This state formation, which arose in the 15th century and lasted more than two hundred years, is still the object of heated discussions, in which authoritative historians act as participants. The Kasimov Khanate is a truly unique phenomenon of the past. When did it come about? What status did it have? What role was assigned to him in Russian history? Why did the kingdom of "Genghisids" collapse? These are the main questions that are controversial for scholars of the past. The lack of direct sources and the scarcity of evidence force historians to put forward only assumptions about what the Kasimov Khanate was like several centuries ago. Today, this phenomenon is by no means fully understood. Let's try to summarize the main theories of scientists and analyze what the history of the Kasimov Khanate could have been.
The above structure with subsequent signs of statehood arose, according to scientists, in the territory where the Meshchera tribe lived. Hisrepresentatives who spoke one of the Finno-Ugric languages led a semi-nomadic lifestyle. At the beginning of the second millennium, Slavic Krivichi invaded the territory of the tribe. It cannot be said that the Meshcherians were glad to have uninvited guests, but they did not drive them away from their territory.
Yes, and the Krivichi were at a higher stage of development, so they helped the natives to make their culture of being more civilized. At the same time, the owners were surprised how the Slavs can live in one place for a long time. For the first time, Meshcherians saw dwellings made of skinned logs, in which it was much more convenient to live than in dugouts. After some time, the "natives" began to build huts for themselves, following the example of the Krivichi. And the newcomers were fed by agriculture, and were also engaged in pottery and blacksmithing. All this did not escape the attention of the owners. Ultimately, the two tribes will become friends and intermarry. Their blood will mix, among the natives, pagan customs, language and culture will fade into the background. They will adopt all the "advanced" achievements of the Slavs and will live by their example.
Years later, Meshchertsy and Krivichi will form a single whole. Their settlement is being transformed into a social-territorial community with the beautiful name Gorodets Meshchersky. It was then that the Kasimov Khanate arose. Geographically, the settlement was located near the place where the Babenka River flowed into the Oka.
According to some sources, Grand Duke Yuri Dolgoruky visited Gorodets Meshchersky in the middle of the 12th century. He thentook care of strengthening the borders of Ancient Russia and, making sure that the settlement of the Krivichi and Slavs had a convenient location, ordered to turn Gorodets Meshchersky into a fortress.
It was in 1152, and it is officially believed that the city was founded then. The settlement was protected by a wooden fence, a moat and an earthen rampart. So Gorodets Meshchersky became the main guardian of the Suzdal-Vladimir principality. The settlement strictly coped with the assigned tasks until the Mongol-Tatars came to Russia in 1376. The enemy plundered and set fire to Gorodets Meshchersky.
However, after a while, the Meshcherians who survived the invasion managed to rebuild the city, but in a different place. Now the settlement (which later received a different name - the New Lower City) was located between two large ravines, which represented insurmountable barriers for the enemy on the western and eastern sides. From the north, the city was framed by impenetrable forests, and from the south - by a river with a high mountainous bank. To strengthen the protection of the city, earthen ramparts were installed on all sides, over which towered wooden walls. The process of building the New Nizovy city was carried out during the years of the reign of Moscow Prince Dmitry Donskoy and his Prince Vasily. Both adhered to the policy of consolidating Russian lands, so soon the new settlement of the Meshchertsy and Krivichi, ruled by Prince Alexander Ukovich, became part of the Moscow principality. Moreover, the New Grassroots City, as before, performed the functions of border defense, becausein the neighborhood was the mighty Kazan Khanate, which during the reign of Ivan IV became part of Russia.
Policy of the Kazan rulers
Power in the Kazan kingdom alternately passed from hand to hand of various clans. One of the sons of the ruling dynasty, named Mahmutek, took the life of his own father and brother in order to win the throne.
