What were the consequences?

An overview

Ultimately, we have to ask whether the Circassian refugees proved to be a blessing or a curse for the Ottomans. Apart from the initial strain felt by the provincial economies and their local communities, the refugee crisis also had severe financial consequences for the Ottoman Empire, leading them to default on their loan repayments in the early-1870s. However, in the longer term, there is evidence that the Circassians did produce some benefits for the Ottomans. They contributed towards the modernisation of the Empire, with many of them working on the construction of the new roads and railways. The reforms of provincial government, with their emphasis on improving efficiency and on the facilitation of public works and institutions, were also at least in part likely to have been introduced at this stage as a result of the refugee crisis. The increase in manpower was valuable in the extension of the armed forces and in the provision of provincial policing, however problematic.

Sarah Rosser-Owen, The First Circassian Exodus to the Ottoman Empire 1858-1867, unpublished MA Thesis, 2007 pp.54-55