Shield of the Crimean Tatar soldier. 17th century. Lviv Historical Museum.
Shield of the Crimean Tatar soldier. 17th century. Lviv Historical Museum.

“Everlasting Peace” of the khans of Islam III and Megmed IV Girey with Cossack Ukraine

Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. 1651. Engraving by W. Gondius.
Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky. 1651. Engraving by W. Gondius.

In the winter of 1648, Bohdan Khmelnytsky sent a representative embassy to Bakhchisarai, which reached an agreement in late February – early March. Initially, Crimean Khan Islam Girey III refused to help Ukrainians due to his unwillingness to conflict with the King of the Commonwealth, but then continued negotiations on the terms if Khmelnytsky forced the Don Cossacks not to attack Crimea. As a result of these negotiations, a Ukrainian-Tatar alliance was concluded, which provided for the following provisions: first, the establishment of “eternal” friendly relations between the Zaporozhian Army and the Crimean Khanate; secondly, providing mutual military assistance to each other; thirdly, a ban on the Crimean hordes ravaging Ukrainian lands, and the Cossacks – Tatar uluses in the Crimea; fourth, the payment by the Hetman’s government of Tatar military aid in money, food,fodder and part of the military booty. As Bohdan Khmelnytsky himself said, an alliance with Islam Giray III was necessary for Ukraine in order for Crimea not to unite with Poland and not “start fighting them and the Crimean tsar is terrible for them.”

However, Islam Giray III delayed military assistance in every possible way, as he was wary of the wrath of the King of the Commonwealth. Therefore, in mid-April 1648, Khmelnytsky personally went to Bakhchisarai, where he “talked alone” with the khan. In exchange for Crimea’s promise to provide an army, the hetman was forced to recognize the political supremacy of the Gireys over the Zaporozhian Army. As a result of such actions of the Hetman’s government, a few weeks after the negotiations, 20,000 Tatar soldiers joined the Cossack army in order to defeat the Lyakhs near Zhovti Vody and Pylyavets. Well-trained and hardened in many battles, the Horde cavalry, combined with the Ukrainian Cossack infantry, became a decisive factor in depriving the Polish Crown of the military advantage it had previously had in Eastern Europe.At the same time, Khan Islam Giray III and his entourage tried to use the Cossacks to implement their own plans to join the Crimea Astrakhan and Kazan Khanates and achieve independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Kalga-sultan Agmed Giray - son of Khan Megmed IV. 1663.
Kalga-sultan Agmed Giray – son of Khan Megmed IV. 1663.

On April 10, 1649, Bohdan Khmelnytsky wrote a letter to the Crimean government official Antemir requesting military assistance: “ My very merciful Mr. Antimir, my merciful lord and brother. We inform V [asha]. Mercy, Merciful P [ana] and brother, that the Lyakhs, who have already begun to attack us with their troops… I ask that Your Grace and brother with their glorious chivalry continue to help us such grace and brotherly love are also ready for any service and death for Your Grace, master and brother, and as long as we have enough strength we will protect Your Grace and brother from any enemy… ». A similar appeal was sent to the Kalga-sultan of the Crimean Khanate, but in it the hetman revealed the difficult military and international situation around Ukraine: “… But the lyakhs have long been accustomed to lie and now do so; knowing that the troops of Your Tsar’s mercy are no more, they attack us, setting themselves the goal of destroying us and going to the Crimea, in whatever way help them, Lord God. We are informed about this by the Hungarian king, who warns us and Your Royal Grace that the Swedes are also involved in the war with us, but there are no Swedes yet… ». A letter of similar content was sent to the Perekop Bey of Peri-Aga and it clarified the joint military plans: “… Please make sure that His Grace Mr. Togai-bey and others order their troops to cross to this side of the Dnieper and roam near Ingulets… Lyakhs by the grace and will of God, as before and now will not succeed, although they are looking for different ways to break our brotherhood, but never wait for it, for we have all sworn to Your Grace to serve faithfully . ”