Two of his younger brothers (Yakub and Kasim) were forced to flee their native khanate in order to escape. Unexpectedly, they ended up in the Moscow principality, where they asked Prince Vasily II for protection and asylum. However, the Russian ruler himself in the middle of the 15th century did not want to go into open confrontation with the Kazan rulers. Back in the summer of 1445, Vasily the Dark lost in the battle of Suzdal to the offspring of Khan Ulu-Mohammed. And the Moscow prince himself, together with his cousin, was then captured. But a few months later, Vasily II was released for a huge ransom. The Russian ruler was forced to conclude an agreement with Ulu-Mukhamed on enslaving terms. The prince undertook to take with him many Tatars who came from a noble family, and determine in the Moscow principality "for feeding." Naturally, the Russian people were indignant that foreigners would have to be supported. Well, when the sons of the Kazan Khan came to ask Vasily the Dark for patronage, he was delighted with this turn of events. Moreover, the sons of Ulu-Muhamed really served regularly. Kasim helped the prince in the fight against Dmitry Shemyaka, he also acted on the side of the Russians in military campaigns against the khans of the Golden Horde. Behindvalor, courage and devotion, Vasily II granted Kasim an inheritance, the center of which was Gorodets Meshchersky. So, on the border of Muscovy, the Kasimov Khanate was formed (the time of occurrence - 1452), which was ruled by one of the younger sons of Khan Ulu-Mukhamed.
At the same time, some historians tend to think that the Tatars appeared on the Meshchera land before it was given under the control of Kasim. We are talking, in particular, about representatives of the princely family of Shirinsky. According to legend, they left the lands of the weakened Golden Horde and migrated to a new place of residence, which was geographically located on the banks of the Oka and Tsna rivers. Moreover, one of the Shirinsky princes decided to settle in the Meshchera land and even converted to Christianity, receiving a new name - Mikhail. Some scholars believe that it was he who was the ancestor of the Meshchera princes. But whether this was actually the case is unknown.
Even during the reign of Kasim, Gorodets Meshchersky was renamed by the inheritance entrusted to him. It received the names of Kasimov City and Kasim City. After the son of Khan Ulu-Mukhamed died, the capital of the former settlement of Meshchers and Krivichi became known as Kasimov. Well, a few years later, the settlement was “transformed” by historians into the Kasimov Khanate (kingdom). As soon as this state unit was formed, which was dependent on Ancient Russia, majestic buildings of Muslim architecture began to appear in it.
It should be emphasized that not only the history of the Kasimov Khanate is unique, but also its culture.
In the second half of the 15th century, architects built here a real masterpiece of architecture - a stone mosque with a minaret, which has survived, albeit not in its original version, to this day. And today you can climb the minaret and see the picturesque nature of the Ryazan region from a bird's eye view. The mosque is a massive structure with an open balcony and a spiral stone staircase. On the balcony there is a platform, climbing on which, the mullah called the townspeople to prayer. However, the platform on the balcony of the tower also served as a place from where the commanders inspected the troops. Not far from the mosque is the mausoleum of Khan Shah-Ali (Tekie), built of white stone.
The question of whether metal money was minted in the inheritance of the youngest son of Ulu-Mukhamed is quite remarkable. Historians argue that this could very well be. At least until the 16th century. However, numismatists doubt that the coins of the Kasimov Khanate existed in principle. However, the merchant N. Shishkin, mentioned below, wrote in his literary work that he was lucky to hold metal money in his hand from the middle of the 16th century. On the coin, the merchant saw Arabic inscriptions, which were translated as: "Shah Ali / King Kasimov, year 1553." But numismatists are sure that Shishkin got a fake, since such a form for a Tatar coin was unacceptable. The name of the ruler, the place of issue and the year were indicated on real money.
Of course, the formation of the Kasimov Khanate is a multi-stage process, which was interested in eminenthistorians and writers. For example, the history of this destiny of the Russian state was studied in detail in the second half of the 19th century by the scientist V. Velyaminov - Zernov. The result of his research was the four-volume "Study on the Kasimov Tsars and Tsareviches". The writer V. Solovyov in the same 19th century published the novel "Kasimov's Bride". Well, a few years later, the merchant N. Shishkin, who lived on the territory of the Meshchera land, wrote a book in which he told in detail what the formation of the Kasimov Khanate was like.
