Kars Oblast
Карсская область
Coat of arms of Kars Oblast
Administrative map of the Kars Oblast
Administrative map of the Kars Oblast
CountryRussian Empire
ViceroyaltyCaucasus
Established1878
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk3 March 1918
CapitalKars
Area
 • Total18,739.50 km2 (7,235.36 sq mi)
Population
 (1916)
 • Total364,214
 • Density19/km2 (50/sq mi)
 • Urban
12.30%
 • Rural
87.70%

The Kars Oblast (pre-reform Russian: Ка́рсская о́бласть, tr. Kársskaya óblast; Armenian: Կարսի մարզ) was an oblast ("region") of the Caucasus Viceroyalty of the Russian Empire between 1878 and 1917. Its capital was the city of Kars, presently in the Republic of Turkey. The oblast bordered the Ottoman Empire, Batum Oblast, Tiflis Governorate, Erivan Governorate, and from 1883 to 1903 the Kutais Governorate. The Kars Oblast included parts of the contemporary provinces of Kars, Ardahan and Erzurum Province of Turkey, and the Amasia District within the Shirak Province of Armenia.

History

An 1883 map including Kars Oblast and adjacent provinces of Russian and Ottoman Empires
An 1883 map including Kars Oblast and adjacent provinces of Russian and Ottoman Empires

The Kars Oblast was a province established after the region's annexation into the Russian Empire through the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and the dissolution of the latter's Kars, Childir and Erzurum eyalets.[1][2]

With the incorporation of the region into Russian Empire, a large proportion of the local Muslim population (~82,000 during 1878–1881[1]) migrated to the new borders of the Ottoman Empire. In their stead, Christian settlers, mostly consisting of Armenians, Greeks and Russians,[1] were settled throughout the province. The Armenians, who eventually came to form the largest ethnic group in the region were largely composed of immigrants from the Six Vilayets escaping persecution in the Ottoman Empire.

During the First World War, the Kars Oblast became the site of intense battles between the Russian Caucasus Army supplemented by Armenian volunteers and the Ottoman Third Army, the latter of whom was successful in briefly occupying Ardahan on 25 December 1914 before they were dislodged in early January 1915.

On 3 March 1918, in the aftermath of the October Revolution the Russian SFSR ceded the entire Kars Oblast through the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to the Ottoman Empire, who had been unreconciled with its loss of the territory since 1878. Despite the ineffectual resistance of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic which had initially rejected the aforementioned treaty, the Ottoman Third Army was successful in occupying the Kars Oblast and expelling its more than 100,000 Armenian inhabitants.[3]

The Ottoman Ninth Army under the command of Yakub Shevki Pasha, the occupying force of the district by the time of the Mudros Armistice, were permitted to winter in Kars until early 1919, after which on 7 January 1919 Major General G.T. Forestier-Walker ordered their complete withdrawal to the pre-1914 Ottoman-frontier. Intended to hinder the westward expansion of the fledgling Armenian and Georgian republics into the Kars Oblast, Yukub Shevki backed the emergence of the short-lived South-West Caucasus Republic with moral support, also furnishing it with weapons, ammunition and instructors.[4]

The South-West Caucasus Republic administered the entire Kars Oblast and neighboring formerly occupied districts for three months before provoking British intervention by order of General G.F. Milne, leading to its capitulation by Armenian and British forces on 10 April 1919.[5][6] Consequently, the Kars Oblast largely came under the Armenian civil governorship of Stepan Korganian who wasted no time in facilitating the repatriation of the region's exiled refugees.[7]

Despite the apparent defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish agitators were reported by Armenian intelligence to have been freely roaming the countryside of Kars encouraging sedition among the Muslim villages, culminating in a series of anti-Armenian uprisings in July 1919.[8]

The Kars Oblast for the third time in six years saw invading Turkish troops, this time under the command of General Kâzım Karabekir in September 1920 during the Turkish-Armenian War. The disastrous war for Armenia resulted in the permanent expulsion of the region's ethnic Armenian population, many who inexorably remained befalling massacre, resulting in the region joining the Republic of Turkey through the Treaty of Alexandropol on 3 December 1920. Turkey's annexation of Kars and the adjacent Surmalu Uyezd was confirmed in the treaties of Kars and Moscow in 1921, by virtue of the new Soviet regime in Armenia.[9]

The first ruler of the oblast held the title of nachalnik ("chief"), later the title became military governor. Nachalniks were Ivan Popko (Russian: Попко, Иван Диомидович) between 01.11.1877 and 08.06.1878, and Viktor Frankini (Russian: Франкини, Виктор Антонович), between 08.06.1878 and 27.10.1878. The first military governor was Viktor Frankini (27.10.1878—01.04.1881).

Orhan Pamuk's novel Snow, set in present-day Kars, makes many references to the numerous buildings left over from the period of Russian rule, which in Pamuk's view make the city significantly different from other Turkish cities.

