Let me tell you a lil summin’ bout myself. My love of history runs almost as deep as my love of garlic bread. So, as the massive nerd I am, I wrote a history paper about Istanbul (just because I can) and I’ve decided to share it with you all, so you might understand the world just a fraction better.
In true Lily style, it’s stuffed with bad jokes and music puns. You’re welcome.
(Even as the history buff that I am, I had trouble following Turkish history, so like a good 90s rap artist, let me it break down for you.)
We spent two weeks learning about the Byzantium Empire in World History, and I still had to watch Crash Course to write these couple sentences (Sorry Giesler). By 3000 BCE, Istanbul was settled, but wasn’t considered a city till Colonists arrived in the 7th century. They were led by King Byzas, and he named the city after himself. He settled it on the banks of the mighty Bosphrrous, for the military advantage, and just hung out until the Romans came, along with being a cultural center and all that. (History Channel, hire me).
The Byzantium Empire was overtaken by the Romans in 330 CE, and the Roman emperor, Constantine, renamed the capital Constantinople, after himself (I know you all want a They Might Be Giants pun, but I will not stoop that low).
In 395, the Roman emperor, Thedious I, died, and his two sons split the Roman Empire in half between them. One took the West, The Roman Empire, and the other took the East, the Byzantine Empire. In the 400s, Constantinople became the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The city became distinctly Greek, and thrived. Being the center of two continents, it became a city of culture, commerce and diplomacy.
By 1204, the city practically had a big neon sign over it saying ‘Please Come Conquer Me’, and not in a seductive way. Soon the city became a part of the Latin Empire. All good things must come to an end though, and the constant warring to conquer the city began to take its toll.. It went bankrupt, the population declined, and became vulnerable to attacks. In 1261, the city was recaptured and returned to the Byzantines. YAY for second chances!
About this time the Ottoman Empire moved in. The city was conquered on May 29, 1453, and the capital was renamed Istanbul, but that’s nobody’s business but the Turks (OOPS). Upon capture, Sultan Mehmed sought to reinvent Istanbul. He built the Great Bazaar, brought several faiths in to create a diverse populace, even today you’ll see churches built next to mosques. He built monuments, schools, hospitals, public baths, and mosques. Istanbul was a reinvented woman! The Ottomans controlled Istanbul till the allies took it in 1922, which is ridiculously long time. Sharing is caring.
From there sprang the Republic of Turkey. After the Turkish war for independence, Ankara was renamed the capital over Istanbul, but by the 50s the city was reemerging. By the 70s it was a major metropolis, and transformed into the city it is today.
And there ends our tale kiddos, but here are some cool facts about Istanbul because I can’t help myself.
- Istanbul is built on seven hills to match the Seven Hills of Rome.
- Tulips, the symbol of Holland, originated in Istanbul and were sent from Istanbul to Netherland. (As a human who grew up going to Pella each year for the Tulip Festival, this was mind blowing.)
- Istanbul has the same population, 13 million, as Belgium
- Istanbul is the only city in the world that’s on two continents: Asia and Europe.
- Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel “Murder on the Orient Express” in Istanbul.
Because I’m terrible as conclusions (both in life and in papers), I will leave you with this:
She’s got wit,
She’s got style,
Her history lessons will make you smile