The Google Map shows only Chechen villages and not other centres of Chechen population in Turkey. For instance, there are many Chechens in cities such as Istanbul, Kayseri and Sivas – these are not marked on the map.
The Chechens in the big cities have mostly arrived as a consequence of the recent conflicts of 1994-1996 and 1999-2009, in which the Russian state has tried repeatedly and violently to crush Chechen nationalism. Chechens have been displaced across Europe as well as Russia and Turkey and a significant percentage of the total Chechen population now lives in diaspora.
However, a proportion of the city-dwellers in Turkey are migrants from the villages which are the main subject of the map.
The Chechen villages in Turkey date from the C19th (many from the 1860s) and were settled by refugees – generally known as muhajir or muhacir – from the Russian conquest of the north Caucasus (the Caucasian War). The villages are mostly small (with typical populations of 100 to 300 persons), traditional and agricultural, with only basic facilities. This is the background to the rural-to-urban drift, as the younger generation is pulled out of the native communities by economic want and lack of opportunity. The villagers are Chechen-speaking as well as being Turkophone (schooling in Turkey being in Turkish) and, of course, are Sunni Muslim.
This Google Map shows present and former Circassian settlements in the State of Israel (green pins), the contested Golan Heights (the 14 red pins), Syria (blue pins) and Jordan (yellow pins).
The Circassian villages in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were abandoned and destroyed during or after the Six Day War of June 1967. They are shown by the eight red pins with a white x. Those Circassian villages in Golan outside the Israeli zone, within the Quneitra Governorate of Syria, appear still to be intact. The two main Circassian settlements in the Syrian Golan are Beer Ajam and Bariqa, but many from these villages, and the Golan generally, were internally displaced and moved to Aleppo and Rukn al-Din in Damascus (not marked on the map).
The Circassians have lived in this region of the Middle-East since the Circassian Genocide of 1864, when a majority of the nation fled the Russian forces and escaped by boat across the Black Sea to ports from Varna in the west to Trabzon in the east. Those who survived the voyage and its immediate aftermath as refugees on the Black Sea coast, where they suffered from exposure, hunger and disease, eventually resettled in a number of areas within the Ottoman Empire. One of these is the line of settlement that can be seen on the map, extending from Manbij in Syria in the north to Kfar Kama in Israel and the cluster of communities in Jordan to the south.
In the case of the two Circassian villages in Israel, a number of features are marked on the map – mosques, cemeteries, cultural centres etc.
There are, or were, also Circassians in Raqqa and the Circassian mosque in their Al-Sharaqsa neighbourhood was used by Islamic State for sermons and decrees. The mosque has been largely destroyed in the recent conflict but the minaret, although damaged, still stands (as at December 2017).
The Google Map shows the Armenian communities and places of worship in Lebanon. All churches marked are Armenian Apostolic unless stated otherwise.
The Lebanese Armenian community is heavily concentrated in Beirut, and particularly in and around its eastern suburb of Bourj Hammoud. Many of the local Armenians are descendants of 1915 Genocide survivors and refugees. The total Armenian population in Lebanon was estimated to be 156,000 in 2014.
This map was previously published by bluebirdresearch.com
From mid-June to mid-July 1918, the British Army was actively recruiting in Jerusalem for “short service” (duration of war). Men were invited to enlist in the 40th Bn of the Royal Fusiliers. The new recruits were given army service numbers between J/4883 and J/5274 (and possibly a little either side of this regimental number range), suggesting that about 400 men enlisted in total. The great majority of these, and those recruited elsewhere by the 38th-40th Battalions of the RF, were of course Jewish, giving rise to the jocular Army nickname of the Royal Jusiliers.
Among the newly enlisted men were numbers who stated that they had been born in “Teman” – in other words Yemenite Jews. British rule in Palestine had encouraged a first wave of Yemeni Jews to emigrate from Yemen in the 1890s and 1900s; mostly they settled in Jerusalem and Jaffa. The RF recruits of 1918 had an average age of 27 years and were working men – a labourer, builders, a mason, a butcher, two janitors at the Tachkemoni School, a cigarette maker, a couple of manuscript writers, and many silversmiths and filigree workers. The silversmiths were from the Bukharim quarter, from Sukkat Shalom, from Mishkanoth, from Nahalat Tzedek and especially from Nahalat Zvi. For example, on 24 June 1918, the silversmiths Abraham Levy, Abraham Gershi and Elijah Rachabi enlisted; on 27 June, silversmiths Joseph Arussi and Chaiyim Levy attested. All five came from the Nachlath Zwi neighbourhood (as it is usually spelt in army service records).
