Research Article

DOI :10.26650/YTA2024-1358719   IUP :10.26650/YTA2024-1358719    Full Text (PDF)

Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914)

Ümüt Akagündüz

This study evaluates the measures against cholera based on the epidemics experienced in the Second Constitutional years. In the 19th century, cholera, which caused numerous deaths worldwide due to industrialization and poor urbanization, also affected the Ottoman Empire. The fear caused by cholera led  to transformations in health policies and municipal services. Cholera, which also impacted the Second Constitutional Period, spread throughout the country, especially in Istanbul, between 1909 and 1913. The cholera epidemics, coupled with domestic and foreign political chaos, were frequently emphasized in the publications of the time. Periodicals, books, parliamentary debates, and state archives from the period provide much information on the epidemic. These data illuminate the nature of the disease and the struggles against it, embodying scientific, pragmatic, and popular methods of information dissemination. This article employs survey models and document analysis, utilizing literature that focuses on the local and global course of cholera, as well as archive documents, periodicals, books, and memorandums that clarify the period’s conditions. The data from the press and publication life reveal that, in addition to health policies, public awareness was also significant in the fight against cholera.

DOI :10.26650/YTA2024-1358719   IUP :10.26650/YTA2024-1358719    Full Text (PDF)

Kolera Hastalığı ve II. Meşrutiyet Yıllarında Bu Hastalığa Karşı Toplumsal Bilinçlendirmeyi Arttırma Çabaları (1908-1914)

Ümüt Akagündüz

Bu araştırmanın amacı, II. Meşrutiyet yıllarında yaşanan kolera salgınlarından hareketle bu hastalığa karşı alınan önlemleri ve bu önlemlerin halka yansıtılma biçimlerini analiz etmektir. XIX. yüzyıl boyunca sanayileşme ve düzensiz şehirleşmenin gölgesinde kitlesel ölümlere sebep olan kolera Osmanlı Devleti’nde de belirgin kırılma anları yaratmıştır. Koleranın sebep olduğu korku, sağlık politikalarından belediye hizmetlerine uzanan geniş bir ağı dönüştürmüştür. Toplumsal, ekonomik, politik kırılmalara sirayet ederek diğer salgınlarla bütünleşen hastalığın etkileri dönem yayınlarında sıklıkla işlenmiştir. Dergilerde, kitaplarda, meclis tartışmalarında, devlet arşivlerinde salgının yoğunlaştığı yıllarda daha belirgin olmak üzere koleraya odaklanan pek çok veri bulunmaktadır. Hastalığın niteliğini ve onunla nasıl mücadele edilebileceğini belirginleştiren bu veriler, bilimsel, pragmatik, popüler bilginin aktarılma biçimlerini de somutlaştırmaktadır. Tarama modeli ve doküman analizi kullanılarak yazılan bu makalede kolera hastalığının yerel ve küresel seyrine odaklanan literatür ile dönem koşullarını seslendiren arşiv belgelerinden, süreli yayınlardan, kitaplardan ve zabıt ceridelerinden yararlanılmıştır. Basın-yayın hayatından elde edilen veriler, koleranın 1909-1913 yılları arasında artan etkileri bağlamında sağlık politikalarının halkın bilinçlendirilmesine de odaklanıldığını göstermektedir.


Cholera, which occurs due to consuming food and drinks contaminated with the vib rio cholerae bacterium, is a severe disease characterized by watery diarrhea. The bacte rium is a comma-shaped gram-negative pathogen that can survive in both oxygenated and anaerobic environments. After an incubation period of 1-4 days, symptoms such as muscle aches, exhaustion, nonstop vomiting, and rice-water-like diarrhea appear. Excessive fluid loss causes tissues to shrink, and the skin changes color between black and blue. Death is inevitable as kidney failure occurs due to unrecoverable fluid loss.

The spread of cholera in the 19th century also impacted the Ottoman Empire due to its geopolitical and geostrategic position. This study examines the global and local his torical development of cholera, particularly during the Second Constitutional years. It aims to shed light on the disease’s agenda between 1908 and 1914, examining its place in intellectual and social contexts in terms of raising social awareness about cholera. This qualitative research uses documentary scanning to obtain valid data from archival documents, minutes, periodicals, regulations, and books. A literature review was also conducted for documentary validation. Data from these scans were classified and evalu ated through document analysis.

