Definitions

stopping off

Gallipoli

[guh-lip-uh-lee]
Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu Yarımadası) is located in Turkish Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek Kallipolis (Καλλίπολις), meaning "Beautiful City."

History

Antiquity, Byzantium and crusaders

Kallipolis (Greek), or in Latin Callipolis, was a city in the eastern part of the Thracian Chersonese ("Chersonesus Thracica" in Greek, now known as the Gallipoli Peninsula), on the right shore, and at the entrance of the Dardanelles.

The Byzantine Emperor Justinian II fortified the city and established there important military warehouses for grain and wine.

In 1304, Kallipolis briefly came under the control of the renegade Catalan group of mercenaries known as the Catalan Company, who, at that time, had just previously revolted against their Byzantine clients. In 1307, the Catalan Company, fearing retaliation by Byzantine forces, razed the city to the ground, and retreated to the relative safety of the area surrounding the city of Cassandria, leaving the city in ruins.

Ottoman era

After the devastating 1354 earthquake, the Greek city was almost abandoned, but swiftly reoccupied by Turks from Anatolia, the Asiatic side of the straits, making Gallipoli the first Ottoman possession in Europe, and the staging area for their expansion across the Balkans.

The peninsula which was inhabited ns of the Byzantine Empire was gradually conquered by the Ottoman Empire starting from 13th century onwards until the 15th. The Greeks living there were allowed to continue their everyday life. Gallipoli (in Turkish, Gelibolu) was made the chief town of a Kaymakamlik (district) in the vilayet (a Wali's province) of Adrianople, with about 30,000 inhabitants, Greeks, Turks, Armenians and Jews.

Gallipoli became a major encampment for British and French forces in 1854 during the Crimean War, and the harbour was also a stopping-off point on the way to Constantinople.

The peninsula did not see any more wars up until World War I when the British Empire allies trying to find a way to reach its troubled ally in the east, Imperial Russia, decided to try to obtain passage to the east. The Ottomans set up defensive fortifications along the peninsula with German help.

In 1920 after the defeat of the Russian White army of General Pyotr Wrangel, a significant number of emigre soldiers and their families evacuated to Gallipoli from the Crimea. From there many went to European countries where they found refuge, such as Yugoslavia. A stone monument was erected and a special "Gallipoli cross" was created to commemorate the soldiers who stayed in Gallipoli. The stone monument was destroyed during an earthquake, but in January of 2008 reconstruction of the monument had begun with the consent of the Turkish government.

Gallipoli Campaign

The Allied landing and subsequent campaign on the peninsula during World War I is usually known in Britain as the Dardanelles Campaign and in Turkey as the Battle of Çanakkale. In Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland, the terms Gallipoli Campaign or just Gallipoli alone are used to describe the eight month campaign. In early 1915 Russia was fighting a multi front war against Germany, Austria/Hungary, and Turkey. While it had a sizable army it struggled to deliver sufficient supplies to the troops. The landings at Gallipoli were an Allied attempt to clear a supply path through the Dardanelles to Russia. This would also assist them by putting pressure on Turkey by threatening Istanbul. On April 25, 1915, after failed attempts to force a passage through the Dardanelles by naval forces alone, a force of British Empire and French troops landed at multiple places along the peninsula. The battles over the next eight months saw high casualties on both sides due to the exposed terrain, weather and closeness of the front lines. The invasion forces were successfully blocked by the Turkish troops and the subsequent Allied withdrawal meant the Russians would not be receiving supplies through the Dardanelles.

The campaign is often referred to for its successful stealthy retreat which was completed with minimal casualties, the ANZAC forces completely retreating by December 19, 1915 and the remaining British elements by January 9, 1916.

Overall, there were around 300,000 Allied casualties including around 100,000 deaths and 150,000 Turkish casualties including around 20,000 deaths. This campaign has become a "founding myth" for both Australia and New Zealand, and Anzac Day is still commemorated as a holiday in both countries. In fact, it is one of those rare battles that both sides seem to remember proudly. The Turks consider it a great turning point for their (future) nation and Australians and New Zealanders see it as the beginnings of the ANZAC spirit.

