Assyrian–Chaldean–Syriac diaspora

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The Assyrian/Chaldo-Assyrian/Syriac diaspora (Galuta) refers to the estimated population of ethnic Assyrians (also sometimes known by the theological-doctrinal terms; Chaldo-Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs) in the world that migrated outside of the Middle East, or their original homeland in the case of the Assyrians (including Assyrian Chaldean Catholics).

The worldwide diaspora of Syriac Christian communities begins during World War I, with the Assyrian Genocide by the Young Turks government of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, together with allied Kurdish, Iranian and Arab tribes. The emigration of Christians out of the Middle East accelerated further beginning in the 1980s, with mainly Neo Aramaic speaking ethnic Assyrians fleeing persecution in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Ba'athist Iraq, and again in the wake of the Iraq War during the 2000s.[1]

Demographic estimates[edit]

Country or Region Most Recent Census Estimated Assyrian
Population (2008)
Total Country or Region
Population (2008)[2] **
% Assyrian Further information
Iraq - 500,000[3][4]-1,500,000[5] 30,711,152 2%-5% Assyrians in Iraq
Syria - 900,000[6]-1,200,000[7] 20,581,290 4.9% Assyrians in Syria
United States 82,355 (2000)[8] 100,000[9]-500,000[5][10] 307,006,550 0.03%-0.17% Assyrian/Chaldo-Assyrian/Syriac American
Sweden - 100,000[11]-120,000[5] 9,219,637 1.2% Assyrians/Syriacs in Sweden
Jordan - 44,000[5]-150,000[12][13] 5,906,043 0.7% Assyrians in Jordan
Germany - 70,000[14]-100,000[5] 82,110,097 0.12% Assyrians in Germany
Iran - 74,000[10]-80,000[15] 71,956,322 0.11% Assyrians in Iran
Lebanon - 37,000[16]-100,000[5] 4,193,758 0.9%-2.38% Assyrians in Lebanon
Turkey - 24,000[10]-70,000[17] 73,914,260 0.03%-0.1% Assyrians in Turkey
Russia 13,649 (2002)[18] 70,000[5] 141,950,000 0.05% Assyrians in Russia
Australia 24,505 (2006)[19] 60,000[20] 21,431,800 0.28% Assyrian/Chaldo-Assyrian/Syriac Australian
Canada 8,650 (2006)[21] 38,000[22] 33,311,400 0,11% Assyrian/Chaldo-Assyrian/Syriac Canadian
Netherlands - 20,000[5] 16,445,593 0.12% Assyrians in the Netherlands
France - 20,000[5] 62,277,432 0.03% Assyrians in France
Belgium - 15,000[5] 10,708,433 0.14%
Georgia 3,299 (2002)[23] 15,000[5] 4,385,400 0.34% Assyrians in Georgia
Armenia 2,769 (2011)[24] 15,000[5] 3,018,854 0.09% Assyrians in Armenia
Brazil - 10,000[5] 193,733,795 0.005%
Switzerland - 10,000[5] 7,647,675 0.13%
Denmark - 10,000[5] 5,493,621 0.18%
Greece - 8,000[5] 11,237,094 0.07% Assyrians in Greece
Great Britain - 8,000[5] 51,446,000 0.02% Assyrians in the United Kingdom
Austria - 7,000[5] 8,336,926 0.08%
Italy - 3,000[5] 59,832,179 0.005%
Azerbaijan - 1,400[5]
New Zealand 1,683 (2006)[25] 3,000[5] 4,268,900 0.07%
Mexico - 2,000[5] 106,350,434 0.002%
Other - 100,000[5]
Total - 3.3 million[26]-4.2 million[27]

Historic census[edit]

Former Soviet Union[edit]

History[28][edit]

Assyrians in Russia protesting Iraq Church bombings in 2006

Assyrians came to Russia and the Soviet Union in three main waves: The first wave was after the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828, that delineated a border between Russia and Persia. Many Assyrians found themselves suddenly under Russian sovereignty and thousands of relatives crossed the border to join them.

The second wave was a result of the repression and violence during and after World War I.

The third wave came after World War II, when Moscow unsuccessfully tried to establish a satellite state in Iran. Soviet troops withdrew in 1946, and left the Assyrians exposed to exactly the same kind of retaliation that they had suffered from the Turks 30 years earlier. Again, many Assyrians found refuge in the Soviet Union, this time mainly in the cities. From 1937 to 1959, the Assyrian population in USSR grew by 587.3%[29]

The Soviets in the thirties oppressed the Assyrians' religion and persecuted religious and other leaders.

In recent years, the Assyrians have tended to assimilate with Armenians, but their cultural and ethnic identity, strengthened through centuries of hardships, found new expression under Glasnost.

