The Province of Trabzon as Described by English Consul Longworth (1892-1898)
Keywords: Trabzon, Longworth, Ottoman State
Beginning in 1878 and utilizing the provisions granted it by the Treaty of Berlin, England began on a regular basis to send English consuls to various locations in Anatolia. Actually these were not the first consuls to be sent to Ottoman lands, for before this date various English consuls had come to cities believed to be of commercial or military consequence. It is known that in 1868 a report about the various provinces in Anatolia was prepared by the English consul W.G.Palgrave. He added to this report his investigation and monitoring of the duties of consuls assigned to Anatolia, the applications of reforms directed towards Armenians living in Anatolia, and whether or not the Armenian populace was being protected from Kurds and Caucasians. Consul H. Z. Longworth most likely came to Trabzon sometime between February 1885 and February 1886. After settling down in that city, he began to gather information about both the officials and the events transpiring in Trabzon and its environs. At regular intervals he then communicated his findings to his mother country. These reports contained his information about his experiences in Trabzon, the events he had witnessed, and his thoughts and evaluations regarding the authorities. The information he provided about other subjects relative to Trabzon-its population, its economic structure and its security-is in agreement with other resources. From his reports we can also gather information about natural disasters and epidemics that occurred in Trabzon, like floods and outbreaks of cholera. It is impossible to evaluate the veracity of the information supplied by Longworth. While we may surmise that parts of his reports are objective and not prejudiced, it is not possible to claim that all of his reports are the same. In conclusion, the reports written by Longworth during his term as consul in Trabzon, represent an important resource in terms of illuminating from a foreign viewpoint the history of Trabzon and its environs during the years 1892-1898.