Administrative divisions

The okrugs ("districts") of the Kars Oblast in 1917 were as follows:[10]

District Russian name Capital Population Area
1897 1916 sq. vst. sq. km.
Ardahan Ардаганскій округъ Ardagan (Ardahan) 65,763 89,036 4,917.90 5,596.88
Kagizman Кагызманскій округъ Kagyzman (Kağızman) 59,230 83,208 3,843.17 4,373.77
Kars Карсскій округъ Kars 134,142 191,970 5,083.81 5,785.69
Olti Ольтинскій округъ Olty (Oltu) 31,519 40,091[a] 2,621.27 2,983.17

Demographics

Population estimate

1886

Census population and average annual growth rate
YearPop.±%
187167,128—    
187269,996+4.3%
187678,650+12.4%
1880114,282+45.3%
1882162,979+42.6%
1886174,044+6.8%
1892200,868+15.4%
1893206,765+2.9%
1897290,654+40.6%
1899273,124−6.0%
1902297,125+8.8%
1903304,193+2.4%
1908310,155+2.0%
1910368,057+18.7%
1912371,903+1.0%
1913382,745+2.9%
1914391,213+2.2%
1915255,461−34.7%
1916364,214+42.6%
For 1897, see The first general census of the population of the Russian Empire in 1897.
For 1903–1916, see Caucasian Calendar publications for years 1904–1917.
Ethnic composition of the Kars Oblast in 1886[11]
Ethnic group Ardаhan Kagizman Kars Olti TOTAL
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Turkic 29,708 68.07 4,671 13.67 27,337 35.54 13,134 67.96 74,850 43.01
Turkish 20,351 46.63 2,652 7.76 7,280 9.46 11,540 59.71 41,823 24.03
Karapapakh 6,229 14.27 593 1.74 17,308 22.50 4 0.02 24,134 13.87
Turkmen 3,128 7.17 1,426 4.17 2,749 3.57 1,591 8.23 8,893 5.11
Armenian 262 0.60 12,544 36.72 22,544 29.31 1,734 8.97 37,084 21.31
Kurd 6,974 15.98 12,003 35.14 5,124 6.66 2,333 12.07 26,434 15.19
Greek 5,617 12.87 4,880 14.29 11,002 14.30 2,026 10.48 23,525 13.52
Russian 1,036 2.37 0 0.00 9,657 12.56 1 0.06 10,695 6.14
Ossetian 0 0.00 0 0.00 418 0.54 12 0.06 430 0.25
Assyrian 0 0.00 0 0.00 321 0.42 0 0.00 321 0.18
Estonian 0 0.00 0 0.00 280 0.36 0 0.00 280 0.16
Lezgin 0 0.00 41 0.12 155 0.20 0 0.00 196 0.11
Persian 9 0.02 9 0.03 60 0.08 3 0.02 81 0.05
Roma 0 0.00 0 0.00 9 0.01 69 0.36 78 0.05
Adjarian 21 0.05 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 21 0.01
Abkhazian 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 12 0.06 12 0.01
Georgian 9 0.02 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 9 0.01
Polish 0 0.00 0 0.00 7 0.01 0 0.00 7 0.00
Bulgarian 1 0.00 0 0.00 3 0.01 1 0.01 5 0.00
Circassian 5 0.01 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 5 0.00
Kabardian 1 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 1 0.00
Other 0 0.00 10 0.03 0 0.00 0 0.00 10 0.01
TOTAL 43,643 100.00 34,158 100.00 76,917 100.00 19,326 100.00 174,044 100.00

1892

Ethnographic map of the Kars Oblast, 1902 (according to the census of 1886)
Ethnographic map of the Kars Oblast, 1902 (according to the census of 1886)

In 1892, the population of Kars Oblast was estimated as 200,868. The ethnic composition was reported as follows:[1]

Ethnic composition of the Kars Oblast in 1892
Ethnic group Number %
Turk[b] 48,208 24
Armenian 43,187 21.5
Kurd 30,130 15
Karapapakh 29,126 14
Greek 27,117 13.5
Russian[c] 14,061 7
Alevi Karapapakh[d] 10,043 5
Religious composition of the Kars Oblast in 1892[1]
Faith Percentage (%)
Islam 53
Sunni 46
Shia 7
Armenian Apostolic 21
Eastern Orthodoxy 14
Alevism 5
Spiritual Christianity[e] 5
Yazidism 1.25
Other Christian churches 0.75

Russian Empire census (1897)

Kars 1897 Census
Kars 1897 Census

The Russian Empire Census of 1897 counted 290,654 residents in the Kars Oblast, including 160,571 men and 130,083 women. This number may imply that the 200,868 estimate for 1892 given by Brockhaus is too low, or that a large-scale migration from other provinces of the empire took place in between:[12]