We have started a rudimentary Google Map of Jewish communities in Yemen. The German ethnographer Carl Rathjens, who visited Yemen between 1927 and 1938, had it on good authority – viz: the hakham bashi, or chief rabbi, in Yemen, who was responsible for community tax returns in the Kingdom of Yemen – that in the early 1930s there were no fewer than 371 Jewish communities. In the 1950s, Shelomo Dov Goitein compiled a list of 1,050 Yemenite communities (which makes the number identified and marked on our map seem paltry). There are very few Jews left in Yemen – some in the capital Sanaa, and some in the northern town of Raydah and its satellite village of Bayt Harash (shown on the map). The rest have left, and their descendants populate and enrich the diversity of Israel and a few places in the diaspora.
The map is updated periodically as and when new information is gathered. 84 Jewish communities in Yemen are currently shown. Most recent update: 24 Jan 2018.
Les Juifs du Yémen | יהודי תימן | יהדות תימן
This Google Map shows the Armenian communities and places of worship in Syria prior to the Syrian conflict.
Armenians were especially concentrated in Aleppo (Haleb). Each of the city’s nine Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic churches is shown on the map. There were also significant communities in Damascus, in a cluster of villages in the Kesab (Kasab) area adjacent to the Turkish border, and in a number of desert towns in the NE at which Armenians arrived during and after the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
There was a post-Genocide Armenian refugee camp on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, which operated from 1922, had its own churches (Surp Khach, or Holy Cross, and Surp Krikor Lusavorich) and gradually developed into a normal residential suburb.
Aleppo was also the location of an Armenian Orphanage. The United Nations Office at Geneva in Switzerland has a vast archive and library, including holdings generated and collected by its predecessor the League of Nations. Among these are 15 registers under references C1601/497, C1602/498 and C1603/499 which pertain to the children admitted to the Armenian Orphanage in Aleppo during the period 1922 to 1930. Each volume contains short biographies and black and white photographs of up to 100 orphans and others admitted to the Orphanage. The registers do not form a complete unbroken series covering all inmates – four original volumes, known to have existed because of the sequential numbering of individuals admitted to the orphanage, have been lost or destroyed at some date. However, this still leaves illustrated biographical sketches of approximately 1,500 Armenians, victims but survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
Each orphan had been deported from the Armenian-inhabited regions of the Ottoman Empire, and presumably most if not all had lost both parents and all other close family members. Many had escaped or been released from captivity in the homes of Turks, Kurds or Arabs, many had been forced to convert, and many of the girls had been treated as domestic servants or unwilling concubines.
Today the descendants of the original refugees in Aleppo are likely to have been displaced by the fighting in Syria and to have fled from a city in ruins to, ironically, the relative safety of neighbouring Turkey.
Versions of this blog and map were originally published by bluebirdresearch.com in 2012.
This Google Map shows the location of modern (twentieth century) Armenian communities in Iraq.
Many of the smaller communities in the northern region of Kurdistan were formed by refugees after the 1915 Genocide (many from the Van district), or have been augmented in recent years by the arrival of internally displaced persons from Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.
This map was created in 2011, since when the situation in Iraq – even in Kurdistan – has deteriorated for Armenians and other minority ethnic and faith groups. There has been an inevitable reduction in numbers, primarily by emigration of refugees to Armenia, Lebanon and the West. Although the Armenian Embassy in Baghdad estimate is 13,000, the current Armenian population of Iraq may now be as low as, or lower than, 10,000.
This Google Map shows the traditional areas of Yezidi population in Kurdistan.
Blue pins show villages in the districts of Badinan or Sheikhan and Dohuk. Red pins show villages in the Sinjar district.
Note that some of the settlements shown are the collective villages or mujamma’at into which Yezidis were forced under the Baathist regime. The others are the villages that survived the Iraqi state-sponsored destruction of Yezidi communities in 1957, 1969, 1975 and 1987/1988 during the Anfal and its precursors.
