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On March 28, 1930, Istanbul, Turkey, officially requested all countries stop referring to the city as Constantinople. 
 
Istanbul has been a crucial gateway between east and west, north and south, for thousands of years. The city, one of the largest in the world, straddles the Bosporous, a narrow strait separating Europe and Asia. It is one of the largest ports for trade between North Africa, Asia, and Europe.
 
Ancient Greeks recognized the strategic location, and called the settlement Lygos. Beginning in about 660 BCE and for more than 900 years, the urban area was known as Byzantium. The Emperor Constantine made the city the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 330, and it was re-named in honor of him: Constantinople. The area remained Constantinople long after the Greeks and Romans were forced out by the indigenous Ottoman Turks in about 1299. However, local Turks began calling the city some variation of “Istanbul” or “Stanbul” around this time or even earlier.
 
When the long-lasting Ottoman Empire finally collapsed in 1923, the new Republic of Turkey officially changed Constantinople’s name to Istanbul. (They also changed the new capital’s name from Angora to Ankara.) This did not stop foreign travelers, businesses, and even governments from calling the city “Constantinople." That changed in 1930, once mail addressed to Constantinople—including paychecks, shipping forms, and other legal documents—stopped being delivered to any home or business in Istanbul.
ancient
Adjective

very old.

Noun

city where a region's government is located.

city
Noun

large settlement with a high population density.

collapse
Verb

to fall apart completely.

crucial
Adjective

very important.

emperor
Noun

ruler of an empire.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

Adjective

characteristic to or of a specific place.

legal
Adjective

allowed by law.

Noun

political unit made of people who share a common territory.

Ottoman Empire
Noun

(1299-1923) empire based in Turkey and stretching throughout southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Noun

place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.

recognize
Verb

to identify or acknowledge.

refer
Verb

to direct attention to something.

republic
Noun

system of government where power rests in citizens who vote and representatives who stand for those citizens. The United States is a republic.

request
Verb

to ask.

straddle
Verb

to be on both sides of an issue, area, or object.

Noun

narrow passage of water that connects two larger bodies of water.

strategic
Adjective

important part of a place or plan.

trade
Noun

buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.

Noun

developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs.

variation
Noun

difference.

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