** Armenian Ottoman history Hamidian Massacres

Armenian Ottoman History: Hamidian Massacres (1894-97)

Figure 1.--This desperate young Armenian mother and her children became the symbol for the horific Ottomon killing as part of the Hamidian Massacres. They survived the killing, but her husnand was killed and she had no wau od supporting the children. She was from Geghi (Erzerum Vilayet) and trecked a long ditance hoping to obtain help from missionries in Kharpert (Harput). The photograph was wideky used in fund raising efforts for the Armenian orphans. Source: Bain News Service.

The Ottoman assault on the Armenian people began with the Hamidian Massacres, sometimes called the Great Massacres (1894-97). The massacres were ordered by Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II who initiated efforts to reinforce the territorial integrity of the Empire which had suffered major territirial losses to new Chritian states in the west and the Chrustian Tsarist Empire in the East The Sultan began to assert a new Pan-Islamism as the state ideology. [Akçam, p. 44.] Ottoman soldiers and police began killing Armenians (1894). The killing contunued at a high level (1895-96). The killing took place in mny remote areas of the Empire. Only when horific reports of the killing began reaching Western media and the Great Powers began to demand a stop to the killing did the Ottoman authorities begin to relent. There also had been reports of attacks on Christians in the Ottoman controlled Levant, but these were better reported and the Great Powers had reacted more forecefully. The Ottoman killing actions at first targetted the Armeniansbin estern Anatolia. But as the killing went on, the Ottoman authorties began killing Christians indiscriminate. One of the worst such actions was at Diyarbekir Vilayet where some 25,000 Assyrians were butchered byOttoman soldiers. [Angold and O’Mahony, p. 512.] There is no precise record of the killing. Estimates range from 80,000 to 300,000 people. There is a fairly accurate accounting made by European missionaries of the orphans created by the killing--50,000 children. ["Fifty thousand ..."] The Ottomans had a long history of severely suppresing revolts. But this was different, there was no revolt in progress. This was one of the everest repressive actions in Ottoman history until the World War I Armenian Genocide. The Ottoman soldiers killed m]n, women, and children with no mercy as to age or gender. [Cleveland, p. 119.] It is unclear to us why there was not a massive flight of Armenians out of the Empire as a result of such brutality. As bad as the Ottoman killing operations were, it was just aress rehersal for the horific Ottoman Armenian Genocide during World War I.


Akçam, Taner. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (Metropolitan Books: New York, 2006).

Angold, Michael and Anthony O’Mahony, ed. Cambridge History of Christianity, 5. Eastern Christianity (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Cleveland, William L. "A History of the Modern Middle East (2nd ed.). (Westview: Boulder, Colorado, 2000).

"Fifty Thousand Orphans made So by the Turkish Massacres of Armenians", The New York Times (December 18, 1896).


Navigate the Children in Hidtory Website:
[Return to Main Armenian Ottoman history page]
[Return to Main Armenian history page]
[Return to Main mass killing and genocide page]
[About Us]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Freedom] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Children in History Home]

Created: 7:03 AM 9/17/2015
Last updated: 7:03 AM 9/17/2015