Caria - Dissolution Under The Byzantine Empire and Passage To Turkish Rule

Dissolution Under The Byzantine Empire and Passage To Turkish Rule

In the 7th century provinces were abolished and the new theme system was introduced. The region corresponding to ancient Caria was captured by the Turks under Menteşe dynasty in early 13th century.

There are only indirect clues regarding the population structure under the Menteşe and the parts played in it by Turkish migration from inland regions and by local conversions, but the first Ottoman Empire census records indicate, in a situation not atypical for the region as a whole, a large Muslim (practically exclusively Turkish) majority reaching as high as 99% and a non-Muslim minority (practically exclusively Greek supplemented with a small Jewish community in Milas) as low as one per cent. One of the first acts of the Ottomans after their takeover was to transfer the administrative center of the region from its millenary seat in Milas to the then much smaller Muğla, which was nevertheless better suited for controlling the southern fringes of the province. Still named Menteşe until the early decades of the 20th century, the kazas corresponding to ancient Caria are recorded by sources such as G. Sotiriadis (1918) and S. Anagiostopoulou (1997) as having a Greek population averaging at around ten per cent of the total, ranging somewhere between twelve to eighteen thousand, many of them reportedly recent immigrants from the islands. Most chose to leave in 1919, before the population exchange.

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