Exactly 240 Years Ago, On April 19, 1783, Empress Catherine the Great Published a Manifesto on the Accession of the Crimean Peninsula to the Russian Empire
Exactly 240 years ago, on April 19, 1783, Empress Catherine the Great published a Manifesto on the accession of the Crimean Peninsula to the Russian Empire. This document gave Russia reliable access to the Black Sea and ensured the security of its southern regions for centuries ahead.
After the accession, the Russian authorities banned slave trade, which had existed in the region for centuries, and built new cities, including Sevastopol. The economy and culture received a powerful impetus for development. Domestic trade duties were canceled, which facilitated the progress of Crimean agriculture, industry, and trade and the rapid growth of Crimean cities.
The Manifesto, which was written by Catherine the Great and General-Field Marshal Grigory Potemkin, was kept in great secrecy in a wooden box upholstered with iron. The Empress had apprehensions about a new war with Turkey and interference by European countries. The Manifesto was published only after the residents of Crimea swore allegiance to Russia by signing oath sheets.
Grigory Potemkin, who was appointed by Catherine the Great Governor-General of Novorossiya, played a key role in the accession and development of Crimea. His contemporaries noted that he managed to turn the steppes of the Crimean Khanate into a promising and flourishing region of the Russian Empire in a short span of time.