The Hamidian massacres (Armenian: Համիդյան ջարդեր), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896 and Great Massacres, refer to the massacring of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1890s, with estimates of the dead ranging from anywhere between 80,000 to 300,000, and at least 50,000 children made orphans as a result. The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II, whose efforts to reinforce the territorial integrity of the embattled Ottoman Empire reasserted Pan-Islamism as a state ideology. Abdul Hamid believed that the woes of the Ottoman Empire stemmed from "the endless persecutions and hostilities of the Christian world." He perceived the Ottoman Armenians to be an extension of foreign hostility, a means by which Europe could "get at our most vital places and tear out our very guts." Although the massacres were aimed mainly at the Armenians, they turned into indiscriminate anti-Christian pogroms in some cases such as in the Massacres of Diyarbakir.
One of the most serious incidents occurred in Armenian-populated parts of the Armenian Highlands and Anatolia. Although the Ottomans had suppressed other revolts previously, the harshest measures were directed against the Armenian community. They observed no distinction between the nationalist dissidents and the Armenian population at large, and massacred them with brutal force. This occurred at a time when the telegraph could spread news around the world and the massacres were extensively covered in the media in Western Europe and the United States.