Cholera’s ability to survive in varied environments has enabled epidemics to turn into pandemics amid climatic changes and socio-economic conditions. Although chole ra had been present in India for centuries, it became a global issue in the 19th century due to industrialization and urbanization. Due to its geopolitical and geostrategic positi on, the Ottoman Empire faced several cholera epidemics in 1831, 1846, 1849, 1854, 1865, 1871, 1893, and 1902, particularly in Istanbul. Measures against these epidemics were hampered by technical failures, financial difficulties, rigid ideologies, and unplan ned policies. Nevertheless, the state continued to combat epidemics by strengthening legal regulations, improving the conditions for physicians, and enhancing the quality of health institutions.

Between 1908 and 1914, the chaotic environment, compounded by internal and ex ternal political conditions, was further strained by epidemics. Cholera epidemics, parti cularly severe in Istanbul from 1909 to 1913, were added to a series of events including the proclamation of Constitutionalism and the Balkan Wars. The surge in the disease during 1910 and 1911, exacerbated by refugees from the Balkan Wars, mobilized burea ucrats, physicians, and media. Parliamentary debates at the time show that combined efforts of civil and military bureaucrats, doctors, and vaccination processes helped miti gate cholera’s impact. The chaos in Istanbul due to cholera also highlighted the impor tance of social awareness. The early years of the period saw a boom in press and publis hing, which, coupled with print capitalism and logistical modernization, expanded information channels. The set of ideas that defined cholera and its characteristics aimed to break the misconceptions about the disease. These ideas focused on the relationship between nutrition and cholera, emphasizing how dietary habits could influence the spre ad and severity of the disease. Attention was drawn to the fine line between the digesti ve system and cholera, highlighting the importance of understanding how the disease affects and is affected by digestive health. The correct cleaning methods were pointed out, emphasizing their role in preventing the spread of cholera. Furthermore, practices that should be carried out to avoid contracting the disease were clearly explained. These comprehensive ideas and guidelines kept both individuals and institutions alert and in formed about the development and spread of cholera. 

Between 1909 and 1913, the problems caused by cholera, in addition to existing do mestic and foreign policy issues, intensified both collective and individual efforts to enhance intellectual discourse. When examining the intellectual atmosphere of the peri od, it is evident that reactions to epidemics such as cholera accelerated the public’s and individuals’ engagement with everyday, objective knowledge. As can be easily seen when the intellectual atmosphere of the period is investigated, the reaction to epidemics such as cholera accelerated the activities of the individual and society’s acquaintance with every day, objective knowledge. Cholera epidemics, which played a pivotal role in transforming the dynamics of the industrialized world, catalyzed significant changes during the Second Constitutional Monarchy years. The collective awareness, planning, and institutionalization developed during these epidemics significantly impacted health and municipal policies inherited by the Republican Era. The psychological distress cau sed by epidemics among individuals, cities, and states also shaped these policies.

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Akagündüz, Ü. (2024). Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914). Recent Period Turkish Studies, 0(45), 91-124.


Akagündüz Ü. Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914). Recent Period Turkish Studies. 2024;0(45):91-124.


Akagündüz, Ü. Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914). Recent Period Turkish Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 45, p. 91-124, 2024.

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Akagündüz, Ümüt,. Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914).” Recent Period Turkish Studies 0, no. 45 (Jul. 2024): 91-124.

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Akagündüz, Ümüt,. Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914).” Recent Period Turkish Studies, vol. 0, no. 45, 2024, pp. 91-124. [Database Container],


Akagündüz Ü. Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914). Recent Period Turkish Studies [Internet]. 24 Jul. 2024 [cited 24 Jul. 2024];0(45):91-124. Available from: doi: 10.26650/YTA2024-1358719


Akagündüz, Ümüt. Efforts to Raise Social Awareness Against Cholera During the Second Constitutional Years (1908-1914)”. Recent Period Turkish Studies 0/45 (Jul. 2024): 91-124.


Published Online05.07.2024


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