Culture and history info
It is suggested that the ancient Thia (Θεία in Greek, a settlement of Roman, Late Roman and Byzantine periods) was located 4 miles west of modern Gümüşhane, in modern Beşkilise. In Byzantine period, there was a town named Tzanicha or Tzantzakon (Τζάνιχα, Τζάντζακον in Byzantine Greek), possibly located 2 miles to the west of Gümüşhane.
Around 840 AD, the area was included in the new Roman (Byzantine) province of Chaldia (Χαλδία). It was later ruled by the Byzantine Empire of Trebizond.
During Ottoman years, the sanjak of Gümüşhane fell under the administration successively Rum Province, Erzurum Province and Trabzon Province, and was divided into four kazas: Gümüşhane, Torul (capital city Ardassa), Şiran (Cheriana), and Kelkit (Keltik).
The sanjak in which Gümüşhane was situated at some stage comprised 37 mines of argentiferous lead and six copper mines. There is no evidence that these mines were in use during Byzantine times.
As for the name of the city during the Ottoman period, Greek-speaking population was also using the name Gümüşhane (Γκιμισχανά and Κιουμουσχανά) but, in the first decades of 19th century, the hellenized form Argyròpolis (Αργυρόπολις, from argyros "silver" and polis "city") was established.
The Arghyropolis belonged to the Diocese of Chaldie (145 communities, 77,845 inhabitants). During the 1914-1918 Persecution of Greeks, the Turkish authorities boycott the Christians. The boycott deprived the Christians of all they possessed and reduced them to absolute poverty. The organizer of the boycott was the Djemal Azmi, Vali of Trebizonde, under whose orders were the Governor of Arghyropolis and others. In the sterile region of Argliyropolis the distress was great, because the inhabitants were entirely dependent for their existence on their local trade, and that from Russia. General mobilization was also among the causes conducive to the ruin of the Greek communities, for the male inhabitants who supported their families were taken away from their homes. The Turkish officers treated the Greeks shameful and brutal, making many Greeks to desert. This was the situation before the Russian advance.
The Russian advance gave rise to a fresh outburst of fanaticism against the Greek element, the Turks from Turkish villages plundered the Christian villages of the region. During the Turkish retreat, the Turks pillaged many Greek villages of the region, the inhabitants took to the mountains and their property was plundered. Later on the retreat of the Russians, the Turks returned and the few inhabitants that remained in these villages, deprived of all resources and left to die of hunger.