The Khanate of Kokand (sometimes spelled Khoqand) was a Central Asian state in Fergana Valley that existed from 1709–1876 within the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan, eastern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and southeastern Kazakhstan.
Kokand is located in eastern Uzbekistan, at the southwestern edge of the Fergana Valley. It is the main transportation junction in the Fergana Valley and has a population of about 200,000 . The city lies 228 km (142 mi) southeast of Tashkent, 115 km (71 mi) west of Andijan, and 180 km (112 mi) west of Osh, Kyrygystan. and 210 km southwst of Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan.
Kokand is at the crossroads of the two main ancient trade routes into the Fergana Valley, one leading northwest over the mountains to Tashkent, and the other west through Khujand. and the Khujand Gates out of the Fergana Valley.
It is nicknamed “City of Winds”, or sometimes “Town of the Boar”, derived from the tribal family group of “Kokan” who belong to the Kongrat tribe of Uzbeks.
The Khanate of Kokand was established in 1709 when the Shaybanid emir Shahrukh, of the Ming Tribe of Uzbeks, declared independence from the Khanate of Bukhara, establishing a state in the eastern part of the Fergana Valley. He built a citadel as his capital in the small town of Kokand, thus starting the Khanate of Kokand. His son, Abd al-Karim, and grandson, Narbuta Biy, enlarged the citadel, but both were forced to submit as a protectorate, and pay tribute to, the Qing Dynasty in China between 1774 and 1798.
Narbuta Biy’s son Alim was both ruthless and efficient. He hired a mercenary army of Tajik highlanders, and conquered the western half of the Fergana Valley, including Khujand and Tashkent. He was assassinated by his brother Umar in 1810. Umar’s son, Mohammed Ali (Madali Khan), ascended to the throne in 1821 at the age of 12. During his reign, the Khanate of Kokand reached its greatest territorial extent.
The Kokand Khanate also housed the Khojas of Kashgar like Jahangir Khoja. In 1841, the British officer Captain Arthur Conolly failed to persuade the various khanates to put aside their differences, in an attempt to counter the growing penetration of the Russian Empire into the area. In November 1841, he left Kokand for Bukhara in an ill-fated attempt to rescue fellow officer Colonel Charles Stoddart, and both were executed on 24 June 1842 by the order of Emir Nasrullah Khan of Bukhara.
Following this, Madali Khan, who had received Conolly in Kokand, and who had also sought an alliance with Russia, lost the trust of Nasrullah. The Emir, encouraged by the conspiratorial efforts of several influential figures in Kokand (including the commander in chief of its army), invaded the khanate in 1842.
Shortly thereafter he executed Madali Khan, his brother, and Omar Khan’s widow, the famed poet Nodira. Madali Khan’s cousin, Shir Ali, was installed as the Khan of Kokand in June 1842.
Over the next two decades, the khanate was weakened by a bitter civil war, which was further exacerbated by Bukharan and Russian incursions. Shir Ali’s son, Khudayar Khan, ruled from 1845 to 1858, and, following another interlude under Emir Nasrullah, again from 1865. In the meantime, Russia was continuing its advance: on 28 June 1865 Tashkent was taken by the Russian troops of General Chernyayev; the loss of Khujand followed in 1867.
Shortly before the fall of Tashkent, Kokand’s best known son, Yakub Beg, former lord of Tashkent, was sent by the then Khan of Kokand, Alimqul, to Kashgar, where the Hui Muslims were in revolt against the Chinese. When Alimqul was killed in 1867 following the loss of Tashkent, many Kokandian soldiers fled to join Yaqub Beg, helping him establish his dominion throughout the Tarim Basin, which lasted until 1877, when Qing reconquered the region.
In 1868, a treaty turned Kokand into a Russian vassal state. The now powerless Khudayar Khan spent his energies improving his lavish palace. Western visitors were impressed by the city of 80,000 people, which contained some 600 mosques and 15 madrasahs. Insurrections against Russian rule and Khudayar’s oppressive taxes forced him into exile in 1875.
He was succeeded by his son, Nasir ad-din Abdul Karim Khan, whose anti-Russian stance provoked the annexation of Kokand (after six months of fierce fighting) by Generals Konstantin von Kaufman and Mikhail Skobelev. In March 1876, Tsar Alexander II stated that he had been forced to “… yield to the wishes of the Kokandi people to become Russian subjects.” The Khanate of Kokand was declared abolished, and incorporated into the Fergana Province of Russian Turkestan.
Nasir ad-din Abdul Karim Khan fled the region shortly after the arrival of Russian forces, but was eventually allowed to return to Tashkent where he died in 1882.