Amasya – Armeniac – Homeland Of Our Ancestors

Amasya was located in Lesser Armenia on the peninsula of Asia Minor. In 281-183 BC, it has been the capital of the Greek Pontic kingdom. Subsequently, it would become part of the Roman and Byzantine empires as an administrative part of the Theme of the Armeniacs.

In 1380, Amasya was captured by the Ottoman forces. In 1853, it had 105,000 inhabitants, of which 53,400 (51%) people were Armenians, 16,000 (15%) were Greeks, and 34,000 (32%) were Muslims. Some Muslims have been Armenians and Greeks converted to Islam, as well as Turks, Arabs, Circassians, etc.

In the Ottoman period, Amasya was administratively part of the Sivas vilayet, one of the Armenian vilayets of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1894-96, the Ottoman Empire’s authorities organized massacres of Armenians carried out by regular troops and Muslim bandits who wanted to use massacres pogroms for personal enrichment. Girls and children were also abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced to join the families of the murderers.

In 1876-1912, the authorities resettled a large number of Muslims from the North Caucasus and the Balkans to Amasya.

In 1914, Armenian and Greek men were mobilized into the army where they would be killed by their own military leadership by orders from above.

The remaining women, children, and the elderly were deported in the spring of 1915 towards Baghdad. Deportation was carried out in 3 caravans. The caravans were shortly attacked by Muslims in the Tokat region (the region neighboring Amasya), in an area called Sargyshla. In Sargyshla, the Chetniks took children away from their parents and sold them to Muslims.

The remaining Amasyans continued the deportation route towards Baghdad and were soon again attacked by Muslims, this time near Malatya.

Those who survived the attack in Malatya continued their journey and 3 months later reached the locality of Suruç where they caught an epidemic.

After Suruç, out of more than 50 thousand Amasyan Armenians, only 1800 were alive. The survivors were driven by gendarmes into the desert of Deir ez-Zor. 300 more people were slaughtered in Deir ez-Zor. The remaining 1,500 people were held in a camp until the spring of 1918 when the French troops captured the city of Aleppo and freed them.

After World War I, 650 Armenians returned to Amasya. A national council was established in Amasya which was responsible for the return of the surviving Amasyans to their native lands.

The National Council operated until 1923 when the Republic of Turkey was established. After that, the Kemalist Turks who came to power forced the remaining Amasyans to leave their hometown.

Among famous natives of Amasya were1st-century Greek geographer Strabo, Saint of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches Theodore of Amasea (3rd century), Armenian scholar Amirdovlat Amasiatsi (1420-1496), and Ottoman sultan Selim I (1465-1520).




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