What were the experiences and perceptions?

Experiences on arrival in a strange land

The Circassians who were able to arrive in the Ottoman lands experienced great difficulties, many died or became sick on the journey. Epidemic diseases were widespread  among those who waited for months for ships at Black Sea ports, often without food and money. 

This and the following extracts from historical sources highlight the plight of the immigrants arriving in Turkish ports such as Samsun, Trabzon and Gallipoli.


Report to the Board of Health of the Ottoman Empire by the Sanitary Inspector, Samsun, May 20, 1864

Gentlemen, I arrived at Samsun six days ago. No words are adequate to describe the situation in which I found the town and the unfortunate immigrants.....Everywhere you meet with the sick, the dying and the dead; on the threshold of gates, in front of shops,  in the middle of streets, in the squares, in the gardens, at the foot of trees.  Every dwelling, every corner of the streets, every spot occupied by the immigrants, has become a hotbed of infection. A warehouse on the seaside, a few steps distant from the quarantine office, hardly affording space enough for 30 persons, enclosed until the day before yesterday 207 individuals, all sick or dying. The encampments present a picture hardly less revolting.  From 40,000 to 50,000 individuals in the most absolute state of destitution, preyed upon by disease, decimated by death, are cast there without shelter, without bread, and without  sepulchre (i.e. burial). There  is  no  one  to  take  care  of  the immigrants, no service organized for the burial of the dead, no horses, no carts, no boats, nothing.

Reproduced in The Times, 13 June, 1864.