Vilayet of the Archipelago

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ولايت جزر بحر سفيد
Vilâyet-i Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid
Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire



Location of Cezayir-i Bahr-i Sefid Vilayet
Vilayet of the Archipelago in the 1900s
Capital Rhodes;[1] Chanak[2]
 -  Established 1867
 -  Disestablished 1912
 -  1885[3] 12,850 km2 (4,961 sq mi)
 -  1885[3] 325,866 
Density 25.4 /km2  (65.7 /sq mi)
area does not include Cyprus

The Vilayet of the Archipelago[4] (Ottoman Turkish: ولايت جزر بحر سفيد, Vilâyet-i Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid;[5] "Vilayet of the Islands of the White Sea") was a first-level administrative division (vilayet) of the Ottoman Empire extant from 1867 to 1912, including, at its maximum extent, the Ottoman Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Dardanelles Strait.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it reportedly had an area of 4,963 square miles (12,850 km2), while the preliminary results of the first Ottoman census of 1885 (published in 1908) gave the population as 325,866.[3] The accuracy of the population figures ranges from "approximate" to "merely conjectural" depending on the region from which they were gathered.[3]


It was established in 1864 as the successor of the homonymous "Eyalet of the Archipelago" which was established in the mid-16th century.[citation needed] It covered the Aegean islands held by the empire and was under the direct control of the Kapudan Pasha, the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman Navy.

The vilayet encompassed the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea (Imbros, Tenedos, Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios and the Dodecanese) as well as Cyprus.

Cyprus, which had been ruled as an independent mutasarrifate under direct jurisdiction of the Porte since 1861, was included in the vilayet in April 1868,[2] only to be made a separate mutassarifate again after 1870.[6] It then came under British administration in 1878 by the terms of the Treaty of Berlin.

The Dodecanese were occupied by Italy in the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912, and the remaining islands were captured by Greece during the First Balkan War (1912–1913).

Administrative divisions[edit]

Sanjaks of the Vilayet:[7]

  1. Sanjak of Rodos
  2. Sanjak of Midilli
  3. Sanjak of Sakiz
  4. Sanjak of Limni
  5. Sanjak of Kıbrıs (until 1870)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Public Domain Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rhodes". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ a b George Hill (2010-09-23). A History of Cyprus. Cambridge University Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-1-108-02065-7. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  3. ^ a b c Asia by A. H. Keane, page 459
  4. ^ Geographical Dictionary of the World, p. 1796, at Google Books
  5. ^ Salname-yi Vilâyet-i Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid ("Yearbook of the Vilayet of Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid"), Cezair-i Bahr-i Sefid vilâyet matbaası, Rodos [Greece], 1293 [1876]. in the website of Hathi Trust Digital Libray.
  6. ^ George Hill (2010-09-23). A History of Cyprus. Cambridge University Press. p. 378. ISBN 978-1-108-02065-7. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  7. ^ Cezâir-i Bahr-i Sefid Vilâyeti | Tarih ve Medeniyet

External links[edit]