In a letter to John II Casimir camp near Zboriv on August 7, 1649 Hetman Khmelnytsky explained their motivation for Ukrainian Tatar Union: ” … As for the Crimean horde, it had to happen, that we lived in harmony for a long time and to keep happy The reign of our royal grace was peace in the whole land of the kingdom of your Royal Grace. His Grace the Crimean king asks us to help him if he has to go to any hostile land, and he promises never to touch the state of your Royal Grace . Hetman Khmelnytsky wrote in a letter to King Jan II Casimir of Kyiv in November 1649 that he had forever befriended Khan Islam Giray III: “… The Crimean khan, who has been collecting tribute in Cherkasy for a long time, has now sent us a letter asking us, given our friendship, which we have made forever , to give two or three thousand people to collect the tribute, which was due to the agreement with Your Royal Grace. And they, in turn, promise, wherever Your Royal Grace needs them, to always oppose any enemy… (emphasis added) .

Shield of the Crimean Tatar soldier. 17th century. Lviv Historical Museum.
Shield of the Crimean Tatar soldier. 17th century. Lviv Historical Museum.

At the same time, the hetman informed Moscow Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich that he kept the Tatars from marching on Russian lands and appealed to him with another request to forbid the Cossacks of the Don Army to fight the Tatars: ” … The news came on the road from the Crimean Tsar that the Don Cossacks Skoda repaired in the Crimea. And there I, being a direct servant of Your Royal Highness, did not go and gave peace to Orthodox Christians. Just point out, Your Tsarist Majesty, that the Don Cossacks be in humility with the Crimean Kingdom, and I will talk to the Crimean Tsar again, so that he does not go to war in the cities of Your Tsarist Majesty. And the Tatar Army is all on our side…». On March 30, 1650, in a special message to the Don Army, the hetman emphasized that an “eternal brotherhood” had been concluded between the Zaporozhian Army and the Crimean Khanate, and in view of this, Khmelnytsky warned the Don Cossacks not to do the least harm to the Crimean nobility. and on May 5, in a letter to the Kalga-Sultan of the Crimea, Khmelnytsky wrote that he had ordered a 5,000-strong army to march to the aid of the Crimean khan.

III: “Now a certain peace has come, so His Grace the Crimean Tsar sent us to give him several thousand companies, 300 men from the regiment and two horses per man, one hundred senior with good firearms, so that there was enough gunpowder, and one cart with food for ten people. Without waiting for our second station wagon, on the 26th of May to appear in Poltava, from where to go on this road, that is, for the intended help of His Grace to the Crimean Tsar… ». Then the Ukrainian embassy was sent to Bakhchisarai. In June, the Hetman’s Chancellery again sent an appeal to the Don Army not to attack the Crimean Tatars, emphasizing that “no thing or time will separate us (that is, Ukraine. – T. Ch..) with the Crimea… »And on December 1, Bohdan Khmelnytsky appealed to the Janissary Aga to influence the sultan of the Ottoman Empire to issue an order to the Crimean army to help Ukraine.

In September 1651, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky personally addressed the Turkish Sultan Megmed IV Avci: “Цар Your Royal Grace promised to send us the help of the Crimean Khan and other troops from the Dobruch land .., but because reinforcements from both the Crimea and Dobruch the land was late, we had to make peace with the cellars. However, we remain with the Tatar khan in a stable and long-standing inviolable friendship, which we want to adhere to the last minute of our lives, as well as we want to be loyal to your Tsar’s Grace по Therefore, we humbly ask you to write letters to the khan again, with him established, and if we need, for one of our words came to the rescue as soon as possible…». In November, a second letter was sent to Istanbul, again noting that the Turkish sultan had ordered the Crimean khan to support the Zaporozhian Army.

Seal of the Crimean Khan Megmed Girey IV. The end of the 1650s.
Seal of the Crimean Khan Megmed Girey IV. The end of the 1650s.

