Perovsky’s 1839 Campaign to Khiva and the Russian Embassy to Khiva in 1842


Beginning in the early 18th century, tsarist Russia made several unsuccessful attempts to bring under its control the Khanate of Khiva, an independent state in Central Asia that had been ruled since 1511 by successive Uzbek dynasties, except for a period of indirect rule by Persia in 1740–47. By the 1830s, Khiva had become an object of the “Great Game,” the rivalry between Britain and Russia for commercial and strategic dominance in Central Asia. In November 1839, General Vasily Alexeevich Perovsky (1794–1857), commander of the army garrison at Orenburg, marched from Orenburg to Emba (present-day Kazakhstan) and on to Khiva with a detachment of some 5,000 men, 10,000 camels, and 2,000 horses. His object was to extend Russia’s frontiers at a time when Britain was entangled in the conflict that became known as the First Afghan War (1839–40). The campaign was a disaster. Lacking warm clothes, short of fuel, and poorly armed, Perovsky’s troops faced one of the most severe winters on record. Without fighting a single battle, the detachment was forced to turn back at the beginning of February 1840. Perovsky arrived in Orenburg in May, having lost 1,000 men and most of his camels to cold and disease. This book describes Perovsky’s campaign and the Russian embassy to Khiva in 1842, which resulted in the first treaty between the two countries. Russia finally conquered Khiva in 1873, annexed its territory, and made its khan a vassal of the tsar.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

P.P. Soikin, Saint Petersburg


Title in Original Language

Хива. Зимний поход в Хиву Перовского в 1839 году и Первое посольство в Хиву в 1842 году

Type of Item

Physical Description

200 pages

Last updated: September 29, 2014