Chios Massacre and the chiotic diaspora Nov 14, 2008 2:17:53 GMT -5
Post by ILIRI I MADH on Nov 14, 2008 2:17:53 GMT -5
The Chios Massacre refers to the slaughter of tens of thousands of Greeks on the island of Chios by Ottoman troops in 1822.
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. Furthermore, they were aware that they were situated far too close to the Turkish heartland in Asia Minor to be safe. At some points, Chios is only two miles from the Anatolian mainland.
In March of 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. 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.
Approximately 42,000 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 katastrofi (English: catastrophe) 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. 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.
German Admiral Wilhelm Canaris claimed to have been descended from the Chian Diaspora.
Chinese Artist Yue Minjun has created his own interpretation of the Eugène Delacroix painting, also called 'Massacre of Chios', which itself sold for nearly $4.1 million in 2007.