In February 1652, ambassadors from the Turkish sultan and the Crimean khan arrived in Chyhyryn. During the winter and spring of the same year, there was intensive correspondence between the khan and the hetman. On May 22-23, with the help of the Tatar horde, the Ukrainian army won an important victory over the Polish Crown near Batoh. In September, Bohdan Khmelnytsky again received Khan’s ambassadors in Chyhyryn.

The beginning of 1653 was marked by the intensification of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and the Crimea. The embassies are being exchanged again. However, despite the sultan’s promise to influence the Crimean khan to support the Ukrainian army in Moldova, Islam Giray III demonstratively sided with Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s enemies, leading to the death of his son, Timosh. Tensions in Ukrainian-Tatar relations grew.

The importance of Ukrainian-Tatar political relations is even indicated by the fact that the conclusion of a peace treaty between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Crimean Kingdom on December 15, 1653, which severed allied relations between Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and Khan Islam Giray III, became the decisive reason for signing the Ukrainian Moscow agreements next year. In February 1654 Chyhyryn proposals to the Tsar to adopt protection was recorded separate item on cooperation between Ukraine and the Crimea, which noted: ” The Horde Tatar had wanted to keep up (ie terminate peaceful relations with Ukraine. – Charles T.), you need to from Astrakhan and from Kazan to attack them, as well as the Don Cossacks to be ready; and now, while still in friendship with them, do not touch them». In the so-called. March articles with Moscow on the relations of the Zaporozhian Army with the Crimea were written: ” And with the Crimean Khan except for peace, have no reference, and have peace with him by decree of the Tsarist Majesty so that the inhabitants of the Zaporozhian Army Tatars from the Crimea did not come by war. ” . It is interesting that during January 1654 the ambassadors of the Crimean Khanate were constantly in Chyhyryn.

At this time, Bohdan Khmelnytsky again demanded from Moscow that the tsar influence the Don Army and the Kalmyk Horde so that they would not attack the possession of the Crimean Yurt. In the following months, the hetman’s government showed great diplomatic activity to restore peace with the Crimean Khanate. As early as March 1654, Khmelnytsky sent a letter to the khan with a proposal to preserve peaceful relations between the two countries. During March-first half of April, an embassy headed by Colonel S. Savych was located in the Crimea. In mid-April, another Ukrainian envoy, K. Sydorenko, was in Bakhchisarai asking for military assistance in the war with the Polish Crown. In April, the Ukrainian embassy in Istanbul demanded that Sultan Megmed IV Avji allow the Crimean khan to maintain peaceful relations with the Zaporozhian Army.On April 16, Hetman Khmelnytsky wrote a letter to Khan Islam Giray III in which he assured the khan of “eternal friendship.” On April 25, in response to accusations by Tatar government official Sefer-Aga that the Zaporozhian Army had entered into an agreement with Moscow, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky wrote a letter to Crimea stating that “we have clearly seen the inviolable affection for us as the Khan of His Grace, Our Merciful Lord, and their MN Lord… We, for our part, never intended to break the brotherhood and break the affection, and in this letter we swear by God that we do not think about no dislike. God sees that we never give rise to quarrels, and VM, our gentlemen, make us guilty of everything: do we not have the right to defend our lives, to seek friendly outsiders, but they recruit people from different lands . What are these obstacles ?! And we, on the advice of Khan JM and their MNM Paniv, formed a brotherhood and friendship with Moscow. Friendly with VNM gentlemen, approved by the oath, we can not and do not think to violate and use it forever , in all matters we always deal with you and act so as not to be ashamed of the enemy».

Protective armor of the Crimean Tatar soldier
Protective armor of the Crimean Tatar soldier

From May 17 to 19, the Khan’s ambassador was in Chyhyryn and returned to Bakhchisarai on June 8 with a letter from Bohdan Khmelnytsky to Islam Giray III. In June, relations between Ukraine and the Crimea reached a critical point, because according to reports, ” Khan Krymsky is still in the Crimea with the sultans and elders and our enemies; and the Nagai moved to this side of the Dnieper from Ochakov, Perekoptsy, and Belogorodtsy. And to release a letter to the ataman of Koshevo in Zaporozhye, so that he would take Tatars from the Crimea… ».

