resisted returning Persians?
  35. Ghaib (Kaip Khan) (1747–1758) a Kazakh, enemy of Nurali, driven out, later khan of Little Horde.
  36. Between Kaip and 1804 Howorth cannot identify khans. He says that they were titular rulers and often exiled after a few years. Real power was in the hands of Inaks or hereditary prime ministers who were also chiefs on the Qungrat tribe in the lower delta. He lists these Inaks: A. Ishmed bi; B. Muhammed Amin (1755–1782) son of A; C. Ivaz (died 1804), son of B, Dr Blankenagel (1793) could not cure his brother's blindness but left account; D. Iltazar, son of C, after six months expelled last Arabshahid khan.
  37. Abdullah Qara Beg (1758)
  38. Timur Ghazi (1758–1764)
  39. Tawke (1764–1766)
  40. Shah Ghazi (1766–1768)
  41. Abu al-Ghazi III (1768–1769) ru: son of Kaip, later khan of Karakalpaks, later on lower Syr Darya, died in poverty in 1815.
  42. Nurali II (1769)
  43. Jahangir (1769–1770) ru: son of Kaip.
  44. Bölekey (1770) ru: a Kazakh from lower Syr Darya, expelled above and soon driven out himself.
  45. Aqim (first time, 1770–1771)
  46. Abd al-Aziz (c. 1771)
  47. Artuq Ghazi (c. 1772)
  48. Abdullah (c. 1772)
  49. Aqim (second time, c. 1772 – c. 1773)
  50. Yadigar II (first time, c. 1773–1775)
  51. Abu'l Fayz (1775–1779)
  52. Yadigar II (second time, 1779–1781)
  53. Pulad Ghazi (1781–1783)
  54. Yadigar II (third time, 1783–1790)
  55. Abu al-Ghazi IV (1790–1802) visit of Russian Dr. Blankenagel in 1793.
  56. Abu al-Ghazi V ibn Gha'ib (1802–1804)

Qungrat dynasty (1804–1920)

Qungrat Inaqs

Qungrat Khans

Coinage of Kutlugh Muhammad Murad Bahadur [ru], dated 1856. Khwarezm mint
Seid Muhammad Rahim, c. 1880
Isfandiyar Jurji Bahadur in 1913

See also

Notes and sources

  1. ^ Grenoble, Lenore (2003). Language Policy of the Soviet Union. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 1-4020-1298-5.
  2. ^ Oliver, Roy (2007). The New Central Asia: Geopolitics and the Birth of Nations. I.B.Tauris. p. 10. ISBN 9781845115524. They all had Persian as both their court language and the language of culture and all the successive sovereigns in each of the three instances were of Turkish origin: the Safavid followed by the Qajars in Iran; the Moghuls in India... in the various emirates Transoxiania (Bukhara Khiva and Kokand).
  3. ^ Nancy Rosenberger (2011), Seeking Food Rights: Nation, Inequality and Repression in Uzbekistan, p. 27
  4. ^ Bregel, Y.E. (1961). Khwarazm Turkmens in the 19th Century. Moscow: Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Institute of Asian Peoples. Publishing house of Oriental literature. pp. 7–38.
  5. ^ The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia, Adeeb Khalid, page 16, 1998
  6. ^ Vegetation Degradation in Central Asia Under the Impact of Human Activities, Nikolaĭ Gavrilovich Kharin, page 49, 2002
  7. ^ "map: The Moslem World".
  8. ^ Peter B. Golden (2011), Central Asia in World History, p.114
  9. ^ a b c Wood, W. Khorezm and the Khanate of Khiva. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Retrieved 4 May. 2023, from
  10. ^ a b Sartori, Paolo; Abdurasulov, Ulfat (2020). Seeking Justice at the Court of the Khans of Khiva. Brill. p. 1 (note 2). ISBN 978-9004427907.
  11. ^ Mirab Munis, Shir Muhammad; Mirab Agahi, Muhammad Riza (1999). Firdaws Al-iqbāl: History of Khorezm. Translated by Abdullah Chaghatay. Brill. p. ix (note 5).
  12. ^ Bregel 1961, p. 442.
  13. ^ A previous version of this article dated the move to Khiva as 1619, without citation. It was during the reign of Arap Muhammad (1602–23) according to Annanepesov and Bababekov, page 66. Abul Ghazi dates the river change to circa 575 (quoted in Alexandr Gloukhovskoy, The Passage of the Water of the Amu-Darya, 1895, page 25). For more on the changing course of the Oxus see Uzboy River
  14. ^ Mukminova, Roza; Mukhtarov, Akhror (1992). Dani, Ahmad Hasan; Adle, Chahryar; Habib, Irfan; Baipakov, Karl; Masson, Vadim (eds.). History of Civilizations of Central Asia. Unesco. p. 36.
  15. ^ The Arabshaids or Yadigarids were Shaybanids and are sometimes distinguished from the Abulkhayrids, another branch of the family. They are named after Yadigar Sultan who was proclaimed khan north of the Aral Sea about 1458 and from his great-grandfather Arabshah. Bregel places them north of the Aral Sea and lower Syr Darya circa 1400–1500. See Yuri Bregel, Historical Atals of Central Asia, 2003, map 24
  16. ^ Cambridge History of Inner Asia, p. 393; This is not mentioned in other sources.
  17. ^ a b Šir-Moḥammad Mirāb Munes and Moḥammad-Reżā Mirāb Āgahi, Ferdaws al-eqbāl, ed., tr., and annotated by Yuri Bregel as Firdaws al-iqbal: History of Khorezm, 2 vols., Leiden, 1988–99. p. 162,62,567–68
  18. ^ Noelle-Karimi, Christine (2014). The Pearl in Its Midst: Herat and the Mapping of Khurasan (15th–19th Centuries). Austrian Academy of Sciences Press. ISBN 978-3-7001-7202-4.
  19. ^ "Central Asian History – Keller: Khanates on the eve – Hamilton College". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  20. ^ John Ayde, Indian Frontier Policy.
  21. ^ Ratliff, Walter (2010). Pilgrims on the Silk Road: A Muslim-Christian Encounter in Khiva. Wipf & Stock. ISBN 978-1-60608-133-4.
  22. ^ After the original flag on display in the museum of Khiva. Described by J. Renault and H. Calvarin, Franciae Vexilla # 5/51 (April 1997), cited after Ivan Sache on the Khiva page at Flags of the World (FOTW). According to David Straub (1996) on FOTW Archived 27 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine, "The flag of the Khivan Khanate in the pre-Soviet period is unknown."
  23. ^ Ro'i, Yaacov (16 July 2015). The USSR and the Muslim World: Issues in Domestic and Foreign Policy. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-39976-6.
  24. ^ Compiled after Y. Bregel, ed. (1999), fr:Mounis Khorezmi, author, Firdaws al-Iqbal: History of Khorezm. Leiden: Brill.
  25. ^ Henry Hoyle Howorth, History of the Mongols,1880, pp 876–977
  26. ^ ru: has Samarqand, Howorth says 'the city' implying Bukhara.