Linguistic composition of the Kars Oblast in 1897[12]
Language Native speakers %
Armenian 73,406 25.26
Turkish 63,547 21.86
Kurdish 42,968 14.78
Greek 32,593 11.21
Karapapakh 29,879 10.28
Russian 22,327 7.68
Turkmen 8,442 2.90
Ukrainian 5,279 1.82
Polish 3,243 1.12
Tatar[f] 2,347 0.81
Jewish 1,138 0.39
Lithuanian 892 0.31
Assyrian 585 0.20
Persian 568 0.20
Georgian 526 0.18
Ossetian 520 0.18
Estonian 455 0.16
German 430 0.15
Avar-Andean 328 0.11
Belarusian 250 0.09
Bashkir 207 0.07
Dargin 120 0.04
Other 604 0.21
TOTAL 290,654 100.00

The 30,000 excess population of male over females was mainly attributed to the European language speakers. Among the 27,856 speakers of Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian, 19,910 men and 7,946 women were recorded. The Polish, and Lithuanian speakers were almost exclusively (99%) male as well; Germans and Jews, 80–90% males. This preponderance of males in the European language speakers (reported, usually to a lesser extent, in neighboring governorates as well) may indicate presence of a large numbers of soldiers or exiled persons in the region. This assumption supported by the fact that 28,875 or 9.9% of the population were military or administrative personnel.[13]

Religious composition of the Kars Oblast in 1897[14]
Faith Male Female Both
Number %
Muslim 76,521 69,331 145,852 50.18
Armenian Apostolic 37,726 33,397 71,123 24.47
Eastern Orthodox 31,115 18,180 49,295 16.96
Old Believer 6,069 6,351 12,420 4.27
Roman Catholic 4,286 87 4,373 1.50
Armenian Catholic 1,065 779 1,844 0.63
Judaism 1,114 90 1,204 0.41
Lutheran 854 323 1,177 0.40
Reformed 15 8 23 0.01
Baptist 7 1 8 0.00
Other Christian denomination 9 0 9 0.00
Other non-Christian denomination 1,790 1,536 3,326 1.14
TOTAL 160,571 130,083 290,654 100.00

Caucasian Calendar (1917)

According to the 1917 publication of the Caucasian Calendar, the Kars Oblast had 364,214 residents in 1916, including 185,895 men and 178,319 women, 308,400 of whom were the permanent population, and 55,814 were temporary residents—These statistics do not include the population of the Olti Okrug due to the absence of its data:[10]

Nationality Urban Rural TOTAL
Number % Number % Number %
Armenians 36,268 80.96 81,949 25.66 118,217 32.46
Sunni Muslims 4,055 9.05 79,249 24.81 83,304 22.87
Kurds 66 0.15 49,686 15.56 49,752 13.66
Roma 361 0.81 37,784 11.83 38,145 10.47
Shia Muslims 322 0.72 19,122 5.99 19,444 5.34
Russians[g] 1,800 4.02 17,197 5.38 18,997 5.22
Yazidis 0 0.00 17,698 5.54 17,698 4.86
Asiatic Christian 1,822 4.07 14,965 4.69 16,787 4.61
North Caucasians 0 0.00 909 0.28 909 0.28
Other Europeans 55 0.12 741 0.23 796 0.22
Georgians 19 0.04 117 0.04 136 0.04
Jews 29 0.06 0 0.00 29 0.01
TOTAL 44,797 100.00 319,417 100.00 364,214 100.00

See also

Notes

  1. ^ 1914 population.
  2. ^ Including Adjarians.
  3. ^ Mostly sectarians.
  4. ^ Reported as "Turkmen".
  5. ^ Mostly Pryguny, Molokans, and Doukhobors.
  6. ^ Later known as Azerbaijani.
  7. ^ The Caucasian Calendar did not distinguish between Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Карсская область (Kars Oblast) in Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (in Russian)
  2. ^ "КАРССКАЯ ОБЛАСТЬ — информация на портале Энциклопедия Всемирная история". w.histrf.ru. Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  3. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  4. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 201. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  5. ^ Andersen, Andrew. "Armenia in the Aftermath of Mudros: Conflicting claims and Strife with the Neighbors".((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  7. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 204. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  8. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1971–1996). The Republic of Armenia. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-520-01805-2. OCLC 238471.
  9. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2015). Great catastrophe : Armenians and Turks in the shadow of genocide. Oxford. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-19-935070-4. OCLC 897378977.
  10. ^ a b Кавказский календарь на 1917 год [Caucasian calendar for 1917] (in Russian) (72nd ed.). Tiflis: Tipografiya kantselyarii Ye.I.V. na Kavkaze, kazenny dom. 1917. pp. 198–201. Archived from the original on 4 November 2021.
  11. ^ "население северо-восточной турции". www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  12. ^ a b "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". www.demoscope.ru. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  13. ^ Bournoutian, George (2017). "The Population of the South Caucasus according to the 1897 General Census of the Russian Empire". Iran & the Caucasus. 21 (3): 332. doi:10.2307/26548902. ISSN 1609-8498.
  14. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". www.demoscope.ru. Retrieved 2022-02-22.

Further reading

Coordinates: 40°36′25″N 43°05′35″E / 40.6069°N 43.0931°E / 40.6069; 43.0931