In August, an embassy headed by Colonel Pavel Teterei went to the Crimea. On September 15, while in a camp near Krylivtsi, the hetman wrote to Moscow about the death of Islam Giray III: “ … After the death of Islam Giray, the Crimean khan, the whole horde of Kammam-bet Murza was sent to us, although again with us in the fraternity still be and against the Lyakhs to help us give, and we against the agreement with them sent esmya to them Mikhail Bogachenko to the Crimea, which is still missing, then sent esmya our envoys to the Murz Nagai, near Chigirin nomads, to promise to come to our aid … ».

When in October the new khan of the Crimean kingdom Megmed Giray IV began to threaten Bohdan Khmelnytsky with war, the hetman replied: “We expect a kinder letter from your khan’s mercy, not giving the slightest reason to break the friendship and remembering that it is good that everyone breaking the oath is severely punished, as King Vladislav was once severely punished for perjury, who, swearing eternal allegiance to the emperor, his mercy, the Turkish, broke with his army near Varna and died in vain. Considering this, we avoid the wrath of God, we cannot and do not want to break the oath in any way, and without seeking any opportunity to break the friendship, we will beg God and every enemy of ours, standing on our borders, to fight back, ready to die…». At the end of October 1654, negotiations took place with the Tatar ambassador Tokhtamysh-aga. As a result of diplomatic negotiations head of the Ukrainian Embassy M. Bogachenko Chyhyryn reported: ” … And then lyahamy strike on the army and the whole Ukraine pustoshyty fire and sword; … [Karach-bey] comforted us: “… All lands will strike at you [Ukraine]: Turkish, Hungarian, Wallachian, Moldavian and we with the whole horde .”

In January 1655, regular talks between representatives of the Zaporozhian Army and diplomats of the new khan, Megmed Giray IV, took place near Okhmatov, as a result of which a new embassy was set up in Crimea in March. At the same time, the Hetman’s Chancellery received letters from the Perekop Beylerbey Karach-Bey and the Crimean Sultans offering military assistance against the Polish Crown, but with the necessary condition of renouncing Moscow’s protection.

After negotiations between the Cossacks and the Horde in late summer – autumn November 12, 1655 between Ukraine and the Crimea was an important truce near Ozernaya. In a letter to the Turkish Sultan Mehmeda IV Avdzhy described Hetman renovation military and political alliance with the Crimean Khanate: ” … Tataryy departed from Poles and many treasures captured in Polish castles; when the Tatar khan returned, we met with him near Lviv, argued a lot, but ended with oaths. Now we will remain brothers until death, we will live peacefully and swear allegiance forever… ».

In January 1656, the hetman addressed the Crimean khan: “… We only ask Your Royal Grace, if the Poles send people to Your Royal Grace, let us know everything. As for the booty we took, even what was seized before the oath, according to the brotherhood confirmed by the oath, we, for our part, sent envoys everywhere with the order that it be reduced to a heap, and we promise to return everything that was not there. . For our part, we also promise to release all prisoners who were captured during the war, in accordance with our agreement. Even Your Royal Grace, please order the release of all our Cossacks who were taken prisoner only during the current war. We ask Your Royal Grace for Your Royal Grace to inform us of everything, and we will definitely inform Your Royal Grace through our frequent messengers if anything happens to us…». Then, in a letter to the Crimean Saltan on January 22, 1656, Khmelnitsky Hetman wrote: ” … And all those Tatars who were in Ukraine in captivity, we were ordered to gather in a group and now they are released immediately .”

