A Darwin® Book

About this Book

I came to this study of Muslim mortality and migration from research on the population of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. My interest at the time lay simply in ascertaining how many Muslims had lived in Anatolia and how their population had changed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The results of the study amazed me, for nothing in my previous reading on Ottoman history had prepared me for the great mortality of the period. The statistics said that one-fourth of the Muslim population had been lost. I could not believe that such loss had been glossed over in the histories, but checking and rechecking the data left the same conclusion. Not only during World War I, but all through the nineteenth century, the Muslim peoples of Anatolia, the Crimea, the Balkans, and the Caucasus had suffered overwhelming mortality. Their losses were worthy of future research.

     This volume is the result of that research--a history of the mortality and forced migration of the Muslim peoples. It puts forward Muslim losses in detail, but it would be a mistake to treat Muslim losses as if they occurred in a vacuum. Past avoidance of any mention of Muslim losses in most histories does not excuse any corresponding pretense that Christians did not suffer as well. Many of the horrors and sufferings catalogued here took place in wars in which all sides suffered. The losses of Muslims were often accompanied by those of Christians. Whenever possible I have mentioned the fate of Christians who were in conflict with Muslims. This is not, however, a general history of the Ottoman peoples, nor even a history of all wartime mortality in one region. It is a history of Muslim suffering, not because Muslims alone suffered, but because a corrective is needed to the traditional one-sided view of the history of the Turks and the Muslims of these regions. I believe it is also a history that can legitimately stand alone. It is the story of massive mortality and one of history's great migrations.