USSR census[edit]

  • 1897 census: 5,300 "Syrio-Chaldeans" (by language)[30]
  • 1919 refugee status:
8,000 - 7,000 "Assyrian" refugees in Tbilissi[31]
2,000 Assyrians in Yerevan[31]
15,000 Assyrians from Hakkari, 10,000 from Urmia and Salmas in the Russian region of Rostov[32]
  • 1926 census: 9,808 Assyrians (Aisor)[31]
  • 1959 census: 21,083 Assyrians[33]
  • 1970 census: 24,294 Assyrians[34]
  • 1979 census: 25,170 Assyrians[35]
  • 1989 census: 26,289 Assyrians[33]

Russia[edit]

  • 1989 census: 9,600 Assyrians, of whom 4,742 spoke the Syriac Language; 1,738 in the Krasnodar region[28]
  • 2002 census: 13,649 Assyrians (ассирийцы)[18]

Armenia[edit]

Main article: Assyrians in Armenia
  • 1926 (Soviet) census:[34] 21,215 Assyrians
  • 1989 (Soviet) census:[36] 5,963 Assyrians
  • 2001 census:[37] 3,409 Assyrians (3rd minority ethnic group after Yazidis and Russians): 524 urban, 2,485 rural
  • 2011 census:[24] 2,769 Assyrians

Georgia[edit]

Main article: Assyrians in Georgia
  • 1926 census: 2,904 Assyrians[34]
  • 1989 census: 6,206 Assyrians[23]
  • 2002 census: 3,299 Assyrians[23]

Ukraine[edit]

  • 2001 census: 3,143[38]

Kazakhstan[edit]

Near East[edit]

Lebanon[edit]

estimates on December 31, 1944, by province (Muhafazat)[40]

denomination Beyrouth Mount Lebanon North Lebanon South Lebanon Biqa' Total
Syriac Catholics 4,089 275 169 9 442 4,984
Syriac Orthodox 2,070 209 100 22 1,352 3,753
Chaldean Catholic 974 120 1 10 225 1,330

1932 census and further estimates

denomination 1932 census[41] 1944 estimates[40] 1954 estimates[41]
Syriac Catholics 2,675 4,984 ..
Chaldean Catholics 528 1,330 ..
Syriac Orthodox 2,574 3,753 4,200
Church Of The East 800 1,200 1,400

Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip[edit]

The Americas[edit]

Canada[edit]

Main article: Assyrians in Canada
  • 2001 Census: Assyrian - 6,980
  • 2006 Census: Assyrian - 8,650[42]
  • 2011 Census: Assyrian - 10,810[43]

United States[edit]

  • 1990 census: 46,099 Assyrians[44]
    • 19,066 born in the US
    • 16,783 arrived before 1980
    • 10,250 between 1980 and 1990.
    • 27,494 Syriac as the "Language Spoken at Home"[45]
    • Unemployment: 9.1%
  • 2000 census: 82,355 Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac[46]
    • Syriac language: 46,932[47]

Europe[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Assyrians in Belgium came mostly as refugees from the Turkish towns of Midyat and Mardin in Tur Abdin, most of them belong to the Syrian Orthodox Church, some to the Chaldean Catholic Church. Their three main settlements are in Brussels (municipalities of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode - where they've got their only elected municipal councilman, the Christian Democrat Ibrahim Erkan, originally from Turkey -, Brussels and Etterbeek), Liège and in Mechelen. Since the October 8, 2006 municipal elections they've got two more councilmen, in Etterbeek, the Liberal Sandrine Es (whose family came from Turkey) and the Christian Democrat Ibrahim Hanna (originally from Syria's Khabur region). The Christian Democrat candidate in Mechelen, Melikan Kucam, was not elected. The Flemish writer August Thiry wrote the book Mechelen aan de Tigris (Mechelen on Tigris) about the Assyrian/Syriac refugees from the village of Hassana in SE Turkey, district of Silopi. Melikan Kucam was one of them. On October 14, 2012 municipal elections, Melikan was elected in Mechelen as member of the Flemisch Nationalists N-VA.

France[edit]

Main article: Assyrians in France

There are believed to be some 20,000, mainly concentrated in the northern French suburbs of Sarcelles, where several thousands Chaldean Catholics live, and also in Gonesse and Villiers-le-Bel. They are drawn from the same few villages in what is now south-east Turkey.[48][49]

Germany[edit]

Greece[edit]

Main article: Assyrians in Greece

The first migrants of Assyrian stock in Greece came in 1934, and settled in the areas of Makronisos (today uninhabited), Keratsini (Pireus), Egaleo and Kalamata.[50] Today, the vast majority of Assyrians live in Peristeri, a suburb of Athens, and they number about 2,000.[51] There are five Assyrian Christian marriages recorded at St. Pauls Anglican Church in Athens in 1924-25 (the transcripts can be viewed on St. Pauls Anglican Church website), thus indicating the beginning of the appearance of refugees at that time. The absence of further marriages at St. Pauls possibly indicates the arrival of a Nestorian clergyman in Athens shortly after 1925.