In April 1656, the Hetman’s Chancellery informed the Perekop Beylerbey Perish-agu about the embassy sent to the Crimean Khan and again assured him of “the continuation of the friendship established between us.” The policy of the Crimean Khanate towards Ukraine this year was as follows: Khan Megmed Giray IV in a special label addressed to King Jan II Casimir before the conclusion of the Vilnius Armistice in 1656 refused to make peace with the Muscovite state and advised to sign an agreement with the Kingdom of Sweden. In September of the same year, the Tatar ambassador to Warsaw urged the king to renounce his alliance with Moscow and assured that the khan would force Ukraine to return to Polish protection.

In the spring and summer of 1657, the khan’s actions in support of Jan Casimir led to the resumption of the military conflict between Crimea and Ukraine. In a message to the tsar dated July 10, Bohdan Khmelnytsky remarked that “the Tatars agreed with the Poles, and they are working on it if all Ukrainian cities are ruined. And if Ukraine was ruined, there would be nothing more to think about…». In a letter to the Duma deacon Almaz Ivanov from the same number, the hetman wrote: not only Ukraine, the land of His Royal Highness, was planned to devastate… ». And in a July letter to the boyar Miloslavsky, Khmelnytsky remarked that “the Tatars, having joined the lyakhs, cut down many Ukrainian gardens…; and not only Ukraine intends to mutilate… ». In the hetman’s appeal to the voivode G. Romodanovsky dated July 16 of the same year, it was noted that the Crimean khan “was ravaging the Ukrainian cities”; he left the Crimea for Ukrainian gardens. ”

Thus, the main task of the Hetman’s government of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, which provided for the achievement of neutrality of the Crimean Khanate in the war of Ukraine against Poland, was fulfilled. In addition, at the same time, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich concluded an agreement with the Crimean Khanate to ” be and the Crimean yurt in silence and peace and friend to the emperor’s friend, and the enemy to the enemy and his Tsarist Majesty’s Ukrainian cities and counties, as well as in His royal Majesty poddannыh in Zaporizhia Cherkasy most wars walks and Tsarevich and children and brothers and svoyh plemyannykov and princes and murzas and Ulanov and any voynskyh people and ferrous and Crimean and nahayskyh people and azovskyh and nykakyh Tatars posыlat … “.

Unfortunately, the Ozernyansky armistice between the Ukrainian Hetmanate and the Crimean Khanate did not last long, and the Crimean court did not abide by its international political obligations. The severance, for various reasons, of peaceful ties with the Crimea in the second half of 1656 and early 1657 led to a significant deterioration of Ukraine’s international position. Although in March 1657 Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky sends an embassy to the Ottoman Empire led by Colonel Lavrinom cabbage and in a letter to yanycharskoho Agha wrote that the Zaporizhzhya Army “came out most clearly Crimean Khan in a new alliance and a new steady friendship, in which perebuvatymemo ever this union “.


Thus, from the time of Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s death until the mid-1960s, the governments of Istanbul and Bakhchisarai did not have a single point of view regarding the new state emerging in Eastern Europe, the Ukrainian Hetmanate. Although it is the “eternal peace” of the Crimean Khanate with the Zaporozhian Army and became the main guarantee for its creation. In turn, the High Porte made plans to subdue the hetmans, and the Crimean kingdom, in turn, tried to make Cossack Ukraine dependent on the khans. This question became especially acute in the last years of the reign of Megmed Giray IV, when this Crimean khan began to openly ignore the order of the Turkish Sultan Megmed IV Avci to participate in another “pan-European” war between the Ottoman Empire and the Austrian Empire.The rebellious khan did this in order to be able to use his troops to participate in the events that were rapidly unfolding in Ukraine at the time.

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The project was implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

Taras Chukhlib

Taras Chukhlib, Ukrainian historian, Doctor of Historical Sciences. Leading researcher of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, director of the Stepan Bandera Research Institute of the Cossacks. Researcher of the history of Ukraine, Poland and Turkey, the geopolitical development of Eastern Europe.

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