Chios History

Archaeological remains found in the areas of Emporios and Galas Saint of Chios, prove the existence of an important culture during the Neolithic Age and Bronze Age (6000 BC - 1100 BC). The first inhabitants were the Pelasgians and Kares. According to mythology, in 1500 BC the first king of Chios was Oinopionas, who came from Crete and introduced to the island the cultivation of vine.

Later, in mid-11th century Chios was inhabited by Aeolians and Ionians. The latter created a remarkable civilization, developed a great naval power and conquered great cities of the ancient world. Furthermore, according to tradition, Chios is the birthplace of Homer. The great ancient epic poet rumored to have lived on the island during the eighth century BC.


In 493 BC the Persians conquered and plundered the island of Chios. The islanders managed to free themselves after the battle of Mycale in 479 BC and later participated with their fleet to the Athenian Alliance. In 332 BC the island was occupied by Alexander the Great who imposed Macedonian guard.


In the middle of the second century BC, Chios was annexed to the Roman Empire and then to the Byzantine. The central location of the island and the large trading development make it important for the Byzantine Empire, resulting in the 11th century to build the Castle of the capital and the New Monastery under the orders of the emperor.


In 1346 Chios was conquered by the Genoese and despite the oppressive nature of their power, the island presents great both economic and cultural development. Trade and agriculture flourishes and the port becomes one of the largest of the time. Moreover, a Genoese company called Maona organizes the production, which is primarily based on mastic and citrus fruits and as a result the products of mastic become widely known throughout the west.


In 1566 Chios passed into Ottoman hands. In the early 18th century, the island has long boom because of increased productions of silk. In addition, in 1792 was founded the School of Chios from important intellectuals like Adamantios Korais have graduated.


During the revolution of 1821, Chios suffered one of the biggest disasters ever happened in Greek history. In March 1822, the locals led by Lycurgus Logothetis rose up against Ottoman rule. However, the Ottoman fleet on March 30, 1822 quelled the revolt and massacred the population of the island. Under the command of the Ottman chief Kara Ali, 30,000 people were killed and about 50,000 were enslaved within two months. The army looted and burnt the entire island.

The destruction of Chios sensitized the Western world for the revolution in Greece and instigated the help of Europe to throw off the Ottoman yoke. There was also a source of inspiration for the art world. Feature creation is the world famous painting “The Massacre of Chios” made by the great artist Eugène Delacroix. In June 1822 Constantine Kanaris fired the Ottoman flagship at Chios port killing Kara Ali. Eventually, Chios was released on November 11, 1912 during the First Balkan War.


During the Asia Minor destruction in 1922 in the island will be installed many refugees. Finally, during World War II Chios was subordinated to the Germans until the middle of September of 1944 that it regained its freedom.

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