The Missionary Activities of an Ottoman-American Armenian Kevork Şişmanyan and His School in Kumkapı (1880-1924)
İstanbul Medeniyet Üniversitesi, Eğitim Bilimleri Fakültesi, Eğitim Bilimleri Bölümü, İstanbul/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Shishmanian School at Kumkapı, George Shishmanian, Kumkapı Incident, Friend’s Mission, missionary schools in Ottoman Empire, Ann Mary Burgess.
It is known that American missionaries opened many schools in the Ottoman lands during the 19th century. However, there are also independent schools with simple curriculum in different cities and towns of native Protestant Armenians who were educated in their schools. One of them is a primary school opened in 1880 by Kevork Şişmanyan in Kumkapı. Its founder and director, Şişmanyan, was an Ottoman Armenian who later became an American citizen. For this reason, the problems arising from his nationality and the reflection of these problems, which emerged as a new legal case, occupied the Ottoman authorities. Moreover, the American embassy was involved in every legal process, and naturally, every process turned into an international crisis.
This article aims to examine Kevork Şişmanyan’s identity, change of his nationality, missionary trips to Anatolian cities, his relations with the state’s official authorities and security forces, as well as to bring to light the teaching activities of his school in Kumkapı and its transfer to the British missionary organization Friend’s Mission in 1905, which has not been the subject of an independent study so far. On the other hand, in this article, the history of the aforementioned school, the problems in its legal structure and the processes experienced with the official authorities in order to solve them are also included. Thus, it has been tried to reveal in detail how the authorities of the state tried to deal with foreign institutions