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History of Istanbul

It is known that the first settlement was colled Lygos, but the city’s history began in 658 B.C., when Byzos came with Greeks from Megara and, in obedience to an oracle, called the city he founded Byzantium after himself. It grew, was enlarged and fortified by the Argonauts. Its main occupation was fishing.

Early Battles : Byzantium aroused jealousy with its situotion and political importance. Its inhabitants sought their own interests in the quarrels of the Greeks In which they were often involved. For a time they fought the Thracion barbarians. Joining the Roman Empire in Vespasian’s reign, they opposed Septimius Severus, who captured the city in 196 A. D. and, after his initial severity did much to beautify it.

Constantine the Great: In 330 Constantine, after defeating Licinius at Edirne and then driving him from Byzantium, was taken with the city, and made it the capital of his empire.

The New Rome: Constantine’s move to a New Rome later called Constantinople after him, led to the subsequent division of the Empire and the birth of the Byzantine civilization. He built his city on 7 hills in memory of Rome.

The East Roman Empire: Constantine transferred the wealth and nobility of Rome to Constantinople, raising its population ta 100,000. In 395, the death of Theodosius I led to the division of the Empire between his two sons, Arcadius’ taking the Eastern part. Distances to all parts of the Empire were measured from the column of

The Fourth Crusade and the Latin Empire: The Crusaders besieged the city and took it in 1204. They kept It burning for eight days as a repressive measure, destroying 1/3 of the houses, and looted gold, silver, jewelry and clothing, even rifting graves, and melting down church ornaments. Their reign lasted till 1261, when Michael Palaeologus delivered the ruined city,

Last Years of Byzantium : Byzantium never fully recovered after this. The Ottoman Sultan Bayeiit I spared it, Murat IJ’s siege was unsuccessful, and it was finally taken by Fatih Mehmet II

The Turkish Conquest: Fatih prepored his attack thoroughly, building Rumeli Hisari opposite his grandfather’s Anadolu Hisan. In March 1453 he reached the city walls, and on the 5th of April began the siege with an army of 150,000 and 15,000 Janissaries, and with the advantage of big guns, Meeting stout resistance, he performed, on the the night of 21st-22nd. April, the prodigious feat of hauling his fleet from the Bosphorus to the Golden Horn, thus outflanking the chain defending the Horn.

29th May 1453: This created despair in the city, but the resistance did not slacken. It would not give way so easily after such a glorious past, But on the 7th of May assaults were intensified and the city fell to the general assualt of the 29th of May, but this time into the hands of men who loved and respected her. The Conqueror’s Period: In Spite of severe street fighting comparatively few were killed; the soldier who, disobeying Fatih’s orders killed the Emperor Constantine Xi Dragases paid with his own Ijle. Order was soon restored. Fatih said his first prayer in Haghia Sophia. He established a regime of order, justice and religious toleration, and in a short time was able to retire to Edirne, leaving a garrison of only 1500 men. He changed iittle of the customs and structure of the city.

Consequences of the Conquest: The Conquest was a turning-point in history, Fatih’s toleration and belief in progress did much to dispel the clouds of the Mid die Ages, and the Italians, their trade routes threatened, helped to open up nsw fields of exploration. Fatih wished to unite the two Roman Empires under his rule, but Iran, urged on by the Pope, caused him too much trouble. The Conquest ended the feud between Pope and Patriarch, and Fatih’s recognition of the latter saved the Orthodox Fatih. In 1454 he made Istanbul his capital. Old quarrels were forgotten. Scholarship was encouraged; Moslem craftsmen created masterpieces and adorned the city; social welfare amenities were provided and the city developed in every way.

The Centra of the Empire: After the great Conquest the Ottomans continued to add to the Empire. Selim I defeated the Persians and conquered Egypt, and by time of Süleyman the Empire,reached Vienna and spread over 3 continents, and the fieet was mistress of the seas. Prosperity and industry brought wealth and honor, and the Istanbul of Suleyman the Magnificent, Ahm-et I and Ahmet III, was adorned with monuments of lasting value. The great architect Slnan built many mosques, palaces, public baths and fountains of rare beauty, and literature, art and music flourished. Stagnation and Decadence: Prosperity reached Its peak in the 17th century, and soon decline set in. By the beginning of the 19th century it had gone so far that pressure from Russia, Austria and other enemies led to internal and military collapse,

Efforts at Recovery : Nizam Cedit (the New Order), the military reforms of 1807, caused a revolt of the Janissaries; Selim 111 was replaced by Mustafa IV the latter was then replaced by Mahmut II, and the Janissaries again revolted. In 1821 the Greeks rebelled in the Moreo. In 1826, however, Mahmut II abolished the Janissaries, thus opening the way to vital reform. Foreign troubles continued, Mehmet AN Paşa, Governor of Egypt, revolted due to the Intrigues of Russia. England and France, and the former imposed the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi. Final agreement was reached only in 1841 with the Treaty of London. Foreign Interference still continued.

Tanzimat (The Great Reforms): Abdillmecid had begun to implement his programme of reform, when the demand for partition of Turkey and the Tsar of Russia’s demand for religious freedom and material privileges for the Patriarchate in the Empire led to the Crimean War. After this a partial recovery was followed by a new war with Russia in 1876, and the Treaty of Berlin finally prevented the loss of Turkey-in-Europe.

The First and Second Constitutions : The modernisation and complete réorganisation obviously needed to preserve the Empire were attempted in the First Constitution in 1876, but this soon broke down, and despotism continued until the officers’ revolt of 1908 and the. second Constitution which it created.

The Tripoli and Balkon Wars : These reforms were still not practicable, for the country’s weakness prevoked the Tripoli and Balkan wars. Istanbul was gravely threatened in the second Balkan War.

The First World War : The Ottoman Empire fought In this war for 4 years, distinguishing itself in the Dardanelles (Çanakkale) Arabia and the Causosus,

Occupation of Istanbul : After the war, Istanbul and much of Anatolia were occupied and Parliament dispersed; the Empire thus disintegrated, its capital under foreign rule,

The National Struggle : The army was weakened and the palace and most important provinces were in enemy hands. Mustafa Kemal Pasha, assumed leadership and raised the whole country against the occupying powers.

The War of Liberation : With a nation-wide effort, an Assembly was created in Ankara and an army raised, which, with its 2 victorious defences of İnönü and the crowning victories of the Sakarya river and Afyon, drove out the foreign occupiers.

Proclamation of the Republic : After the victory at Afyon, the Sultan Vahdettin fled. The Republic was proclaimed on the 29th of October 1923, with Ankara as capital. In 1924 the caliphate was abolished and the imperial dynusty finally banished.

Changes: With the Republic came the long-awaited reforms, which Introduced the lay state, the Latin alphabet instead of the Arabic one, educational reforms, and abolished the fez. Commerce, industry, agriculture and the hitherto negligible mercantile marine were developed, and Westernization progressed,

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