Edwin Pears

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Sir Edwin Pears (18 March 1835 – 27 November 1919) was a British barrister, publicist, and historian. He lived in Constantinople for about forty years and he is known for his 1911 book Turkey and its People.

Early life

Pears was born on 18 March 1835 in York, England. He was educated privately and at the University of London where he took first-class honours in Roman law and jurisprudence.

Pears was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1870. He was also private secretary to Frederick Temple, then Bishop of Exeter, and later Archbishop of Canterbury. Pears was also secretary to various associations connected with social work in London.


Pears settled in Constantinople in 1873. He practised in the consular courts[1] and becoming president of the European bar there. He rose to become one of the leaders of the British colony in Constantinople.[2]

Pears travelled much through Turkish dominions, and studied Turkish history from both the Turkish and foreign perspectives.[3]

In this way, Pears acquired an intimate knowledge of Turkey. In 1876, as correspondent of The Daily News, he sent letters home describing Ottoman atrocities and the April Uprising in Bulgaria[4] which aroused popular demonstrations in England led by William Ewart Gladstone.[3] At the time, the reports of these atrocities were generally disbelieved and Pears' letters placed all the incontrovertible facts before the English people.[5]

In 1885, Pears wrote The Fall of Constantinople, a Story of the Fourth Crusade. This book is regarded as essential reading for the study of the Ottoman constitutional revolution of 1908.[2]

In 1909, Pears was knighted, returning to London to receive the honour in person on 22 July 1909.[6]

In 1911, Pears wrote the book Turkey and its People. It is regarded as his most distinguished book. In that book, he displayed his expert knowledge of Byzantine Constantinople. The book contains original material on the nationalities of the Ottoman empire.[2] The book was an attempt to interpret Turkey to the western people.[3]


Pears died on 27 November 1919 in Malta from an accident on his journey home from Constantinople.

See also


  1. The London Gazette: no. 25252. p. 3681. 20 July 1883. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Walker, Christopher J. (2005). Visions of Ararat: Writings on Armenia. I.B. Tauris. p. 105. ISBN 1-85043-888-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Doran, George H. (March 24, 1912). "ALL THE TURKS; Sir Edwin Pears Writes Authoritatively on the Turkish Peoples" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Modern History Sourcebook: Sir Edwin Pears: The Massacre of Bulgarians, 1876". Fordham University. Retrieved 2008-05-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Morgenthau, Henry (2000). Ambassador Morgenthau's Story. Gomidas Institute. p. 171. ISBN 0-9535191-2-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. The London Gazette: no. 28275. p. 5805. 30 July 1909. Retrieved 2008-05-16.


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pears, Sir Edwin". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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Further reading

  • Pears, Edwin. Turkey and its People. New York, George H. Doran Comp., 1912. In [1]