The Locust Disaster In Western Anatolia (1850-1915)
Keywords: Ottoman State, Western Anatolia, Disaster, Locust, Famine, Drought
Throughout its history, the Ottoman State from time to time encountered such natural disasters as earthquake, flood, fire and drought and so on. They created material and moral problems for administrators and ordinary people throughout the Ottomans lands. These disasters resulted in famine, lower production, loss of taxation and population decrease and migration. A locust disaster with similar effects occurred in the western parts of Anatolia in the second half of 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. Based on Ottoman archival sources and İzmir newspapers such as Ahenk, İttihad and Anadolu, this article examines locust disasters in Western Anatolia between the years of 1850 and 1915. it explains in which sandjak and kaza and when locust disasters took place, gives information on what kind of preventive and disaster management methods were used and the personnel who took part in all this course of action. It also shows the amount of locust destructed and the reasons for failure in preventing the disaster. In addition, it demonstrates economic effects of the disaster on people and the government. Besides, in relation to the disaster, some original archival documents such as the letter of Mayor of Kula to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and that of Mayor and six notables of Alaşehir to Aydın Governorship; the circular of the governor of Aydın permitting his people to burn the locust and the action plan of İzmir's people against the disaster are presented in the article.