Place names are approximate transliterations; known variant spellings can be seen by clicking on a pin. This will sometimes also show a brief note on the community. For instance, if one clicks on the pin for Behzani, it will be seen that its name can also be transliterated as Bahzan, Behzan and Behzane, and that this Arabic-speaking village is, with its neighbouring village of Bashiqe, the traditional source of the Yezidi religious singers or qewels.
This map was first published by bluebirdresearch in 2010/11. Since then the genocidal actions of the Islamic supremacists of ISIS have led to the destruction of Yezidis and their villages especially in Sinjar, with associated displacement to refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region and further afield.
The Google Map shows some of the Syriac (Suroye or Assyrian) communities in the Tur Abdin region of Kurdistan in SE Turkey, together with a few of their surviving Syrian Orthodox monasteries. In addition, some settlements slightly further afield are also shown, north towards Batman and east towards Cizre.
The map uses the Syriac (rather than modern Turkish) place names. The Turkish toponym can be seen by zooming in on the map. As part of an aggressive Turkification programme, from the 1920s nearly all non-Turkic place names in Turkey were eradicated; this was systemised and codified in article 1 of the 1936 Law for Provincial Rule (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi Zabıt Ceridesi, v12, pV, s1). 91% of place names in Mardin province, which covers Tur Abdin, have been Turkified.
Place names on the map are given in simplified transliteration from the Turoyo (modern Aramaic) used by the Syriacs, without the use of diacritics. As a place name can be transliterated in different ways, some variants are also shown (click on a pin to see). Places are ordered using the Latin alphabet.
Included are some places of historic occupation with no extant Syriac population (due to genocide, persecution and emigration).
It is estimated that there were 200,000 Syriacs in this region prior to the 1915 massacre and deportation of Christians in Anatolia. The Syriac population of Tur Abdin is now as little as 1,765 (2015 figure; according to a register of the community kept by the Mor Hobil & Mor Abrohom monastery).
This simple Google Map shows the location of the Armenian communities and places of worship in Jordan, including the modern Baptism Site church on the River Jordan at Al Maghtas.
The Armenian population in Jordan is today highly concentrated on the Al-Ashrafieh district of the capital, Amman.
There has been an Armenian community in what is today Iran and what was formerly Persia for many centuries, and some extremely ancient Armenian Apostolic churches are to be found in the north of the country – for example, the so-called “black church” of Surp Tade Vank south of the town of Maku and the Surp Stepanos Maghartavank monastery in a gorge near Julfa which form part of a UNESCO-recognised world heritage ensemble of exceptional interest.
Armenians of the Ottoman Empire sought refuge in Persia at the time of the 1915 Genocide, while other immigrants arrived after the Russian Revolution, and the Armenian population of Iran may have risen to a million or more at its peak. Today, however, the community is dwindling due to emigration, although not due to political or religious factors, as one might assume. While there is some inevitable discrimination given that modern Iran is by definition an Islamic state, a majority of those local Armenians leaving Iran are doing so for economic reasons and emigrating particularly to USA (rather than to the Republic of Armenia or Western Europe). Some of the traditionally strong Armenian communities, such as those in the New Julfa (or Nor Jugha) quarter on the south side of Isfahan and in the city of Tabriz and the vicinity of Urmia, have seen significant drops in population. Although the actual figures seem to be unknown and the process of emigration is continuing, it is thought that the total Armenian population of Iran may have fallen to as low as 75,000 in the years since the 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the liberal, westward-leaning Shah.
The Armenians in Persia also had strong links with India and especially with the British in India, operating alongside (and often on behalf of) the Honourable East India Company along the overland trade routes to the subcontinent. This is why there are Armenian churches in various cities in India, even though the actual Armenian community is now greatly reduced in number. Armenian cemeteries are also important for those British family historians with East India Company connections, as the burials of the British usually took place in Armenian cemeteries where there was not a Church of England or other Protestant church. In Iran this practice remained prevalent until the end of the 19th century. A very good example of this is at the port of Bushire (Bushehr) in Iran.
The Google Map shows the Armenian communities and places of worship (not all extant today) in Persia / Iran in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these are in the far NW of the country around Lake Urmia, where Armenians have lived among Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Kurds and other peoples for centuries. Some churches have been damaged by earthquakes and war but generally the Iranian state has been sympathetic to the Armenian heritage (compared to the neglect and destruction it has suffered in Azerbaijan and Turkey). Spellings of place names on the map have not been standardised.
This blog and map were first published by bluebirdresearch in 2012.