Netherlands[edit]

Assyrians in the Netherlands protesting for the recognition of the Assyrian genocide

The first Assyrians came to the Netherlands in the 1970s; most of them belonged to the West Syrian Rite from Turkey. Today the number of Assyrians is estimated to be between 25,000 and 35,000 and they mainly live in the east of the country, in the province of Overijssel, in such cities as Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo and Borne.

Sweden[edit]

Main article: Assyrians in Sweden

In the latter part of the 1970s, about 12,000 Syrian Orthodox Assyrians/Syriacs from Lebanon, Turkey and Syria immigrated to Sweden. They considered themselves persecuted for religious reasons but were never acknowledged as refugees. Those who had already lived in Sweden for a longer period were finally granted residence permit for humanitarian reasons.[52]

As with other Northern European countries, there is a dividing line in Sweden between the Assyrian speaking Christians. They are mostly members of the Syriac Orthodox Church, but its important to note that not all Syriac Orthodox members identify with being Syriacs only, as the majority of those who call themselves Assyrians are Syriac Orthodox as well.[53]

Södertälje in Sweden is often seen as the unofficial Assyrian capital of Europe due to the city's high percentage of Assyrians. The international TV-channels Suryoyo Sat and Suroyo TV are also based in Södertälje.

Between 2005 and 2006, there was an Assyrian/Syriac minister in the Swedish government, Ibrahim Baylan.

Switzerland[edit]

Assyrians in Switzerland came mostly as refugees from the Turkish towns of Midyat, Mardin and Azakh (Beth-Zabday)(Idil) in Tur Abdin, most of them are Syriac Orthodox (about 1,600 Families). The seat of the Syriac Orthodox bishop of the Swiss and Austrian diocese is in the St. Avgin (Eugene) Monastery in Arth, near Lucerne, where a big part of the Assyrian community lives. They also live in the east of the country in the Canton of St. Gallen (Wil-Area) and in Baden about 20 km from Zurich. A big part of the Assyrians in Switzerland also live in the Italian part of Switzerland in the Canton of Ticino, mostly in Lugano and Locarno.

United Kingdom[edit]

Pacific[edit]

Australia[edit]

45.9% Catholic, 49.0 Orthodox[55]
74.3% Catholic, 24.0% Orthodox
  • 2010 Census: 33,505 Assyrians (Different Churches)
    • Language; Syriac spoken by 24,900
    • Religious sects
Assyrian Church of the East: 12,000
Chaldean Catholic Church: 14,000
Syriac Orthodox Church: 5,000
Ancient Church of the East: 2,000

New Zealand[edit]

  • 1991 census: 315[56]
  • 1996 census: 807[56]
  • 2001 Census: 1,176[56]
    • 465 in Auckland Region
    • 690 in Wellington Region
    • "Unemployment rates highest for Somalis (37.2 percent) and Assyrians (40.0 percent)."
    • "The particular ethnic groups with the highest proportions affiliated to a Christian denomination were Assyrian (99.0 percent) and Filipino (95.1 percent)."
    • English spoken: 774, no English: 348; Number of Languages Spoken: 1: 225, 2: 405, 3: 423, 4: 63, 5: 3
  • 2006 census: 1,683[25]

Homeland Statistics[edit]

