Although the intensive phase of the 1915 genocide took place during 1915-1916, the massacres of Armenians were committed long before and after that period. Thus, this chronology begins with the massacres during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, at the end of the 19:th century. Select the different years in the menu on the right side.
1894 The Armenians in the mountainous region of Sasoun, who suffered much from the attacks by the local Kurdish tribes, who, on top of the taxes which the Armenians had to pay to the Sultan, demanded additional illegal taxes from the Armenians. These Kurds had specially been ehavily armed since the creation of the so-called Hamidian forces. However, the Armenians of Sasoun refused to pay these illegal which were ruining them, while they continued to pay their taxes to the Ottoman government's tax collectors. The Kurds who had been annoyed by this, attacked Sasoun's Armenians, who fought back and successfully could repell the attacks. The Kurds then called for help from the Turkish government, which immediately sent an armed force to the area. These soldiers, led by General Zeki Pasha, joined the Kurds, cccupied Sasoun and started a horrible massslaughter (August 1894). 3,500 Armenians were killed in defense of their homes and families. This would be the prelude to a series of mass killings in the Armenian provinces.
1895 In September, the Armenians in Constantinople organizes a demonstration, led by Hntchak Party, which ended in a new bloodbath. It resulted in new large massacres which occurred from September until December 1895. Large-scale massacres took place even in Trabizond, Bayberout, Erzurum, Erzindjan, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Kharpout, Arabkir, Malatya, Sivas, Mardin, Eintab, Marash and Caesarea. These massacres reached their peak in Urfa, where during the first week of new year alone 3,000 Armenians were murdered, most of which were women and children who had taken shelter in the town church and were burned alive to death inside it.
1896 The massacres subside somewhat when the Major Powers could no longer ignore the news about what was ongoing in the remote Armenian provinces, while new mass murders were happening on constant basis in Mush and Kilis Vajin. It is estimated that approximately 150,000 Armenians were killed, while about 100,000 fled to Transcaucasus, the Balkans and the U.S. 2,500 communities were completely emptied of their inhabitants, and in many places those who had survived were stripped of their property, which was confiscated by Turks and Kurds. These actions forced a group of about 500,000 people to total poverty.
1896 On August 26, 26 Armenian revolutionaries, members of the Armenian Dashnak Party, storms the Ottoman Bank in Constantinople, occupying the building. The same day, the revolutionaries sent a communiqu&ecute; to the European Powers, in which the stated the following: "We are now in the Bank Ottoman building and will not vacate it before the Sultan promises to address our demands and leave the solution of the Armenian question to an international judge. Otherwise we will, on the tihrd day, blow ourselves and the Bank in the air."
1897 The new Czarist regime in Russia begins to implement its anti-Armenian policy in Transcaucasia and closes 300 Armenian schools in Eastern Armenia and a hundred others in the rest of Transcaucasia. 458 other Armenian institutions, such as the libraries, are closed, Armenian newspapers were confiscated and the aid organizations were harassed. At the same time a spy organization around the Armenian Church and its priests is created. Under orders from the Russian government the Russian newspapers began to incite the public against the Armenians, Finns, Poles and Jews in the Caucasus and schools began to expell out Armenian students.
1904 The Armenians in Sasoun revolt and form two permanent fronts, one in the north against Mush and one in the south towards Diyarbakir.
1908 Young Turks stage coup and using Macedonian Turkish Army overthrow Abdul Hamid's regime. As a result of the revolution in 1908, the Sultan is forced to restore the suspended parliamentary rule from 1876, a liberal monarchy which had been proclaimed at the beginning of the Russo-Ottoman war of 1876-1877, but had remained on the paper. During this revolution the Armenians play an important role in its victory.
1909 In April, Sultan Abdul Hamid, with the help of loyal individuals, attempts to stage a counter-coup against the revolutionaries, but once again, supported by the Turkish Army in Macedonia, the Young Turks managed to regain control of the capital and get the person whom Gladstone called for "the great assassin", i.e. Sultan Abdul Hamid II, to abdicate. Even this time the Armenians prove to be one of the most loyal supporters of the new regime and it was thanks to their help and sacrifices that a number of Young Turk leaders escaped certain death during the first days of Sultan's counter-coup.
1909 Massacres of Armenians take place in the Armenian provinces and especially in Cilicia (Adana). It is uncertain whether who instigated these massacres, which cost 15,000 Armenian lives. Whether this was the last revenge action by the Sultan's fallen regime, or the first action of the new Young Turk government, foreboding the coming calamity. One of the foremost experts on Orient related issues, Victor Berard, affirms that cooperation from some people in Union and Progress (i.e. the Young Turks) in these events can certainly be proved.
1909 During Dashnak Party's ninth convention in Yerevan, the two previous two slogans (Political and economical freedom to West Armenia) with a single new goal: "Unity and independent Armenia."
1912 Turkey had, as a result of the Balkan Wars, lost most of its European conquests and was now implementing a policy of forcibly homogenizing the remaining non-Turkish peoples of the empire. This policy was intensified in particular against Arabs and Armenians. A new oppression and abuse rule which strongly reminded of Sultan Abdul Hamid's toppled regime was applied in Western Armenian and Turkish officials began re-using nomadic Kurdish tribes to pillage and confiscate Armenian agricultural fields and force the Armenians to give up their homes and run away.
1913 The Great Powers force Turkey to implement the reforms of the Berlin Treaty's paragraph 61. Germany strongly opposes these plans. Turkey's secret diplomatic efforts to implant disunity and division among the members of "Trinity Alliance", are exposed by British intelligence and ends in failure in Anatolia.