|Sanjak of Lazistan
|sanjak of the Ottoman Empire
Under Trebizond Vilayet (1578–1922)
|Today part of||Turkey|
Lazistan (Laz: ლაზონა, lazona; Georgian: ჭანეთი, chaneti; Ottoman Turkish: لازستان, Lazistān) was the Ottoman administrative name for the sanjak (under Trebizond Vilayet) comprising the Laz or Lazuri-speaking population on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. It covered the land of contemporary Rize Province and the littoral of contemporary Artvin Province.
In ancient times, the region was a part of the Colchis later known as Lazica. After the 6th century AD, the eastern part of Lazistan became part of Kingdom of Abkhazia, whilst the western part constituted a part of the theme of Chaldia. With the collapse of direct Byzantine rule in eastern Anatolia after the Crusader Capture of Constantinople in 1204, the theme of Chaldia became part of newly formed Empire of Trebizond, In the eastern part of empire, was created autonomous coastal theme of Greater Lazia. theme contained lands between modern Of, Rize, Pazar including Ardeşen and Arhavi-Hopa areas, the borders of this district remained basically identical over 300 years later.
This region was remaining as part of Georgian duchies, until 1578, when it was conquered by Ottomans. after the Ottoman conquest, all the Laz converted to Islam. Lazistan became its own distinctive area (sanjak) under the administration of a Governor who governed from the town of Rizaion (Rize). His title was "Lazistan Mutasserif"; in other words Governor of Lazistan. The Lazistan sanjak was divided into kazas, namely those of Ofi, Rizaion, Athena and Hopa. The Lazistan sanjak was the easternmost region of Ottoman Empire. The sanjak belonged to the vilayet of Trebizond.
In 1878, the eastern portion of Lazistan (including Batumi) became part of the Batum Oblast of Russian Empire. After the occupation of the Democratic Republic of Georgia by Kemalist Turkey and Bolshevik Russia (since 1922), the territory has been divided between Turkey and the Soviet Union. The sanjak and name was abolished by the new Turkish Republic in 1925.
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