21 MayResearchAcademic studiesWar and genocide2007 | Rosser-Owen, First Circassian Exodus

Isla Rosser-Owen
The First ‘Circassian Exodus’ to the Ottoman Empire (1858-1867), and the Ottoman Response, Based on the Accounts of Contemporary British Observers, MA Thesis, Near and Middle Eastern Studies, SOAS, University of London, 2007.

This  is  a  preliminary  analysis  of  the  impact  of  the  first Circassian  exodus  on Ottoman society, assessing  the Ottoman  response  to  an unexpected  refugee crisis, between 1858 and  1867.  It  is  based  primarily  on  the  contemporary  accounts  of  British  observers, including consuls,  journalists, and  the correspondence of other eye-witnesses sent  to  the Foreign Office or  the British Press.

The analysis concentrates on  the  initial  landings of the Circassian refugees in Ottoman Black Sea ports and the effects that their presence had on the localities that received them, and provides details of how local authorities coped. It highlights lesser told stories of this already under-researched topic, such as the individual philanthropic and pragmatic initiatives  inspired by  the crisis. It widens  the scope of the subject to consider earlier migrations  that have not so far been accorded much attention. After a brief  account  of  the  process of migration, it focuses on  the conditions of the refugees, the towns  and the encampments that accommodated them rather than on the later resettlement period that historians often confine  themselves to. It raises questions about  the inconsistencies of existing research, and uses the primary accounts of British observers to suggest a clearer picture of events.

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