On this day in 1930, the name of Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul by Ataturk's government, which requested all countries to use Turkish names for their cities.
The city's renaming was part of a broader effort to modernise Turkey and distance the country from its Ottoman past. Today, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and remains an important cultural and economic hub in the region.
The renaming of cities in Turkey began in 1916 with Enver Pasha, one of the perpetrators of the Christian Genocides.
Around 12,000-14,000 villages were changed to Turkish names between 1916 and 1930 by successive governments in a Turkification program.
Istanbul was the capital of both the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the Ottoman Empire. In 330, when Constntine the Great made the city the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium was renamed Constantinople in honour of him.
It remained Constantinople even after the Ottoman Turks captured the city in 1453.
In the 13th Century, Arabs used the appellation Istinpolin, a "name" they had heard the Greek-speaking Byzantines use - specifically "ein tin polin." This was actually a Greek phrase meaning "to the City", the city being a reference to Constantinople.
Through speech permutations over the centuries, the name became Istanbul.
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