Migrations within the Ottoman Empire
From the 16th to the late 18th century, the conquests of the Ottoman Empire resulted in continuous migratory flows through its ever-expanding lands. Between 1790 and 1923, 7 million people left their homelands due to the constant conflicts between a weakening empire and European powers on one side and indigenous people struggling for freedom and self-determination on the other. The independence of Greece in 1829, Romania in 1856, Bulgaria in 1878, followed by Bosnia, Herzegovina, Crete and, in 1913, Macedonia, Thrace and most of the Aegean islands, led to the exodus of many – Muslim and Christian, Greek, Albanian, Armenian, Arab, Kurd, Circassian and Turk – seeking a safer and more prosperous future elsewhere. But not all migration in the empire was triggered by conflict, and seasonal migration was common among many mountain people and nomads in the region.
Khedive Ismail

19th century

Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt

Isma’il Pasha, himself of Albanian and Ottoman Turkish descent, ruled as viceroy of Egypt from 1867 to 1879. He did much to modernise the country, supported by hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from the Levant, Greece and Italy, as well as a rural labour force of African slaves.

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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