Content:File:SAINT_STEPHEN_ETIENNE_ARMENIAN_CHURCH_SMYRNA_Postcard_c._1907.JPG: İzmir's remarkable growth began in the late 16th century when cotton and other products of the region brought French, English, Dutch and Venetian traders here. With the privileged trading conditions accorded to foreigners in 1620 (these were the infamous Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire that were later to cause a serious threat and setback for the Ottoman state in its decline), İzmir began to be one of the foremost trade centers of the Empire. Foreign consulates moved from Chios to the city by the early 17th century (1619 for the France Consulate, 1621 for the United Kingdom), serving as trade centers for their nations. Each consulate had its own quay, where the ships under their flag would anchor. The long campaign for the conquest of Crete (22 years between 1648 and 1669) also considerably enhanced İzmir's position within the Ottoman realm since the city served as a port of dispatch and supply for the troops. Despite facing a plague in 1676, an earthquake in 1688 and a List of historic fires in 1743, the city continued to grow. By the end of the 17th century, the population was estimated at around ninety thousand, the Turks forming the majority (about 60,000); there were also 15,000 Greeks, 8,000 Armenians and 6,000 to 7,000 Jews, as well as a considerable section made up of France, England, Netherlands and Italy merchants. In the meantime, the Ottomans had allowed İzmir's inner bay dominated by the port castle to silt up progressively (the location of the present-day Kemeraltı bazaar zone) and the port castle ceased to be of use.In 1770, the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by Russian forces at the Battle of Çeşme, located near the city. This triggered fanatical Muslim groups to proceed to the massacre of c. 1,500 local Greeks. Later, in 1797 a riot resulting from the indiscipline of janissaries corps led to massive destruction of the Frankish merchant community and the killing of 1,500 members of the city's Greek community.The first railway lines to be built within the present-day territory of Turkey went from İzmir. A İzmir-Aydın railway was started in 1856 and finished in 1867, a year later than the Smyrne Cassaba & Prolongements, itself started in 1863.A short line built in Dobruja (now in Romania) was started and finished earlier. The wide arc of the Smyrna-Cassaba line advancing in a wide arc to the north-west from İzmir, through the Karşıyaka suburb, contributed greatly to the development of the northern shores as urban areas. These new developments, typical of the Industrialisation and the way the city attracted merchants and middlemen gradually changed the demographic structure of the city, its culture and its Ottoman character. In 1867, İzmir finally became the center of its own vilayet, still called by neighboring Aydın's name but with its own administrative area covering a large part of Turkey's present-day Aegean Region.In the late 19th century, the port was threatened by a build-up of silt in the gulf and an initiative, unique in the history of the Ottoman Empire, was undertaken in 1886. In order to redirect the silt, the bed of the Gediz River was redirected to its present-day northern course, so that it no longer flowed into the gulf. The beginning of the 20th century saw İzmir take on the look of a global metropolis with a cosmopolitan city center. According to the 1893 Ottoman census, more than half of the population was Turkish, with 133,800 Greeks, 9,200 Armenians, 17,200 Jews, and 54,600 foreign nationals. According to author Katherine Flemming, by 1919, Smyrna's 150,000 Greeks made up just under half of the population, outnumbering the Turks in the city two to one,Fleming Katherine Elizabeth. . Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008, p. 81. . while the American Consul General, George Horton, records 165,000 Turks, 150,000 Greeks, 25,000 Jews, 25,000 Armenians, and 20,000 foreigners (Italians, French, British, Americans). According to Henry Morgenthau and Trudy Ring, before World War I, the Greeks alone numbered 130,000, out of a total population of 250,000.Ring Trudy, Salkin Robert M., La Boda Sharon. . Taylor & Francis, 1995. , p. 351Morgenthau Henry. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1918, p. 32. Moreover, according to various scholars, prior to the war, the city hosted more Greeks than Athens, the capital of Greece. The Ottoman Empire ruling class of that era referred to the city as Infidel Smyrna (Giaour İzmir) due to its strong Greek presence.