The Last King of Khiva

At the beginning of October 1920, the King of Khiva arrived in the Andronovsky jail and appealed to the British prisoners for help.

Sayid Abdullah Khan was the last ruler who could claim to be a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. He was deposed after the Red Army invasion and transported to Moscow with the tattered remains of his entourage. They were half dead from cold and exhastion, but still looked magnificent in their long flowing robes and black sheepskin busbies.

Leonard Vining gave them food and helped them settle into prison life, but he could not secure the King’s release and he died later as a Soviet prisoner.

Khiva, which lies south of the Aral Sea on the Oxus river (Amu Darya), between Iran and Russia is now part of Uzbekistan. It became famous in Britain for the daring expedition by Lieutenant Richmond Shakespear, who was knighted by Queen Victoria for persuading the King of Khiva to abolish the capture and selling of Russian slaves. A high point in The Great Game.

The Andronovsky Prison

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