Armenian Communities of Asia Minor

Series: UCLA Armenian History & Culture Series 13
Availability: In stock
Published: 2014
Page #: x + 320
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: ISBN 10: 1-56859-160-8; ISBN 13: 978-1568591605


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Quick Overview

The Armenian communities of western Asia Minor were far removed from the historic Armenian territories on the great highland plateau far to the east and the fertile Cilician plain bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the south. These communities were relatively new, dating to the later centuries of the Byzantine Empire and the early centuries of the Ottoman Empire. Armenian movement into this area near the Sea of Marmara and Constantinople was prompted primarily by the turbulence in the traditional Armenian homelands by the Turkic and Mongol invasions in the eleventh through thirteenth centuries, the fall of the Armenian Cilician kingdom to the Mamluks in the fourteenth century, and the ruin and devastation caused by the Ottoman-Persian wars in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In time, scores of Armenian villages and small towns sprang up in a broad arc of about 100 miles around Constantinople.

Armenians lived on both shores of the Sea of Marmara in places such as Rodosto (Tekirdagh) and Malgara in European Rumelia and in Gallipoli, Chanakkale, and the Dardanelles on the Asiatic coast. Izmid, Bardizag, and Banderma had direct outlets to the sea, whereas other centers such as Adabazar, Armash, Bursa, and Balikesir were only a short distance away. This favorable geographic position fostered a thriving economy. Armenians were engaged in all kinds of pursuits, from agriculture and handicrafts to textiles and silk production. In fact, sericulture was the most important source of income and employment in several Armenian communities, the raw silk and cloth being exported primarily to the Ottoman capital and to the commercial centers of Europe.

The proximity of the Armenian communities in western Asia Minor to the capital city and the seaways to Europe also proved beneficial to the process of cultural and spiritual enlightenment. By the end of the nineteenth century, even small villages managed to maintain a school and a church, and most boasted separate boys’ and girls’ or coeducational schools. Unlike interior Armenian communities in places such as Yozghat, Kutahia, and some cities in Cilicia, most Armenians in western Asia Minor maintained the dialectical forms of their native language. Armenian newspapers and journals appeared in several of the larger communities, and the prospects were bright for further development, but all this was cut short by the outbreak of World War I.

Although the Armenian inhabitants of western Asia Minor constituted a very small percentage of the region’s total population, they were not spared from the death marches during the spring and summer of 1915. Even those in very small villages were driven southward toward Konia and the Syrian desert. This volume is intended to provide glimpses into the life of these communities and the real people who lived in them.


Richard G. Hovannisian

Richard G. Hovannisian is Professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History and First Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a Chancellor’s Fellow at Chapman University, and an Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Southern California for work with the Shoah Foundation. A native of California, he received his B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. in history from UCLA. A member of the UCLA faculty since the 1960s, he organized both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Armenian history and served as the Associate Director of UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies from 1978 to 1995. Professor Hovannisian is a Guggenheim Fellow and has received many honors for his scholarship, civic activities, and advancement of Armenian studies. He is a founder and six-time president of the Society for Armenian Studies and has published thirty books and numerous scholarly articles, including 5 volumes on the Armenian Genocide and 13 volumes by Mazda Publishers on historic Armenian cities and provinces in the Ottoman Empire.

1. Introduction: Armenian Asia Minor
Richard G. Hovannisian

2. The Armenian Communities of Asia Minor: A Pictorial Essay
Richard G. Hovannisian and Armen Manuk-Khaloyan

3. The Armenian Community of the Konia Region during the Seljuk Period
Peter Cowe

4. The Role of Armenian Potters of Kutahia in the Ottoman Ceramic Industry
Dickran Kouymjian

5. Armenian Bardizag
Ara Melkonian

6. Elizabeth Laura Farnham and Schools for Armenian Girls in Adabazar and
Barbara Merguerian

7. Komitas Vardapet and the Armenian Musical Culture of Kutahia
Arpi Vardumyan

8. The Armenian Theater of Asia Minor, 1860 to 1912
Hasmik Khalapyan

9. Armenian Communities in Western Asia Minor,
with the Post Card Collection of O.C. Calumeno
Osman Köker with Richard G. Hovannisian

10. The End of the Armenian Communities of Asia Minor
Simon Payaslian

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