by Andrew Andersen


Part I


Greeks appeared at the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus) coast in the 9th century BC.


Since 65 BC, most of the coast fell under stable control of the Roman Empire and since the fall of Rome in 330, most of the area remained part of the Byzantine Empire.










Click on the map for bigger image


Source: Putzgers, F.W., Historischer Schul-Atlas, Bielefeld, 1929


The  Empire  of  Trebizond  was established in  1204 by the Royal family  of  the   Comnenus  in Pontus  as one of the successor states of the fallen Byzantine  Empire.


The new state enjoyed significant military and economic support from Georgia.


Its population consisted predominantly of Pontic Greeks, Georgians, Georgian-related Laz people, as well as Armenians, Jews , etc.


(Those interested in militaria,





to see Trebizond toy soldiers)



The walls below withstood the assaults of many enemies but fell to the Turks in 1462 without a single shot



Protected by the high mountains and strong fortresses, the empire of Trebizond outlived the restored Byzantine Empire and managed to survive the expansion of the Ottoman Turks  until the year 1462 when it surrendered to the Ottomans without fight




The Turkish domination over the country was severe to those who were not ready to give up their ethnic identity and Christian religion. Thousands of Greeks among them all of the aristocracy, left their country for Western Europe. Many Greeks and almost all Laz people converted into Islam. Others stayed as unprotected and periodically massacred second-class citizens.


Those who left, tried to keep their identity and dream of return alive. Pontic diaspora gave the world a number of distinguished personalities, among them French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (originating from the aristocratic family of Kalomeranti that moved to Corse in 1672) the hero of Greek Liberation war Alexandre Hypsilanti (born in the town of Hypsala in Trebizond area), the family of Carnegie and many others.



Greek girl from Trebizond

(photograph of the XIX century)