History of Icel

The excavations at Mount Yumuktepe proved that there had been twelve successive settlements in this region beginning with the Neolithic Period. Being a strategic port, Icel was eyed by many states and civilizations such as Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Egyptian Tulunids, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Crusaders, Armenians, Mamluks, Anatolian beyliks, and finally the Ottomans.

However, when Constantinople became the major trade center, investments and tradesmen also shifted there, and Mersin became less important. During the American Civil War, the region became a major supplier of cotton to make up for the high demand due to shortage. Railroads were extended to Mersin in 1866 from where cotton was exported by sea. In due course, the city developed into a major port and trade center. The city was conquered by Ottomans in 1473 until 1918 when occupied by French and British troops in accord with the Treaty of Sevrès. It was liberated by the Turkish army in 1920. In 1924, Mersin was made a province, and in 1933, Mersin and Içel provinces were joined to form the (greater Mersin) Içel province.