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a Tatar feudal state that arose in the mid-15th century as a result of the disintegration of the Golden Horde; its capital was Astrakhan. Nomadic livestock raising was the primary occupation of its inhabitants; hunting, fishing, and salt mining also played important roles. Farming was insignificant and was found only along the Buzan River. Astrakhan was the transit center for the textile silk trade from the East. Furs, leather goods, and other commodities were imported into Astrakhan from Kazan and the Russian lands; slaves were brought in from the Crimea, Kazan, and the Nogai Horde. The common people of the ulus (Tatar settlement) were taxed with the iasak (tribute) and were in a state of complete dependence on the secular and clerical feudal lords, who exploited them cruelly. The Astrakhan Khanate was virtually always in some state of dependency: at first, on the Great Horde and, after its destruction, on the Nogais and Crimean khanates, both of which attempted to subjugate it. To resist these aspirations, the Astrakhan Khanate effected a rapprochement with the Russian state in the 16th century, concluding a treaty of alliance with it in 1533. The Russian state, which was interested in gaining access to the Caspian Sea and in protecting itself against attacks by the Crimeans and the Turks, organized a campaign against the Astrakhan Khanate in 1554; overthrew the khan, Iamgurchei, who was hostile to Russia; and in his stead installed Dervish Ali as a vassal of Ivan IV. In 1556, Dervish Ali’s attempt to end his subordination to the Muscovite state led once again to the dispatch of Russian troops to Astrakhan, and the khanate was annexed to Russia once and for all.
REFERENCESOcherki istorii SSSR: Period feodalizma, IX-XV vv., part 2. Moscow, 1953. Pages 440–42.
Ocherki istorii SSSR: Period feodalizma, konets XV-nach. XVII vv. Moscow, 1955. Pages 364–66.
I. V. STEPANOV