Allah Kuli Khan

Local beauties to fill Allah Kuli Khan's Tosh Hauli Harem
Local beauties to fill Allah Kuli Khan's Tosh Hauli Harem

Allah Kuli Khan (whose name means 'slave of God') was blissfully unaware of the plans being put into place in Russia for a massive invasion. He inherited a well-endowed treasury from his father. The Khanates' traditional sparring partners, Bukhara and the Turkoman tribes, were largely still licking their wounds after the victories of Mohammed Rakhim Khan. However, this situation was not to last long. The feeble Emir of Bukhara died and was replaced by his energetic son, who was keen to avenge the Emirate and managed to rout Allah Kuli Khan in battle. Nor was this the Khan's only concern.
Trade with Russia had declined considerably. Relations were frosty as the Russians grew ever more incensed at the growing number of their citizens captured and sold in Khiva as slaves. The uneasy Khan hastily penned a letter to the 'Ingliz' hoping fervently for help. Captain Abbott was despatched and attempted to explain to the Khan that his only hope of success was to relinquish all Russian slaves held in the Khanate. The stiff-upper-lipped Brit was on the verge of convincing the Khan when news arrived that the huge Russian army had turned back in the desert, having suffered a terrible winter.

Taken from Local beauties to fill Allah Kuli Khan's Tosh Hauli Harem  'Khiva Caught in Time'
Taken from Local beauties to fill Allah Kuli Khan's Tosh Hauli Harem 'Khiva Caught in Time'

Meanwhile, fearing Captain Abbott dead, the British station at Herat had despatched another officer. Richard Shakespear arrived in Khiva a few months later and his flamboyant and charismatic character made a much more positive impression on the Khan. The feelings were mutual, and Shakespear described the Khan as,

'A good natured, unaffected person of about forty five years of age, he has invariably treated me with much kindness, and appears very anxious to gain information regarding England and Europe generally.'

Richmond Shakespear 'A Personal Narrative of a Journey from Herat to Orenburg, on the Caspian, in 1840' 1842

Eventually he succeeded in persuading Allah Kuli to release all the Russian slaves held and trade relations with Russia were resumed.
Delivered from disaster, the Khan set about building the magnificent Allah Kuli Madrassah in gratitude to the Almighty. This was just one of many buildings he commissioned. He had ambitious plans to transform the eastern side of the city, and built the Tosh Hauli Palace, the Tim and Caravanserai, as well as redecorating the Kunya Ark and restoring the Said Allaudin Mausoleum and the Okh Mosque. Renowned for his impatience, he impaled the palace architect who had timidly suggested that the Tosh Hauli would take longer to build than Allah Kuli Khan's prescribed two years.
The Khan was keen to see Khiva's history recorded for posterity, particularly his own reign, and commissioned the historian Munis to write an account of the Khanate's past. Also a patron of the arts, the Khan keenly supported the musician Komil Khorezmi who invented a process of musical note annotation.
Midway through a siege (always a popular pastime for any Khan), Allah Kuli became sick and was taken back to the Ichan Kala where he died and was buried in the Pakhlavan Mahmoud Mausoleum.

The Last Khans
Overview | Mohammed Amin Inaq Khan | Iltazar Khan
Mohammed Rakhim Khan | Allah Kuli Khan | Rakhim Kuli Khan
Mohammed Amin Khan | Abdullah Khan | Murad Inaq Khan
Said Mohammed Khan | Feruz Khan
Isfandir Khan | Khans Descendants