Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mar 31, 1821 ~ Massacre on Chios, Greece

WIKI - The Chios massacre in 1821, refers to when Turkish soldiers began the massacre of thousands of Greeks around the Ottoman Empire.
In one of the most notorious occurrences, the Chios Massacre during 1822, about 42,000 Greek islanders of Chios were hanged, butchered, starved or tortured to death; 50,000 were enslaved; and 23,000 were exiled. Less than 2,000 managed to survive on the island. The Greek word katastrofi (which also means "destruction" or "ruin") is commonly used to describe these events. The island itself was devastated and the few survivors dispersed throughout Europe in what is now known as the Chian Diaspora. German Admiral Wilhelm Canaris claimed to have been descended from the Diaspora. The massacre was well-documented and reported and sparked outrage in Europe. French painter Eugène Delacroix painted a masterpiece depicting the horrors that occurred.
For 2000 years, Chios merchants and ship-owners had dominated trade and diplomacy throughout the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Mediterranean. The Ottoman Empire had allowed Chios unique and 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 Sultan. The cosmopolitan Chians were also very prominent in Constantinople. Following the massacre, the island never regained its commercial prominence.

In Chios you can see the scars of the massacre. About 25km from Hora is the isolated mountain town of Anavatos perched on a hill.

This town is completely abandoned. All of its people were killed or threw themselves off the cliffs rather than be captured by Ottoman Turkish troops, and no one ever moved back. It remains a ghost town and a memorial to the dead. It is maintained and parts are being restored, but nature is taking over.

Nearby is the monastery of Nea Moni, founded in the 11th century and built by Constantine Monomachos. During the Massacre of Chios, 3,500 women and children sought refuge in the fortified monastery which was ultimately penetrated by the Ottoman Turks, who killed the refugees and the 600 monks who lived there. The remains of the monks are kept in a public ossuary as a reminder of the tragedy. (last three photos and text for them taken from
Dean Christakos' site).


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