06 June 2023

The 20th century had no shortage of terrible events that cast a shadow over people today. The deaths of over a million Armenians is one such tragedy. Few tragedies have faced such bitter political discussion after the fact as the Armenian Incident. , others deny it ever happened, insist it was an accident, or that it was a justified response to a political threat.

In this video, we look at the unspeakable things that happened in the Armenian Incident and how its complicated legacy is still hotly debated today. If you appreciate these videos, leave a like to show your support and subscribe to A Day In History for more content like this.

Setting the Stage

Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains on the border between Europe and Asia, Armenia’s long history has seen it caught between countless empires. By the late 19th century, Western Armenia was firmly under the control of the Ottoman Empire while a smaller Eastern portion was controlled by the Russians. The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire faced many obstacles. As a Christian minority in a Muslim-majority Empire, they were subject to legal discrimination and higher taxes. Over time, racial ideologies that privileged ethnic Turks opened new opportunities for anti-Armenian discrimination.

Another significant obstacle was their role as a middleman minority. A middleman minority is an ethnic group that is overrepresented in occupations like bankers, merchants, and bureaucrats relative to their small overall population. Other middleman minorities around the world included the Chinese in Southeast Asia, the Gujaratis in India, and most famously the Jews in Europe and the United States. Although only a small percentage of Armenians worked in these lucrative jobs, all Armenians were subject to discrimination that described them as parasites, thieves, and leeches who were stealing the wealth of the rest of the population.

This caused outbreaks of violence and persecution throughout the late 19th century. The Ottoman government regularly seized Armenian land to redistribute to Muslim and Kurdish settlers and the Kurdish Hamidian regiments were given free reign to raid Armenian villages as part of their resettlement. Despite attempts to muster international support, the Armenians were left to defend themselves and formed a number of impromptu militia groups to defend their towns, but the Ottoman authorities interpreted this as a sign of rebellion and cracked down hard in the 1890s.

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Sources: https://shrib.com/#Samson2lDbvEp

Music: Motionarray.com & Epidemic Music

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