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History, Russian Conquest

During Quqon’s expansion northward, imperial Russian forces were conquering Kazakh territory north of the Syr Darya and pushing farther south. Although the Uzbek khanates waged an armed resistance against the Russian incursion, Russian control was extended over present-day Uzbekistan in the latter half of the 19th century. Russian forces began advancing on Quqon’s frontier fortresses in the north in the 1850s, capturing Ak-Mechet (present-day Qyzylorda, Kazakhstan) in 1853. After the conquest of Toshkent in 1865, the khanate’s influence was limited to the Fergana Valley. Bukhoro was conquered in 1866 and forced to become a vassal state in 1868, and then Khiva fell in 1873. The Russian conquest was complete in 1876, when Quqon was formally annexed. Under Russian rule, Khiva and Bukhoro maintained some measure of autonomy as semi-independent states, although they were ultimately subordinate to the Russian Empire.

Russian rule introduced new tensions into Central Asian society. The development of a commodity economy brought profits to some farmers, while it deprived others of their land. Many Central Asians resented the new, corrupt local administration as well as the increasing incursion of Russian colonists into areas such as the Golodnaya Steppe. Moreover, they perceived the new rulers as non-Muslim infidels. In 1916, already overburdened with requisitions of livestock and produce to support Russia’s involvement in World War I (1914-1918), the local populace revolted against a decree making them subject to a draft for construction battalions behind the front lines. The imperial government brutally suppressed the revolt.

 

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