Syria[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jacobson, Rodolfo (2001). Codeswitching Worldwide II. Walter de Gruyter. p. 159. ISBN 978-3-11-016768-9. 
  2. ^ CIA-The World Factbook. "Country Comparison:Population". Archived from the original on 28 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  3. ^ [1], CIA World Factbook
  4. ^ Christians in Iraq GlobalSecurity.org total estimated to be some 500,000 after the Iraq war
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Brief History of Assyrians, AINA.org
  6. ^ http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/syria-population/
  7. ^ Assyrians Face Escalating Abuses in "New Iraq", Lisa Söderlindh, Inter Press Service higher estimates include some 300,000 Assyrian refugees from Iraq
  8. ^ 2000 Census USA
  9. ^ American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. Many Assyrians might be simply identified as Iraqis, Iranian, Syrians, Turks, or Lebanese
  10. ^ a b c atour.com
  11. ^ Demographics of Sweden, Swedish Language Council "Sweden has also one of the largest exile communities of Assyrian and Syriac Christians (also known as Chaldeans) with a population of around 100,000."
  12. ^ Thrown to the Lions, Doug Bandow, The America Spectator
  13. ^ Jordan Should Legally Recognize Displaced Iraqis As Refugees, AINA.org. Assyrian and Chaldean Christians Flee Iraq to Neighboring Jordan, ASSIST News Service
  14. ^ 70,000 Syriac Christians according to REMID (of which 55,000 Syriac Orthodox).
  15. ^ [2], SIL Ethnologue "Assyrian Neo-Aramaic 15,000 in Iran (1994). Ethnic population: 80,000 (1994)" See also Christianity in Iran.
  16. ^ Languages of Lebanon, Ethnologue "Immigrant languages: Assyrian Neo-Aramaic (1,000), Chaldean Neo-Aramaic (18,000), Turoyo (18,000)."
  17. ^ [3], SIL Ethnologue "Turoyo [tru] 3,000 in Turkey (1994 Hezy Mutzafi). Ethnic population: 50,000 to 70,000 (1994). Hértevin [hrt] 1,000 (1999 H. Mutzafi). Originally Siirt Province. They have left their villages, most emigrating to the West, but some may still be in Turkey." See also Christianity in Turkey.
  18. ^ a b 2002 census
  19. ^ Ancestry (full classification list) Australian Bureau of Statistics
  20. ^ [4][5] More than two thirds of Iraqis in Australia (80,000) are Christians
  21. ^ "Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada,". Statistics Canada. 2006. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  22. ^ http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/articolo.asp?c=494962
  23. ^ a b c Eurominority - Assyrians in Georgia
  24. ^ a b 2011 Armenian Census - De Jure Population (Urban, Rural) by Age and Ethnicity
  25. ^ a b New Zealand 2006 census
  26. ^ [6], UNPO estimates
  27. ^ SIL Ethnologue estimate for the "ethnic population" associated with Assyrian Neo-Aramaic. [7]
  28. ^ a b Assyrians, Center for Russian Studies, NUPI - Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  29. ^ Mastyugina, Tatiana; Perepelkin, Lev; Naumkin, Vitaliĭ Vi︠a︡cheslavovich; Zvi︠a︡gelʹskai︠a︡, Irina Donovna (1996). An Ethnic History of Russia Pre-revolutionary Times to the Present. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-313-29315-3. 
  30. ^ Youri Bromlei et al., Processus ethniques en U.R.S.S., Editions du Progrès, 1977
  31. ^ a b c Eden Naby, “Les Assyriens d'Union soviétique,” Cahiers du Monde russe, 16/3-4. 1975
  32. ^ A. Chatelet (Supérieur de la mission catholique de Téhéran), Question assyro-chaldéenne, Quartier général - Bureau de la Marine, Constantinople, 31 août 1919
  33. ^ a b An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, By James Stuart Olson, Lee Brigance Pappas, Nicholas Charles
  34. ^ a b c Eden Naby 1975
  35. ^ Annuaire démographique des Nations-Unies 1983, Département des affaires économiques et sociales internationales, New York, 1985
  36. ^ Armenian Helsinki Committee - Reflections over Annual Report on International Religious Freedom: Armenia
  37. ^ 2001 Armenian Census - De Jure Population (Urban, Rural) by Age and Ethnicity
  38. ^ All-Ukraine population census 2001
  39. ^ Assyrian cultural center in Kazakhstan
  40. ^ a b Albert H. Hourani, Minorities in the Arab World, London: Oxford University Press, 1947
  41. ^ a b Kenneth C. Bruss, Lebanon - Area and population, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1963
  42. ^ [8]
  43. ^ [9]
  44. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census - Selected Characteristics for Persons of Assyrian Ancestry: 1990
  45. ^ U.S. Bureau of the Census, Language Spoken at Home for the Foreign-Born Population 5 Years and Over: 1980 and 1990, Internet Release date: March 9, 1999
  46. ^ US Census, QT-P13. Ancestry: 2000
  47. ^ U.S. Census 2000, Language Spoken at Home for the Foreign-Born Population 5 Years and Over: 1980 to 2000
  48. ^ http://www.aina.org/brief.html
  49. ^ Gaunt, David, "Cultural diversity, Multilingualism and Ethnic minorities in Sweden - Identity conflicts among Oriental Christian in Sweden", s.10.
  50. ^ Zinda Magazine - May 10, 1999 - The Assyrian Union of Greece
  51. ^ Ethnologue report for Greece
  52. ^ Swedish Minister for Development Co-operation, Migration and Asylum Policy, Migration 2002, June 2002
  53. ^ Dan Lundberg, Christians from the Middle East, A virtual Assyria
  54. ^ http://www.swsahs.nsw.gov.au/areaser/Startts/services/comm-assyrian.asp
  55. ^ 2054.0 Australian Census Analytic Program: Australians' Ancestries (2001 (Corrigendum))
  56. ^ a b c Statistics New Zealand - 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings - Ethnic Groups

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Talia, Peter. Assyrians in the West. Chicago: Nineveh Printing Co. [199-]. 106 p. Without ISBN