History, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed. Armenian Pontus: The Trebizond-Black Sea Communities (California: Mazda Publishers, 2009).


Copyright 2009 Richard G. Hovannisian.


The Pontic Armenian communities of the nineteenth century were distinguished from those of previous centuries in that they were exposed to major social, economic, and political transformations. Social transformation entailed enlightenment of an emerging middle class and revival of Armenian national consciousness; economic transformation was characterized by advancement in the standard of living and growing prosperity; and political transformation entailed participation in the local administration, the adoption in Constantinople of an Armenian "National Constitution," which broadened the administration of the confessional-based Armenian millet to include the middle class, and in the latter part of the century the emergence of Armenian political parties calling for self-defense and national emancipation. By the Ottoman provincial reform act of 1864, Trebizond, as other provinces, was divided into administrative units and subunits: vilayet (province), sanjak (county), kaza (district), and nahiye (village cluster). The Trebizond vilayet was made up of 4 sanjaks, 22 kazas, and 24 nahiyes. Based on Ottoman, European, and Armenian sources, this survey focuses on the changing demographics of these communities and the impact of those changes viewed in a broader context. Such an analysis raises questions about the role and position of the Armenians as historical agents in the economic,