IV. The Eastern European Jewish Diaspora
The Jewish Kingdom of the Khazars
These three maps [18, 18a, 18b] show the brief existence of the kingdom of Khazaria, the only independent Jewish kingdom to exist outside of the Holy Land. They also show some of the problems with historical reconstructions. They suggest that the kingdom existed in the ninth century, extending north from the Crimean Peninsula [18a]; in the following century, it was reduced to a small area just to the north and east of Crimea [18b]; disappearing completely by 1074 as shown in [18c]. However, the kingdom was not quite so short-lived. It was founded in about 700 when King Bulan converted to Judaism. It served as a major bulwark against the spread of Islam, allowing Orthodox Christianity to flourish in Russia and Eastern Europe. Eventually, repeated assaults by Christians led the kingdom to collapse in about 1100. During its four centuries of existence, the kingdom served as a haven of religious tolerance welcoming migrants from the Mediterranean world.