Paphlagonia should be described as a territorial enclave. The most important reason for this is the fact that this region has a very narrow coastal strip except for a very few exceptions. As we will see later when analyzing the history of Paphlagonia, although the interior areas were inhabited in prehistorical times, the shore areas started to be used only after Milet became a commercial colony. Paphlagonia’s connection with the sea was provided with Bartın (river port) and Amasra on the west and the İnebolu and Sinop ports on the east. The interior areas were enlivened with the abundant waters of the rivers at the bottom of the valleys and extending parallel to the sea. The valleys not only offered opportunities for agriculture and animal husbandry but also a geomorphological opportunity for the caravan roads that extended east west and attained the ports of Istanbul, Sinop and Samsun.7
From the country of the Kaskians to the Kastamonu Sancak
Hittite and Hellenistic sources cite that the oldest known tribe of the region is the Kaskian tribe that speaks one of the oldest languages of Anatolia known to belong to the Indo-European language group. Hellenistic sources dating of the 1st millennium BC mention the Paphlagonians. The region later falls into the influence area of the Hittites. The Iliad known to have been compiled in the 9th-8th centuries BC mentions the Paphlagonians as one of the Anatolian tribes that come to the rescue of their countrymen during the Trojan War.
The Paphlagonians Pylaemenes rules,
Where rich Henetia breeds her savage mules,
Where Erythinus' rising cliffs are seen,
Thy groves of box, Cytorus! ever green,
And where Ægialus and Cromna lie,
And lofty Sesamus invades the sky,
And where Parthenius, roll'd through banks of flowers, Reflects her bordering palaces and
sovereignty during the period of Alexander and the following period of the Macedonian Kingdom, the region was ruled by local princes. Later it came under the sovereignty of the Pontus. In the 5th century AD, during the Roman period, Paphlagonia was used as the official name of the province. The people of Paphlagonia that was an important animal husbandry of Rome raised mules as well as all kinds of animals for meat, milk and saddle. We know from sources that these animals reached the ports of Izmit and Gemlik through Kastamonu and Gerede and were sent to all the overseas provinces of Rome from these ports.
There were 9 cities in Paphlagionia whose capital was Gangra (Çankırı).9 They were Gangra, Tion (Hisarönü), Krateia (Gerede), Hadrianapolis (near Eskipazar), Sora (near Karabük), Ionopolis (İnebolu), Dadibra (Safranbolu), and Amastris (Amasra). Various sources point out particularly that the region that came under the Eastern Roman Empire followed by the Byzantine Empire never Hellenized. So much so that they always used the grammatical structure of Anatolian languages although they used Greek words. The books of travels of foreign scientists travelling through the area in the 19th century indicate that there was an important monastery system in the area administered by patriarchs during the Byzantine period. The monasteries that were an element of agricultural production had an important function in the economy of the region.
Turks began to be effective in the region in the 11th century after they occupied Sinop. The actual settlement of the Seljuqs in the region came about in the 12th century with their getting hold of an important section of the region with Sinop (Sinope), Kastamonu (Castamon), Safranbolu (Dadybra) forming the boundaries. Following the Anatolian Seljuqs, the region was ruled by the Principality of Çobanoğulları (1292-1461). During the Ottoman period it became the Kastamonu Sanjak.
7 Belke (1996)
9 İS 297 Civil Arrangement, Ramsay 1890 p. 196-