Asia Minor is the name given to the western peninsula of Asia, forming part of Turkey in Asia. Its area is about 200,000 square miles. It is the western prolongation of the high tableland of Armenia, with bare steppes, salt plains, marshes and lakes. Along the coast are mountains, from 4,000 to 6,000 feet high to the north, and on the south the Taurus range, from 10,000 to 12,000 feet in height. In general the climate is like that of southern Europe. The inhabitants, some 10,500,000 in number, are of various races. The ruling race is the Turks, who number about 1,200,000. Allied to them are the Turkomans and Yarruks, who are nomads. Another nomadic people are the Kurds, and in the mountains are the robber tribes of the Lazes. The Greeks and Armenians are most progressive and have most of the trade, and with the Jews own most of the land.
Here were the ancient and famous countries of Ionia, Phrygia, Lydia, Galatia, Cilicia and Cappadocia, with Troy, Ephesus, Smyrna and many other noted cities. Asia Minor was the scene of great conquests. Here took place the wars of the Medes and Persians with the Scythians, of the Greeks with the Persians, of the Romans with Mithradates and the Parthians, of the Arabs, Mongols and Turks with the Byzantine empire. Notwithstanding all these wars, the country still enjoyed some measure of prosperity, until it fell into the hands of the Turks, whose harsh military rule has almost ruined it. The chief modern vilayets (Turkish provinces) are Smyrna, Angora, Trebizond, Ismid, Konia and Brussa. A number of railways now traverse Asia Minor.