Crimean Peninsula
Satellite picture of Crimea, Terra-MODIS, 05-16-2015.jpg
May 2015 satellite image of the Crimean Peninsula
Crimea (orthographic projection).svg
LocationEastern Europe
Coordinates45°18′N 34°24′E / 45°18′N 34°24′E / 45.3; 34.4
Adjacent bodies of water
Largest citySevastopol
Area27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,545 m (5,069 ft)
StatusControlled and governed as part of the Russian Federation (except Ukrainian-controlled part of Arabat Spit), though internationally recognised as part of Ukraine
Ukraine (de jure)
RegionsAutonomous Republic of Crimea (de jure)
Sevastopol (de jure)
Kherson Oblast (northern part of Arabat Spit, Henichesk Raion)
Russia (de facto)
Federal districtSouthern Federal District
Federal subjectsRepublic of Crimea
Population2,284,000[2] (2014 census)
Pop. density84.6 /km2 (219.1 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups65.3% Russians (1.492 mln)
15.1% Ukrainians (344.5 thousand)
10.8% Crimean Tatars (246.1 thousand)
0.9% Belarusians (21.7 thousand)
0.5% Armenians (11 thousand)
7.4% Others (169.1 thousand), including:
Pontic Greeks
Crimean Karaites
Ashkenazi Jews
Crimea Germans (2014)[3][4][5]
Map of the Crimean Peninsula

Crimea (ə/; Russian: Крым; Ukrainian: Крим, Krym; Crimean Tatar: Къырым, translit. Kirim/Qırım; Ancient Greek: Κιμμερία/Ταυρική, translit. Kimmería/Taurikḗ) is a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe that is almost completely surrounded by both the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. It is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson, to which it is connected by the Isthmus of Perekop, and west of the Russian region of Kuban, from which it is separated by the Strait of Kerch though linked by the Crimean Bridge. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov. Across the Black Sea to its west is Romania and to its south Turkey.

Crimea (or Tauric Peninsula, as it was called from antiquity until the early modern period) has historically been at the boundary between the classical world and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Its southern fringe was colonised by the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Crimean Goths, the Genoese and the Ottoman Empire, while at the same time its interior was occupied by a changing cast of invading steppe nomads and empires, such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Kipchaks, Mongols and the Golden Horde. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate during the 15th to 18th century.

In 1783, Crimea became a part of the Russian Empire as the result of the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became an autonomous republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR. During World War II, Crimea was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast after its entire indigenous population, the Crimean Tatars, were deported to Central Asia, an act recognized as a genocide. In 1954, it was transferred to the Ukrainian SSR from the Russian SFSR.[6]

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine was formed as an independent state in 1991 and most of the peninsula was reorganized as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, while the city of Sevastopol retained its special status within Ukraine. The 1997 Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet partitioned the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet and allowed Russia to continue basing its fleet in Crimea: both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russian's Black Sea Fleet were to be headquartered in Sevastopol. Ukraine extended Russia's lease of the naval facilities under the 2010 Kharkiv Pact in exchange for further discounted natural gas.

In March 2014, following the Ukrainian revolution and subsequent takeover of the territory by pro-Russian separatists and Russian Armed Forces,[7] a Crimea-only referendum, deemed unconstitutional by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court,[8][9][10] was held on whether to leave Ukraine and join Russia; the official result was that a large majority of Crimeans wished to join with Russia.[11] Russia then incorporated the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol as federal subjects of Russia.[12] While Russia and some other UN member states recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, Ukraine continues to claim Crimea as an integral part of its territory, supported by most foreign governments and non-binding[13] United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262.[14]


The classical name Tauris or Taurica is from the Greek Ταυρική (Taurikḗ), after the peninsula's Scytho-Cimmerian inhabitants, the Tauri.

An alternative name is Κιμμερία (Kimmería). Strabo (Geography vii 4.3, xi. 2.5), Polybius, (Histories 4.39.4), and Ptolemy (Geographia. II, v 9.5) refer variously to the Strait of Kerch as the Κιμμερικὸς Βόσπορος (Kimmerikos Bosporos, romanized spelling, Bosporus Cimmerius), its easternmost part as the Κιμμέριον Ἄκρον (Kimmerion Akron, Roman name: Promontorium Cimmerium[15], as well as to the city of Cimmerium and whence the name of the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Κιμμερικοῦ Βοσπόρου).

