BOOK ALERT - THE HEMSHIN (Islamicized Armenians)
For all those who want to delve deeper into the world of Armenian historical development in Anatolia , we'd like to bring to your attention the publication of the book entitled, The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey.
The Hemshin, investigates this community of Islamicized Armenians living in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey and in the former Soviet Union. The Hemshin, who live around Rize and Artvin in northeastern Turkey, are the descendants of Armenians who converted to Islam beginning in the seventeenth century, in a process that took several centuries to complete. While maintaining Armenian elements in their culture and continuing to speak an Armenian dialect, the Hemshin have tended to dissociate themselves from their Armenian ancestry, with many actively seeking assimilation into the larger Islamic community.
Surprisingly, many Hemshin communities still retain their original Armenian dialects, despite converting to Islam. Of course, most Western Armenian dialects were irretrievably lost due to the genocide and eviction of Armenians from their homeland in eastern Anatolia. (Some remnants of Western Armenian dialects survive in The Republic of Armenia , Kessab, Anjar, etc..)