Khiva Khanate

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Khiva Khanate


a feudal state in Middle Asia from the 16th to early 20th centuries. The khanate was formed in 1512, and its first ruler was the Uzbek khan Il’barsa. It comprised Khwarazm, the northern part of Khorasan, and the areas roamed by the nomadic Turkmens on Mangyshlak Peninsula, in Dakhistan, and along the Uzboi. Its capitals were Vazir, Urgench, and Khiva.

From the 16th through the first half of the 18th century, the Khiva Khanate was continually at war with Bukhara, Iran, and the nomadic Turkmens; moreover, there was constant strife within the khanate and ethnic discord between the indigenous Uzbeks and Turkmens. In 1700, 1703, and 1714, envoys of Khan Shah Niaza conducted negotiations with Peter I on giving Russian citizenship to the people of Khiva Khanate. A. Bekovich-Cherkasskii’s expedition to Khiva in 1717 was routed by the local population. In 1740 the ruler of Iran, Nadir Shah, overran the khanate, but after his death in 1747 the state regained its independence.

During an internecine struggle in 1763, Muhammad Amin, the head of the Kungrat tribe, became the leader of the khanate, and he founded the Kungrat dynasty of Khiva. The most important member of this dynasty was the khan Muhammad Rakhim (1806–25), who unified the khanate, instituted a supreme council, carried out a tax reform, and subjugated small neighboring regions, including the Aral area and the territory of the Kara-Kalpaks. During his rule, central authority was consolidated, and the khanate was internally stabilized. In accordance with the Gendemian Peace Treaty of 1873, which ended the Khiva campaign of the same year, the khanate ceded the lands on the right bank of the Amu Darya and became a vassal state of Russia’s, although it retained internal autonomy.

The population of the khanate consisted of Uzbeks, Turk-mens, Kara-Kalpaks, and Kazakhs. The chief occupations were livestock raising and land cultivation, carried out with the aid of irrigation. The social structure represented a mixture of feudal, patriarchal-clan, and slaveholding elements. With the exception of some cotton ginning, there was no industry in the khanate. Exports consisted of cotton, dried fruits, animal skins, and wool. The khan enjoyed unlimited authority, and arbitrary rule and the use of force reigned in the state. The reactionary Muslim clergy played an important role.

After the October Revolution of 1917, an intense political struggle began in the khanate. On Feb. 2, 1920, a popular revolt, supported by Red Army units, overthrew the khan. On Apr. 26, 1920, the First All-Khorezm People’s Kurultai proclaimed the formation of the Khorezm People’s Soviet Republic.


Bartol’d, V. V. Istoriia kul’turnoi zhizni Turkestana. Leningrad, 1927.
Veselovskii, N. I. Ocherki istoriko-geograficheskikh svedenii o Khivinskom khanstve ot drevneishikh vremen do nastoiashchego. St. Petersburg, 1877.
Istoriia narodov Uzbekistana, vol. 2. Tashkent, 1947.
Istoriia Uzbekskoi SSR, vol. 1. Tashkent, 1967.
Pogorel’skii, I. V. Ocherki ekonomicheskoi i politicheskoi istorii Khivinskogo khanstva kontsa XIX i nachala XX vv. (1873–1917 gg.). [Leningrad] 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A reception lasted from 8.00 pm until midnight in the Khiva Khanate Palace.
At the time of the invasion of West Turkistan by the Russians in the 1850s, the Khokand Khanate, the Khiva Khanate, and the Emirate of Bukhara ruled the lands that make up most of present-day Uzbekistan.