In ancient times, people of Misya lived in and around Balıkesir. The Mysians, who could not establish an independent state; They lived under the rule of Troy, Hittite, Phrygian, Persian (Iranians), Alexander the Great and Bergama kingdoms. After the death of the king of Pergamon, BC. It was conquered by the Romans in 129 BC. The Romans exploited and oppressed the region for a long time with tax and slavery systems. M.S. After the Roman Empire was divided into East and West in 395; A new and long period began for the Balıkesir region, which remained in the Eastern Roman Empire, whose capital was Constantinople (Istanbul). The Byzantine Empire, which was quite strong in military and economic terms, continued its dominance in this region for many years.
Hz. During the time of Muawiya, Muslim Arabs declared that he would be conquered by Hz. When they went on an expedition to take the capital city of Constantinople, which was heralded by the Prophet, the region encountered Muslims for the first time, and AD. Between the years 670-678 it remained under the rule of the Arabs. Although the Islamic army kept it under siege for 5 years until 678, it was not able to take the city and withdrew. However, Byzantium, which was weakened by civil wars and external attacks, finally fell into the hands of the feudal lords.
In 1071, with the Battle of Manzikert, which Alparslan won against the Byzantine Emperor Romanos Diogenes, the gates of Anatolia were completely opened to the Turks. Mass migrations continued with the conquests. Thus, the Turkish period began in Anatolia. Kutalmış son Süleyman, who founded the Seljuk State in Anatolia, also captured Çanakkale, the Sea of Islands (Aegean), Lydia and Ionian sides after Iznik. In 1076, he took the cities of Misya from the Byzantines and brought them under Turkish rule. However, as a result of the Crusades and after the death of Kılıç Arslan I, the Seljuks had to withdraw from Western Anatolia. The Byzantines, who recaptured the cities of Misya, started a mass slaughter operation against the Turkish people there.
Starting from 1206, the Turkmens, who were one of the extreme principalities of the Seljuks, began to raid the cities of Misya, especially around the Edremit Bay. Most of the Byzantines left the region to the Turks and evacuated the region. The Turkish tribes fleeing from the Mongol raids came and settled in Western Anatolia and the Marmara Region in 1260, reaching a majority as much as the Christian population in the region and Turkifying these areas. Apart from the Turkmen, many peasants, merchants and craftsmen belonging to other Turkish tribes also came from Turkistan and settled in the region. At this time, the Seljuk State had weakened and its control was lost in areas far from the center.
Some Oghuz tribes, who settled in the west of Anatolia during the Seljuk state, established "Uc Principalities" here. One of these extremist principalities, which both protected the Seljuk border and organized raids into Byzantium; XIII. in Misya in Western Anatolia. It is the Karesi Principality, which was founded at the end of the century. The word "Karesi" originated from the name Karesi Bey (Black Isa), who came to the region with a large Turkmen group and was an important commander of the Seljuk State. Just before the collapse of the Seljuk State, Karesi Bey, like other border lords, declared his independence and established the Karesi Principality in the region around 1300. He further expanded the borders of his principality, which was named after him, by taking advantage of the weakness of the Byzantines and the men of Sarı Saltuk who were with him. Karesi Principality, apart from Balıkesir, which it made its center; It had settlements in Bergama, İvrindi, Ayazmend (Altinova), Edremit, Kemer Edremit (Burhaniye), Bayramiç, Ayvacık, Ezine, Fırt (Susurluk), Bigadiç and Sındırgı. In these years, the Karesi Principality was in a stronger position in terms of naval power than its neighbor, the Ottoman Principality government. During the time of Aclan Bey, who succeeded Karesi Bey, very good relations were established with the Ottoman Principality. In fact, his son Dursun Bey was with Orhan Gazi in Bursa. Demirhan Bey, his eldest son, who came to power after Aclan Bey, was behaving badly to the extent of cruelty towards his people. The people who complained about this situation and the notables of the principality; They invited Dursun Bey in Bursa.
Dursun Bey, who came with Orhan Gazi in 1345, was killed by his elder brother Demirhan Bey, who took shelter in the Bergama castle. Orhan Gazi, who was very upset by this situation, added the lands of the Karesi Principality to the Ottomans upon the request of the people and the notables.
The Ottoman Empire, which was still in its foundation period, became quite strong with the participation of the Karesi Principality. In addition, Evrenos Bey, who was one of the leading commanders of Karesi, gained great military support with Hacı İlbey, Ece Halil and Gazi Fazıl Bey. As a matter of fact, these gentlemen played an important role in the success of the Ottoman military raids. Especially with the strong navy transferred from Karesi Principality, the Ottoman army made expeditions to the Rumelian sides that resulted in decisive victories. Thus, the Ottomans; With the people who joined this principality voluntarily, a large Turkish population gained, and with valuable commanders, military power and a good navy were gained.