The earliest recorded use of the toponym “Crimea” for the penninsula[16] occurred between 1315-1329 AD by the Arab writer Abū al-Fidā where he recounts a political fight in 1300-1301 AD resulting in a rival's decapitation and having “sent his head to the Crimea”.[17]

The name "Crimea" follows the Italian form from the Crimean Tatar name (Crimean Tatar: Къырым, translit. Kirim/Qırım) for the city which is now called Stary Krym[18] which served as a capital of the Crimean province of the Golden Horde. The name of the capital was extended to the entire peninsula at some point during Ottoman suzerainty.[19] The origin of the word Qırım is uncertain. Suggestions argued in various sources include:

  1. a corruption of Cimmerium (Greek, Kimmerikon, Κιμμερικόν).[20][21][22]
  2. a derivation from the Turkic term qirum ("fosse, trench"), from qori- ("to fence, protect").[23][24][25]

Other suggestions either unsupported or contradicted by sources, apparently based on similarity in sound, include:

  1. a derivation from the Greek Cremnoi (Κρημνοί, in post-classical Koiné Greek pronunciation, Crimni, i.e., "the Cliffs", a port on Lake Maeotis (Sea of Azov) cited by Herodotus in The Histories 4.20.1 and 4.110.2).[26] However, Herodotus identifies the port not in Crimea, but as being on the west coast of the Sea of Azov. No evidence has been identified that this name was ever in use for the peninsula.
  2. The Turkic term (e.g. in Turkish: Kırım) is related to the Mongolian appellation kerm "wall", but sources indicate that the Mongolian appellation of the Crimean peninsula of Qaram is phonetically incompatible with kerm/kerem and therefore deriving from another original term.[27][28][29]

In English usage since the early modern period the Crimean Khanate is referred to as Crim Tartary.[30] The Italian[31] form Crimea (and "Crimean peninsula") also becomes current during the 18th century,[32] gradually replacing the classical name of Tauric Peninsula in the course of the 19th century. The omission of the definite article in English ("Crimea" rather than "the Crimea") became common during the later 20th century.[citation needed]

The classical name was used in 1802 in the name of the Russian Taurida Governorate.[33] While it was replaced with Krym (Ukrainian: Крим; Russian: Крым) in the Soviet Union and has had no official status since 1921, it is still used by some institutions in Crimea, such as the Taurida National University, the Tavriya Simferopol football club, or the Tavrida federal highway.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Krim
Alemannisch: Krim
አማርኛ: ክሪሜያ
Ænglisc: Taurica
العربية: القرم
asturianu: Crimea
azərbaycanca: Krım
Bân-lâm-gú: Krym
башҡортса: Ҡырым
беларуская: Крым
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Крым
български: Крим
Boarisch: Krim
bosanski: Krim
brezhoneg: Krimea
català: Crimea
čeština: Krym
dansk: Krim
Deutsch: Krim
dolnoserbski: Krim
Ελληνικά: Κριμαία
español: Crimea
Esperanto: Krimeo
estremeñu: Crimea
føroyskt: Krim hálvoyggin
français: Crimée
Frysk: Krim
Gaeilge: An Chrimé
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌺𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌼
한국어: 크림반도
հայերեն: Ղրիմ
हिन्दी: क्रीमिया
hornjoserbsce: Krim
hrvatski: Krim
Ido: Krimea
Bahasa Indonesia: Krimea
Interlingue: Crimea
Ирон: Хъырым
íslenska: Krímskagi
italiano: Crimea
Basa Jawa: Krim
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಕ್ರಿಮಿಯ
къарачай-малкъар: Кърым
ქართული: ყირიმი
қазақша: Қырым
Kiswahili: Krim
kurdî: Qirim
лакку: Къирим
Latina: Crimaea
latviešu: Krima
Lëtzebuergesch: Krim
Ligure: Crimea
magyar: Krím
македонски: Крим (полуостров)
მარგალური: ყირიმი
مازِرونی: کریمه
Bahasa Melayu: Krimea
Nederlands: Krim
Napulitano: Crimea
нохчийн: ГӀирма
norsk: Krim
norsk nynorsk: Krimhalvøya
occitan: Crimèa
олык марий: Крым
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Qrim
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕ੍ਰੀਮੀਆ
Pälzisch: Krim
پنجابی: کریمیا
پښتو: کریمیا
Plattdüütsch: Krim
português: Crimeia
qırımtatarca: Qırım
română: Crimeea
Romani: Krimeya
русский: Крым
саха тыла: Кырыым
sardu: Crimea
Scots: Crimea
shqip: Krimea
sicilianu: Crimea
Simple English: Crimea
slovenčina: Krym (polostrov)
کوردی: کریمیا
српски / srpski: Крим
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Krim
suomi: Krim
svenska: Krim
татарча/tatarça: Кырым
Türkçe: Kırım
удмурт: Крым
українська: Крим
vèneto: Crimia
Tiếng Việt: Bán đảo Krym
walon: Crimêye
Winaray: Crimea
ייִדיש: קרים
粵語: 克里米亞
Zazaki: Qırım
Zeêuws: Krim
中文: 克里米亚