This Day In History for March 23: Constantinople Becomes Istanbul (1930)

Constantinople Becomes Istanbul (1930)

On this day in 1930, a law was enacted in Turkey, according to which the city of Constantinople was renamed Istanbul.

Namely, that city had many names throughout history. The Ancient Greeks called the settlement located at that spot Byzantion (Βυζάντιον), while the Romans called it Byzantium.

Later, the name Constantinople (after the Roman emperor Constantine, who transferred the capital from Rome to there) became dominant.

That name stuck for most of the Middle Ages, i. e. during the time of the Byzantine Empire.

It is interesting that the Ottomans did not prefer the name Istanbul after they conquered the city.

Namely, the name Kostantiniyye, a variant of Constantinople, was dominant during the Ottoman period.

In Slavic languages, the city was called Carigrad or Tsarigrad (City of the Emperor), while the Vikings called it Mikligarðr (The Big City).

Today, Istanbul is one of the cities which had among the highest number of names throughout history.

The current Turkish government often insists on the name Istanbul instead of the older names which were used or are still in use in foreign countries.




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