Many mementos of the Gallipoli campaign can be seen in the museum at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia, and at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand. This campaign also put a dent in the armour of Winston Churchill, then the First Lord of the Admiralty, who had commissioned the plans to invade the Dardanelles. He talks about this campaign vividly in his memoirs.

The Gallipoli campaign gave an important boost to the career of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a little-known army commander who became a national hero, was promoted to Pasha, and became the founder of the modern Turkish state with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, at the end of World War I. Kemal halted and eventually repelled the Allied advance, exceeding his authority and contravening orders to do so. His famous speech "I do not command you to fight, I command you to die. In the time it will take us to die we can be replenished by new forces" shows his courageous and determined personality.

Anzac Day

On April 25, 2005, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, government officials from Australia and New Zealand, most of the last surviving Gallipoli veterans, and many Australian and New Zealand tourists travelled to Turkey for a special dawn service at Gallipoli. ANZAC Day is the most important national day of commemoration for Australians. The then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark were also in attendance, and Clark was accompanied by the official NZ defence force party, veterans of several past wars and 10 New Zealand college students who won the New Zealand 'Prime Minister's Essay Competition' with their work on Gallipoli. Attendance at the ANZAC Day dawn service at Gallipoli has become popular since the 75th anniversary. Upwards of 10,000 people have attended services in Gallipoli.

Until 1999 the Gallipoli dawn service was held at the Ari Burnu war cemetery at Anzac Cove, but the growing numbers of people attending resulted in the construction of a more spacious site on North Beach, known as the "Anzac Commemorative Site."

In the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, an 11,000 people capacity portable tribune has been built in the Anzac Cove and Lone Pine Memorial region. The preparation work for the Anzac Day Ceremonies in the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park has been going on.

In the run up to the 2007 Anzac Day service, the Turkish authorities said that they would be expecting about 15,000 Australian and New Zealand Citizens for the ceremonies which would take place in the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park. Extensive preparatory works had been undertaken prior to then.

Influence on the arts

The Gallipoli Campaign is the subject of a 1981 movie, entitled Gallipoli, directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson.

Eric Bogle wrote in 1972 his famous And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda after having watched, in Australia, a parade of elderly veterans of the Gallipoli campaign. Versions of this song were later separately recorded by June Tabor, The Skids and The Pogues, as well as Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy and John Williamson. "Cliffs of Gallipoli," a song by Sabaton (band), was also inspired by the battle.

The BBC produced a feature-length television drama, All the King's Men, (not to be confused with the novel of the same name by Robert Penn Warren), that focused attention on a unit (the "Sandringham Company") that was decimated at Gallipoli and which included men from King George V's estate at Sandringham House.

The campaign is also the subject of a 2005 documentary, also named Gallipoli, by the Turkish filmmaker Tolga Örnek, showing the bravery and the suffering on both sides through the use of surviving diaries and letters of the soldiers. For this film he has been awarded an honorary medal in the general division of the Order of Australia.

Gallipoli is also a basis for the 1999 novel "Solomons Song" by Bryce Courtenay.

Ecclesiastical history

Callipolis remains a Roman Catholic titular bishopric in the former Roman province of Thrace.

Callipolis was a suffragan of Heraclea. Lequien (I, 1123) mentions only six Greek bishops, the first as being present at the Council of Ephesus in 431, when the See was united to that of Coela (Coelia or Coele), the last about 1500. His list could easily be increased, for the Greek Orthodox See still exists; it was raised in 1904 to the rank of a metropolis, without suffragans, after the manner of most Greek metropolitan Sees. Lequien (III, 971) also gives the names of eight Latin bishops, from 1208 to 1518. (See Eubel, I, 269, note.) There are numerous schools and a small museum; a large cemetery is the resting place of many French soldiers who died of disease (chiefly cholera) during the Crimean War. The port is poor and trade unimportant, for want of roads. A Catholic mission was conducted in the Ottoman days by Assumpionist Fathers; there are also a number of Armenian and Greek Catholics, with priests of their respective rites.

See also

Sources and references

  • Les Carlyon Gallipoli (a day by day battle by battle account); (2001, Transworld publishers) ISBN 0385 604750.
  • Christopher Pugsley Gallipoli: the New Zealand Story (1998: Reed New Zealand) ISBN 978-0790005850

External links


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