Brief History of Hamshen – Hamshenis Are Pure Armenians!

In the 18th-13th centuries BC, the southeast coast of the Black Sea (the modern Black Sea coast of Turkey) has been part of the state of Hayasa.

In the 13th-8th centuries BC, 60 small principalities have appeared on the site of the disintegrated state of Hayasa. In particular, along the Black Sea coast, the principality of Chaldia has appeared. The Hayasa tribe of the Chaldoi people were the direct ancestors of the modern Hemshin people.

In the 8th-7th centuries BC, Greek colonists from Macedonia have settled in Chaldia, founding several Greek port cities (the largest of which was Trebizond) in its coastal areas.

In the 6th-2nd centuries BC, Chaldia has been part of Lesser Armenia.

In the 2nd-1st centuries BC, the whole Lesser Armenia (including Chaldia) has been part of the Greek Pontic kingdom.

In the 1st-5th centuries AD, Chaldia has been part of the Roman Empire.

In the 5th-11th centuries, Chaldia has been part of the Byzantine Empire where it has been either a separate theme (Byzantine district) or included in the large Armenian theme of Armeniakon.

In the 7th century, 12,000 Armenian soldiers led by military commander Prince Hamam Amatuni retreated from the northern regions of Karin (Erzurum) to Chaldia. There, Prince Hamam Amatuni founded a fortress that he named in his own honor Hamamshen. Later, this name would be transformed into “Hamshen” (and even later into “Hemshin”).

The Hamshen fortress’ army controlled the entire territory of the province of Chaldia, which is why the whole province would become known as Hamshen (Hemshin) over time.

From 1204 to 1461, Hamshen was part of the Empire of Trebizond. The Empire was ruled by the Komnenos dynasty, which was of mixed Greek-Armenian descent. The state language of the empire was Greek. 60% of the population of the empire were Greeks who lived mainly in the west and the city of Trebizond. 35% were Hamshenis who lived mainly in the east and in the inaccessible mountainous regions. 4% were Georgians and 1% were other nations.

Hamshen occupied the eastern areas of the Empire of Trebizond where over 90% of the population were Hamshenis (descendants of the ancient people of Chaldia and the warriors of Hamam Amatuni).

In 1461, Hamshen along the entire Black Sea coast was captured by the Ottoman Turks.

In the early 1500s, the Ottomans carried out punitive raids in the settlements of Hamshen. The purpose of these raids was to force local people into Islam. Some of the Hamshenis were killed, while others fled to the mountains in the west. Those who remained in Hamshen and survived were Islamized.

So, as a result of Turkish military aggression in the 16th century, the Hamshenis were divided into 3 groups:

Hopa Hemshinli who live in the far east of Hamshen in the province of Hopa. They are Sunni Muslims but continue to speak Armenian. Some of them are aware of themselves as Armenians, while others identify themselves as a separate, independent nation – the Hemshinli.

Bash Hemshinli (or western Hemshinli in some sources) who live in the area of the city of Rize and the surrounding villages. They are also Sunni Muslims but speak Turkish using Armenian phonetics (Armenian accent). Some of them recognize themselves as Turks and some as a separate nation.

Homshentsik who before the genocide of 1876-1915 used to live in the districts of Janik (Samsun), Trebizond, and Ordu. They are followers of the Armenian Apostolic Church, speak the Armenian language, and recognize themselves as Armenians.

In 1876-1908 – the years of Sultan rule and the Russian-Turkish wars – the Ottoman authorities carried out a series of “punitive operations” against the civilian Christian population of Hamshen. Thousands of Hamshenis were killed. Circassian muhajirs who had fled from Russian troops in the North Caucasus (the territory of the modern Krasnodar territory) were placed in the homes of the Hamshenis.

The surviving Hamshenis were forced to leave their homes in the Trebizond Vilayet and go to the Russian borders, precisely to those villages where the Circassian muhajirs had come from. That is, a kind of population exchange has occurred between the Russian and Ottoman Empires.

In 1915, the Young Turks organized the Armenian Genocide during which all Christian Hamshenis were deprived of their homeland, and 75,000 Hamshenis fled to the Russian Empire, to the territory of modern Krasnodar and Abkhazia.

In the meantime, the Islamized part of the Hamshenis has avoided the genocide.

In Krasnodar and Abkhazia, up to 400,000 Christian Hamshenis live today, making up 30% of the population of Greater Sochi, 35% of the population of Tuapse, 20% of the population of Novorossiysk and Anapa, 60% of the population of Sukhumi District, and over 50% of the population of the Gagra District.

In historic Hamshen, only the Islamized part of the Hamshenis lives today. Their precise numbers are unknown, but the most reliable accounts claim 400,000 to 500,000 people.

In order to distinguish Christian Hamshenis from Islamized Hamshenis, the term “Hamshen Armenians” is applied to the former and “Hemshinli” to the latter.

Hemshinlis today live in the northeastern areas of modern Turkey (northern Western Armenia), mostly in the district of the city of Trabzon and to its east – in Rize, Hopa, and right up to the Turkish-Georgian border.

Until the 1930s, there have been several Hemshinli villages to the south of Adjara (south of Batumi) near the Soviet-Turkish border. However, by the decision of Stalin, they all (together with the Meskhetian Turks) were deported to Kazakhastan and Uzbekistan.

Turkey is pursuing a state-level policy of assimilation of the Hemshinli people. To this end, in the schools in Hemshinli settlements, local children are told a distorted version of history which claims that the Hemshinli are supposedly not Armenians but Seljuk Turks who had arrived here together with Alp Arslan from Altai in the 11th century.

At the same time, the Turkish “researchers” care neither about the anthropological features of the Hemshinli who are completely different from the Altai people and have a white skin and European features, nor the language they speak (many Hemshinlis do not even suspect that they speak the same the language spoken by Armenians all over the world).

By falsifying and distorting history, Turkey aims to take full control of Anatolia (the Armenian Highlands), a territory that has been simply annexed by the Turks and historically does not belong to them.

Read also: armat.im




Related Publications



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.