Role in the history of Russia
One way or another, but the territory, on which in ancient times there was a settlement of Krivichi and Meshchers, became a strategic lot for the Russian state even during the reign of Yuri Dolgorukov. And centuries later, this is the culturally and politically developed Kasimov Khanate. The years 1445-1552 became for him the most significant in history. And it all started with Ulu-Mukhamed, who helped Vasily the Dark regain the throne, lost as a result of the uprising. Dmitry Shemyaka was overthrown. And as a token of gratitude for the help, the Moscow prince gives the Meshchera land into the possession of Kasim.
And he served Vasily the Dark faithfully, participating in military battles on the side of the Russian state. Thus, the Kasimov Khanate, whose rulers continued the policy of their youngest son Ulu-Mukhamed after his death, became a real stronghold of Ancient Russia.
Especially in this regard, the merits of Shah Ali Khan should be noted. Even as a teenager, he was drawn into an intricatepolitical game, where Kazan alternately took the side of either the Moscow principality or the Crimean Khanate. Shah Ali repeatedly became the ruler of the Kazan kingdom, but was overthrown every time (in one case, at the initiative of Ivan IV). In the end, he will get the Kasimov Khanate (the capital is the city of Kasim).
In 1552, Shah Ali, together with his army, helped Ivan the Terrible conquer Kazan.
Remarkable is the relationship between the future ruler of the Kasimov kingdom and the beautiful Suimbeki, who was the widow of the deceased Khan of Kazan. The girl did not like the undersized and plump Shah Ali, but Ivan IV intended to marry the couple at all costs and realized his plans. But this marriage did not bring happiness either to Suimbeki or Shahu-Ali. The beautiful widow lived her whole life like a bird in a cage, not leaving the Kasimov Palace, and the khan was always burdened by the fact that he was disgusted by his wife.
The feats of arms of Kasimov Khan delighted many Russian soldiers. Shah Ali helped suppress the uprising in Kazan in 1554, then participated in the battle of Vyborg with the Swedes, then went on a military campaign against Livonia. And in 1562, he fought on the side of the Russians against the Polish king Sigismund, in this military operation the Shah captured Polotsk. A year later, the king ordered the khan to go to Lithuania. In this campaign, Shah Ali was accompanied by the boyar Ivan Volsky.
One way or another, but the Tatar commander helped to significantly expand the borders of the Russian state. Was the Kasimov Khanate great? The occupied territory of this inheritance included, in addition to the capital, several feudal estates.with formal autonomy, which included: Temnikov, Enkai, Shatsk, Kadom.
From the point of view of ethnicity, the "kingdom" was represented by three groups: Mordovians, Kasimov Tatars and Mishar Tatars. So say historians-ethnographers who have been studying the phenomenon called the Kasimov Khanate for a long time. What language did its inhabitants speak? In one of the Tatar dialects with elements of the Mishar dialect.
Shah Ali died in 1567, and the body of the ruler was buried in the Kasimov mausoleum.
Several centuries later, the historian V. Velyaminov-Zernov writes that, in addition to the khan, the bodies of his spouse Bulak-Shal and Suimbek, as well as several relatives, are in Tekiye.
Shah Ali's successor
Who then took possession of the Kasimov Khanate? Historical essays testify that this fate was awarded to a distant relative of Shah-Ali and at the same time the great-grandson of the Khan of the Golden Horde Akhmat. His name was Sain-Bulat. Ivan the Terrible himself entrusted him with the management of the Meshchera land. And the new owner of the Kasimov Khanate began to help the Russian Tsar conquer new territories.
