The Crimean Tatars are a Turkic people associated with the Crimean Peninsula who appeared at the time of the Crimean Khanate, originating primarily from Cumans that appeared in Crimea in the 10th century, with strong contributions from other peoples who inhabited Crimea. See also Tatars.
The Muslim Crimean Khanate was a vassal state to the Ottoman Empire. It was known for frequent, at some periods almost annual, devastating raids into Ukraine, Russia, and other countries. The Crimean Khanate maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East which was the most important basis of its economy. Slaves and freedmen formed approximately 75% of the Crimean population. Some researchers estimate that more than 2 million people were captured and enslaved during the time of the Crimean Khanate.
After Russia annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783, many Crimean Tatars moved or were expelled to the Ottoman Empire.
During the Communist period, many Crimean Tatars were killed, with the most known atrocities occurring during the 1944 deportation to Central Asia, but historians have argued that more died before this during the previous Communist period.
Starting in 1967, some returned to Crimea. Today, Crimean Tatars constitute approximately 12% of the population of Crimea. There remains a large diaspora of Crimean Tatars in Turkey and Uzbekistan.