The Russian Conquest of Ferghana, 1875-76

Dr Alexander Morrison
Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The conquest of the Ferghana Valley and the final destruction of the Khoqand khanate are often overlooked in histories of the Russian conquest of Central Asia. Having survived in uneasy limbo as a protectorate from 1866-1875, Khoqand was rocked by a series of rebellions against its unpopular Khan, Khudoyar, prompting a Russian military intervention. Attempts to preserve Khoqand as a protectorate by putting Khudoyar's son on the throne failed, and further rebellions broke out in Andijan and other cities of this rich and fertile region. General M. D. Skobelev led a series of vicious punitive expeditions against the Sart, Qipchaq and Kyrgyz inhabitants of Ferghana, which saw Russian forces deliberately making war on women, children and non-combatants. The last resistance to the Russians in Khoqand's name came from the Kyrgyz of the mountainous Alai region, who only made peace in 1876. Ferghana would become the richest province of Russian Turkestan, while Khoqand's demise would be mourned by a whole generation of Central Asian intellectuals and commemorated in an extraordinarily rich historiography.

Alexander Morrison is Fellow and Tutor in History at New College, Oxford. He was previously Professor of History at Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, Lecturer in Imperial History at the University of Liverpool, and a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is the author of Russian Rule in Samarkand 1868 - 1910. A Comparison with British India (OUP, 2008), co-editor of The Central Asian Revolt of 1916. A Collapsing Empire in the Age of War and Revolution (Manchester, 2019) and has recently published The Russian Conquest of Central Asia. A Study in Imperial Expansion 1814 - 1914 (CUP, 2020) from which this talk is an extract.

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