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View of Harput in 1896

Harpoot also called Harput, Karpoot, Kharpert was a largely Armenian populated region in Western Armenia.[1] Today it is mostly made up of the area of Elazığ. Kharput is often attributed to belonging to the old Armenian province of Sophene.[2]


The name Kharput is of Armenian origin, it comes from the Armenian Kharberd or Karberd which contains the word berd meaning castle.[2]

Harput was an ancient Urartu fortress town which Armenians established as their capital city in the 10th century, until taken by the Ottomans in 1515.[3]

Rev. Dr. Herman N. Barnum account of Harpoot in the 1800s,

The city of Harpoot has a population of perhaps 20,000, and it is located a few miles east of the river Euphrates, near latitude thirty-nine, and east from Greenwich about thirty-nine degrees. It is on a mountain facing south, with a populous plain 1,200 feet below it. The Taurus Mountains lie beyond the plain, twelve miles away. The Anti-Taurus range lies some forty miles to the north in full view from the ridge just back of the city. The surrounding population are mostly farmers, and they all live in villages. No city in Turkey is the center of so many Armenian villages, and the most of them are large. Nearly thirty can be counted from different parts of the city. This makes Harpoot a most favorable missionary center. Fifteen out-stations lie within ten miles of the city. The Arabkir field, on the west, was joined to Harpoot in 1865, and the following year…the larger part of the Diarbekir field on the south; so that now the limits of the Harpoot station embrace a district nearly one third as large as new England.[4]

Armenian Genocide[edit]

Two eyewitnesses wrote about reports of genocide in Harpoot. One of them being Dr. Henry H. Riggs, the congregational minister and ABCFM missionary who had been the head of Euphrates College, a local college founded and directed by American missionaries for mostly the Armenian community in the region. His report was documented and sent over to the United States, and then published under Days of Tragedy in Armenia, 1997.[5] The second eyewitness was Leslie A. Davis, an American consul at Harpoot from 1914 to 1917.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Selcuk Esenbel; Bilge Nur Criss; Tony Greenwood. American Turkish Encounters: Politics and Culture, 1830-1989. p. 78.
  2. ^ a b M. Th. Houtsma. E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936, Volume 4. p. 915.
  3. ^ Day, David. Conquest: How Societies Overwhelm Others.
  4. ^ Rev.Herman Norton Barnum. The Missionary Herald vol. 88. pp. 144–147.
  5. ^ a b Merrill D. Peterson. "Starving Armenians": America and the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1930 and After. p. 35.

External links[edit]