Orhan Gazi made Karesi a sanjak attached to the center and made Karesi Sanjak without changing its name. He appointed his son, Şehzade Süleyman, to Balıkesiri, the center of the sanjak, as the governor of the sanjak. Thus, Karesi also became a Prince Sanjak.
After Yıldırım Beyazid was defeated by Timur in Ankara in 1402, Balıkesir and its surroundings were also exposed to the looting of the Timurid army. Principalities began to be established in the lands of the stagnant Ottoman State and the brothers began to fight for the throne among themselves. This situation lasted until Timur's withdrawal from Anatolia and Çelebi Mehmed's recovery of the Ottoman Empire. The country, which regained its former peace and order; It was the scene of some negative events such as famine (1502), grasshopper epidemic (1525), madrasa students (suhte) rebellion (1572) and other rebellions that occurred from time to time during the periods of progress and rise, and Balıkesir and its surroundings were also affected by these events.
XVII century. Various Turkish tribes such as Yörük, Türkmen and Çepni came and settled in the Balıkesir region during the migration movements that took place at the end of the year. The state, which wanted to solve the immigration problem, which continued in the following years, from the root, XIX. By following a planned settlement policy in the 19th century, he placed many tribes and communities living in a nomadic state in suitable places and enabled them to settle down.
Karesi under the administration of the Ottoman State; experienced the joy and prosperity of the establishment and rise of the state; also shared the sadness and distress of periods of stagnation and regression. Thus, as a result of many economic, political, military and administrative events both throughout the country and in the region, the late 1800s, which can be considered the last period of the Ottoman Empire, had come.
The European States, fearing that their receivables would be endangered as a result of the financial bankruptcy of the Ottoman Empire by not being able to pay its foreign debts, had the Duyûn-ı Umûmiye (General debts) administration established in 1880. They directly collected some of the state revenues with the Duyûn-i Umûmiye branches. They have operated for years in high-income areas of the region such as Balıkesir, Ayvalık and Bandırma, as well as all over the country.
Balıkesir received a large number of immigrants from the Balkans as a result of the Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-1878, which is known as the "93 War", and the Balkan War of 1912-1913. Many people who escaped the massacre of the Russians and Bulgarians came and settled in Balıkesir and its surroundings. In addition, people who came from the Caucasus lands and especially from the Crimea, which were captured by the Russians, were settled in various parts of the region.
One of the many fronts where the soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, who entered the First World War between 1914-1918, fought, is the Dardanelles War in the region. This war had a negative impact on Balıkesir as well as all over the country. The Greeks, who took advantage of this situation of the Turks, who were defeated in the First World War and fell very weak, set their sights on the lands of Western Anatolia. Other European states also supported the occupation of Greece. The Turkish people, who were under the threat of the Allied Powers and did not have enough soldiers and weapons, and saw that the state was helpless, started to establish defense societies. The Greeks, who entered Izmir on May 15, 1919, began to spread their occupation into Anatolia. Ayvalık was occupied for the first time in the Balıkesir region on 29 May. The first armed struggle against the Greeks took place in Ayvalık. Meanwhile, on May 18, a "Redd-i İlhak" delegation was formed in Balıkesir under the chairmanship of Vehbi (Bolak) Bey. This delegation of 41 people, formed in Alaca Mescid, started its activities immediately. I. and II. held on 26-31 July 1919 and 16-22 September 1919. As a result of Balıkesir Congresses, Kuva-yi Milliye organizations were established in each region.
Captain Kemal, who came to Balikesir from Istanbul for the National Struggle, immediately began to form military units. These units were colliding with the Greeks from time to time to prevent the invasion. The Soma and Akhisar fronts were the most important of them. But the National forces, which do not have enough soldiers and weapons; They could only last one year against the strong Greek, both in numbers and in equipment.
With the disintegration of the Soma-Akhisar front, the Greek occupation began to spread inland as of June 22, 1920. The biggest helpers of the Greeks, who also tortured the people, were the local Greeks who lived here before. These people, who lived together for years, betrayed the Turks, from whom they had never seen any harm, when the conditions changed. The Greeks, who occupied the districts, and the Kuva-yi Milliye forces had never left them alone, and they had intimidated them with resistance and raids. Meanwhile, the people of Balıkesir supported and cooperated with Mustafa Kemal, who called on the Turkish people in Anatolia to resist the Greeks and tried to establish a regular army. In terms of the Turkish National Struggle, this city has a very special and special place. The Turks, who proved once again that they owned the Anatolian lands with the victory in Sakarya, were able to successfully exit the War of Independence with the Greeks pouring into the sea in Izmir on September 9, 1922. All Balikesir and its districts were saved in 3-4 days in the first week of September. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire left the stage of history, leaving its place to the Republic of Turkey.