North–South movements
Political emigration
During the 19th century, cities such as Constantinople, Alexandria and Tunis became safe havens for many European political exiles.
Since the French Revolution in the late 18th century, and throughout the 19th century, popular uprisings and political repression caused waves of European political exiles to take refuge in Turkey and other Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The most significant wave occurred after the defeat of the 1848 revolutions that shook many European countries.

One of the countries producing the largest number of political exiles was Italy. From the 1820s, the repression of the movement for constitutional rule and national unification forced many to take refuge abroad. Some went north, including the Republican leader Mazzini who fled to London. Others went south, like General Garibaldi. After Italy’s unification in 1861, a smaller stream of exiles, composed of anarchist militants, moved to the Southern Mediterranean shores.
Abdul-Mejid I, Sultan of Turkey (1823–1861)

Mid 19th century

Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria

During the rule of Sultan ‘Abd al-Majid I (r. 1839–61), the Ottoman Empire offered refuge to several Europeans who had to flee their countries for political reasons, including prominent figures such as the leader of the 1848–49 Hungarian revolution Lajos Kossuth.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Privateering and captivity in the Mediterranean
Migrations within the Ottoman Empire
North–South movements
The life of European immigrant communities: Egypt and Tunisia