Who are the Pontian Greeks?

In brief, the Pontians colonized the Southern Shores of the Black Sea; known as Pontos.  These individuals migrated to Pontos during the early times of the Byzantine Empire.

Many of these individuals were Christians, who over the years, lived peacefully amongst others of different religious denominations, and different ethic and cultural backgrounds.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, immense pressure fell upon the Pontians to conform and convert to Islam. Factors such as the geography of Pontos, as well as the economic independence Pontians had in Pontos assisted them in resisting converting to Islam.  Eventually during the 17th and 18th centuries forceful conversions took place. Thousands of Pontians migrated out of Pontos to other areas of the Black Sea, and Russia to avoid the forceful conversions. If these individuals did not migrate out of Pontos, they ran the risk of persecution. The Pontians that remained in Pontos faced genocide in the 20th century.