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.
city where a region's government is located.
large settlement with a high population density.
to fall apart completely.
ruler of an empire.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
allowed by law.
political unit made of people who share a common territory.
(1299-1923) empire based in Turkey and stretching throughout southern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.
to identify or acknowledge.
to direct attention to something.
system of government where power rests in citizens who vote and representatives who stand for those citizens. The United States is a republic.
to be on both sides of an issue, area, or object.
narrow passage of water that connects two larger bodies of water.
important part of a place or plan.
buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.
developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs.