What You May Not Know About The Armenian Genocide

It’s been almost a century since the genocide that began on April 24, 1915

1. Why April 24?

On April 24, 1915, roughly 300 prominent Armenians in Constantinople- now Istanbul- were jailed then killed by the Turkish army.

2. The Ottoman Empire (1350-1918) v. Armenians

The Ottoman rulers were Muslim but allowed Armenians to practice Christianity though they were subject to higher taxes and had limited rights. In 1908, a new government came to power in Turkey called the “Young Turks”. Though Armenians were initially optimistic, they soon realized the new government aimed to “turkify” the empire by exterminating all Christian Armenians.

3. Deportations and mass murders

After the murders on April 24, the second phase included disarming and killing the roughly 60,000 Armenian men in the Turkish army. The third phase included deportations to the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor and the surrounding desert. Reportedly, Turkish soldiers killed thousands during the marches and others died of famine and exposure to the elements. In the photo, an alleged Turkish official teases Armenian children with food.

4. The Death Marches

The death marches had over a million Armenians covering hundreds of miles under the pretext that they were being relocated to non-military zones. The caravans held little food and water and many perished along the mountainous terrain. An estimated 75 percent of the Armenians on these marches died and many of the survivors were killed by soldiers.

5. The Aftermath

There were roughly 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. When the genocide ended in 1922, there were just 388,000 Armenians remaining.

6. Armenian Orphans

As a result of the violence, there were more than 150,000 Armenian orphans roaming the streets, Some were “Turkified” while others were killed or forced into slavery but most died of starvation or disease. The photo illustrates Armenian refugees in Syria.

7. Near East Relief

The American charity was created to aid the victims of the genocide. Between 1915 and 1930, they administered more than $117,000,000 of assistance for refugee camps, healthcare, shelter, clothing and food. They are also credited with helping 132,000 orphans throughout the region.

8. Turkey Has Not Formally Recognized the Genocide


Despite Turkey’s Prime Minister recently offering his condolences over the massacre, the Turkish government has yet to recognize the massacre as a genocide. US relations with Turkey have kept the US from formally recognizing it as genocide though there is a measure currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.

9. The government of Damad Ferid Pasha

Only one Turkish government, that of Damad Ferid Pasha, has ever recognized the Armenian genocide by holding war crimes trials that condemned to death the major leaders responsible.

“It is far from my thought to cast a veil over these misdeeds, which are such as to make the conscience of mankind shudder with horror forever; still less will I endeavor to minimize the degree of guilt of the actors in the great drama. The aim which I have set myself is that of showing to the world with proofs in my hand, who are the truly responsible authors of these terrible crimes.” Damad Ferid Pasha (Ottoman Grand Vizier)

10. A New Armenia

On August 10, 1920, the Allied Powers, the new leaders of Turkey and the Republic of Armenia signed the Treaty of Sevres. The treaty recognized the independent state of Armenia which comprised a smaller portion of the former homeland. The Treaty of Lausanne was signed on July 24, 1923 after Turkey fought the terms of the previous treaty.

11. There are three Armenian museums in the U.S.

The Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, MA

Rugs woven by orphans and Armenian widows are currently on display.

The Ararat Eskijian Museum in Los Angeles

There is a special exhibit that includes a dress worn by an orphan from the Adana massacre and a rug woven by Armenian children from the United Orphanage and Mission.

The Manoogian Museum in Detroit

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