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The Chios Massacre refers to the slaughter of tens of thousands of Greeks on the island of Chios by Ottoman troops in 1822.[1]



For over 2,000 years, Chios merchants and shipowners had been prominent in trade and diplomacy throughout the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean. The Ottoman Empire allowed Chios almost complete control over its own affairs as Chian trade and the very highly-valued mastic plant harvested only on Chios were of great value to the Empire. The cosmopolitan Chians were also very prominent in Constantinople. Following the massacre, however, the island never regained its commercial prominence.

Historians have noted that the island's ruling classes were reluctant to join the Greek revolt, fearing the loss of their security and prosperity.[2] Furthermore, they were aware that they were situated far too close to the Turkish heartland in Asia Minor to be safe.[3] At some points, Chios is only two miles from the Anatolian mainland.


Georgios Stravelakis was a survivor of the Massacre of Chios, sold into slavery[4] he eventually became Prime Minister of the Tunis, from 1837 to 1873.[5]

In March 1822, several hundred armed Greeks from the neighbouring island of Samos landed in Chios. They began destroying mosques and attacking the Turks, who retreated to the citadel. Many islanders also decided to join the Revolution.[3] However, the vast majority of the population had by all accounts done nothing to provoke the massacre, and had not joined other Greeks in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire.[6]

Approximately 82,000 Greek islanders of Chios were hanged, butchered, starved or tortured to death. 50,000 Greeks were enslaved and another 23,000 were exiled. Fewer than 2,000 Greeks managed to survive on the island. The Greek word sfaghi (English: butchery or massacre) is commonly used to describe these events since the island itself was devastated and the few survivors that dispersed throughout Europe became part of the Chian Diaspora. Some young Greeks enslaved during the massacre were adopted by wealthy Ottomans and converted to Islam, some even managing to rise to levels of prominence in the Ottoman Empire such as Georgios Stravelakis later renamed Mustapha Khaznadar and İbrahim Edhem Pasha[7].

The massacre was well-documented and reported, which sparked significant levels of outrage in Europe. French painter Eugène Delacroix painted a masterpiece depicting the horrors that occurred; his painting was named Scenes from the Massacres of Chios. Copy of the painting was found in the local Byzantine museum of Chios, but was withdrawn on November 2009. Greek press protested that the withdrawal was a bizarre "good faith initiative" for the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ Dadrian, Vahakn N. Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict. p. 153.
  2. ^ William St. Clair. That Greece Might Still Be Free, The Philhellenes in the War of Independence. London: Oxford University Press, 1972, ISBN 0192151940, p. 79.
  3. ^ a b William St. Clair, p. 79.
  4. ^ Simon, Reeva S. – Mattar, Philip – Bulliet, Richard W. (1996). Encyclopedia of the modern Middle East. Macmillan Reference USA. p. 1018. ISBN 0028970624. "Mustafa Khaznader was born Georges Kalkias Stravelakis, on the island of Chios. In 1821, during the Greek rebellion against the Turks, he was seized, taken to Constantinople, and sold into slavery, In 1821 he was sent to Tunis, where he was sold again."  
  5. ^ Morsy, Magali (1984). orth Africa, 1800-1900: a survey from the Nile Valley to the Atlantic. Longman. p. 185. ISBN 0582783771. "Mustafa Khaznadar became Prime Minister in 1837, a position he maintained under three successive bey-s, more or less continuously until 1873."  
  6. ^ Argenti, Philip P. "The Massacre of Chios" (reviewed by Paul F. Shupp). The Journal of Modern History. Vol. 5, No. 3 (Sept. 1933), p. 414.
  7. ^ Littell, Eliakim (1888). The Living age. The Living Age Co.. p. 614. OCLC 10173561. "Edhem Pasha was a Greek by birth, pure and unadulterated, having when an infant been stolen from the island of Chios at the time of the great massacre there"  
  8. ^, artile from newspaper 'Eleftheri Ora'
  9. ^ Chios complete guide.

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