The Crimean Peninsula (Russian: Кры́мский полуо́стров; Ukrainian: Кри́мський піво́стрів; Crimean Tatar: Къырым ярымадасы), also known simply as Crimea (/kraɪˈmiːə/; Russian: Крым; Ukrainian: Крим; Crimean Tatar: Къырым), is a major land mass on the northern coast of the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by two seas: the Black Sea and the smaller Sea of Azov to the northeast. The peninsula is located south of the Ukrainian region of Kherson and west of the Russian region of Kuban. It is connected to Kherson Oblast by the Isthmus of Perekop and is separated from Kuban by the Strait of Kerch. The Arabat Spit is located to the northeast, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of lagoons named Sivash from the Sea of Azov.
Crimea—or the Tauric Peninsula, as it was called from antiquity until the early modern period—has historically been at the boundary between the classical world and the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Its southern fringe was colonised by the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Crimean Goths, the Genoese and the Ottoman Empire, while at the same time its interior was occupied by a changing cast of invading steppe nomads, such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths, Alans, Bulgars, Huns, Khazars, Kipchaks, and the Golden Horde. Crimea and adjacent territories were united in the Crimean Khanate during the 15th to 18th century.
In 1783, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Crimea became a republic within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR, though later, during World War Two, it was downgraded to the Crimean Oblast. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It became the Autonomous Republic of Crimea within newly independent Ukraine in 1991, with Sevastopol having its own administration, within Ukraine but outside of the Autonomous Republic.
In March 2014, following the ousting of the Ukrainian president in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and an unauthorised referendum on the issue of "reunification with Russia" which returned a large majority in support of the proposal, the Russian Federation annexed Crimea and now administers Crimea as two federal subjects: the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol. Ukraine, backed by most of the international community, refuses to accept the annexation and continues to assert its right over the peninsula.