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Turkey: A Bird and a Country

[ ["Tough on Turkey" by Bernhard Gillam. Illustration shows the British lion and the Russian Bear threatening a turkey dressed as a "Turk." Original caption: "England and Russia, together 'Be my ally, or I'll give you the worst thrashing you ever had in your life!'" Published in 22 April 1885 issue of Pluck. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.]

Why does a familiar bird and typical Thanksgiving Day meal have the same name as the country of Turkey? What is the name for the turkey in other languages? Is there any link between the spread of turkeys into the Anglophone world and the Ottoman Empire? In this episode, we answer these questions and discuss more broadly the historical context within which the turkey and other foods such as potatoes and corn became part of global diets.

Contributor Bios

Chris Gratien is the editor and co-host of Ottoman History Podcast and a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Georgetown University, researching the social environmental history of Ottoman Anatolia and Syria.

Listen to Episode #80 of Ottoman History Podcast with Chris Gratien entitled “Turkey: A Bird and A Country"


MP3 File


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