In 1573, the khan was baptized into Orthodoxy and took the name Simeon. After that, Ivan IV took the Meshchera region from Sain-Bulat, but left him the title. And two years later, Grozny unexpectedly proclaimed Simeon Bekbulatovich "Tsar and Grand Duke of All Russia." Naturally, all this turned out to be an ordinary props: Ivan IV would never have renounced the throne. A few months later, Grozny deprivedKhan of the great title, but in return he gave him the possession of the Tver inheritance. But what about the Kasimov Khanate? The occupied territory of this, from the point of view of representatives of the Tatar aristocracy, autonomy, has been gradually decreasing since the 16th century. Everything is explained by the fact that the task of the Muslim vassal of Russia was already three-quarters completed, and Ivan VI himself no longer saw great prospects in the kingdom founded by the youngest son of Ulu-Mukhamed.
Kingdom in the Time of Troubles
When False Dmitry II tried to seize the throne in Russia, the Khan of the Kazakh dynasty Uraz-Mohammed ruled in the Meshchera land. This estate was given to him in 1600 by Boris Godunov himself. When the Time of Troubles began in Russia, the khan recognized the real ruler in the Tushinsky Thief. Uraz-Mohammed moves to Tushino. For such an act, Tsar Vasily Shuisky laid siege to the capital of the Kasimov Khanate. The impostor was forced to flee and subsequently ended up in Kaluga. Soon the Kazakh khan also leaves the limits of his inheritance and first finds himself in the camp of the Polish king, and then goes to Kaluga, remaining at the court of Sigismund III. The son of the ruler of the Kasimov kingdom at that moment was also in Kaluga. And after some time, the offspring of Uraz-Mohammed declares to False Dmitry II that the khan wants to betray him. As a result, the Tushinsky thief lured Uraz-Mohammed to hunt, and then killed him. But soon the same fate will befall the impostor, who will die at the hands of the Nogai prince Peter Urusov.
Meshchera in the 17th century
In the first half of the 17th century, the throne in Kasimov was taken by Araslan Aleevich, who first served as governor in the Second Home Guard andcommanded the Tatar army on the Vologda River. During his reign, Moscow began to interfere more and more in the internal affairs of the khanate. The governors of the Russian Tsar soon began to resolve disputes between representatives of the Tatar nobility. The previously profitable tandem (Kasimov Khanate and Russia) during the reign of Mikhail Romanov outlived its usefulness by almost one hundred percent.
But it should be emphasized that until the 20s of the 17th century, the Tatars continued to actively participate on the side of the Moscow sovereign in military campaigns against Lithuanians, Poles and "Russian villains". Then they guarded the border of Russia from the threat of attack from the Crimean Tatars. After the death of Araslan Aleevich, the Meshchera lands passed into the control of his young son Seid-Burkhan. However, the power of this representative of the Siberian dynasty was minimal. The Kasimov Khanate, whose economy actually ended up in the hands of the Moscow sovereign, became one of the main sources of replenishment of the Russian treasury. But the young ruler was forbidden to communicate with foreign merchants and ambassadors. As an adult, Seid-Burkhan converted to Orthodoxy, becoming Vasily Araslanovich. In Kasimov, he remained governor, although very little depended on his will. Seid-Burkhan died in 1679.
The decline of the kingdom
The last ruler of the Meshchera lands was Fatima-Sultan (wife of Khan Araslan Aleevich). Being already middle-aged, she was on the throne for only 2 years, and her governorship was also of a formal nature. She was killed by those closest to her. The reason for the murder wasthat the ruler wanted to convert to Orthodoxy.
The Kasimov Khanate, whose territory after the death of Fatima-Sultan finally came under the control of the Moscow princes, ceased to exist in 1681. Then Tsar Peter I visited the Meshchera lands, who allowed his "amusing man" - the jester Balakirev - to be called "Kasinovsky Khan". Later, Empress Catherine I gave Kasimov to one of her close associates.
In wooden Kasimov, fires repeatedly occurred, from which the historical appearance of the city suffered first of all. Only at the end of the 18th century did it become stone thanks to the efforts of the architect I. Gagin. Modern Kasimov, located in the Ryazan region, is a place of concentration for tourists from all over Russia.