Crete as described in Historic Encyclopedias

Brockhaus 1809-1811, Pierer 1857-1865, Anskjaer 1858-1863, Meyer 1885-1892, Nordisk Familje-Bok 1904-1926

Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Candia (excerpts)
Candia, a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, belonging to European Turkey.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Kreta
Crete, largest Greek island, in Italian Candia (see there). From east to west stretching about 36 geographic miles; hence called Macronessos = long island. Of various width, area 190 squae miles, very fertile in oranges, olives, grain, cotton, plane trees, acorn, oaks, cedar trees, medicinal plants, honey, iron, sandstone, located in the Cretan Sea, a part of the Mediterranean; it is traversed by a mountain chain, the highest mountain of which, in he center of the island, is M. Ida, further west of Mt. Ida Kadrisos, then the Albi Montes (White Muntains), covered n snow all year, with the branchs Tityros, Kadistos, Diktynnaos, Korykos, in the east of Mt. Ida Argaos, Mons Sacer and Dicte (Dictaos). The most notanle promontories are on the north coast from west to east : Korykos, Psakon, Drepanon, Dion, Zephyrion, Ketia, on the east coast Sammonion, Itanon, Ampelos, on the south coast from east to west : Erythräon, Matala, Hermäa, Kriumetopon, on the west coast Treton; thwe rivers are only small, among them the Jardanos, Pyknos, Oaxes, Amnisos, Käratos, Lethaos, Elektra, Massalia. ...
source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Candia
Candia, Turkish Kirid, formerly Crete, island in the eastern Mediterranean between Morea, the Greek islands and Africa's northern coast, the largest of the islands belonging to the Turkish Empire, in its entire length traversed by a limestone mountain range which is closer to the southern coast than to the northern coast, which in the west in the White Mountains (Sfakiottici, Asprovouna) rise up to 4,300 feet and are snow-covered for 8-9 months per year, then in the islan's center the Psilonti (the Mt. Ida of Antiquity), which reaches an elevation of 7,200 feet, and further east ends in the Lassiti Mountains, the lowest of the island. The coasts are torn by deep bays and far protruding Capes, at the high, steep and almost inaccessible southern coast is Cape Metara (Theodia), which forms Messara Bay toward the west, and which also makes up the southernmost part of the island, at the southwestern end Cape Crio, toward the west the Capes St. Nicholas and St. Mare, at the northwestern tip Cape Buso and Spada, between both Kisamos Bay, further Kanea Bay and Cape Meleck (Melaka), Drepano, Retimo etc., on the east coast he Capes Salomone and Saero and Paleo Casro Bay and Suda Bay. The rivers are only short cascading mountain creeks, the most important the Messara in the south which feeds into Messara Bay, in the north Mylopotamos which feeds into Retimo Bay. The climate is mild and healthy, caused by the location in the sea, soil conditions and extent. Average temperature 13.4 degrees Reaumur, dominant wind from north (Embat), but occasionally the Sirocco from the south causes damage. The island is volcanic, earthquakes not rare, but it is also fertile and productive in all culicated plants, especially he plains of Gortyna, Candia, Canea, Girapetro, and it has excellent pastorage. Products : figs, oranges, pomegranades, cedar trees, myrtle bushes grow wild and partially form groves, firther oaks, chestnuts, plane trees, nuts. Agriculture used to be good and extended, produced much grain for export, but now is at such a low level that grain has to be imported; presently are xported olive oil, excellent raisins and wine (Malvasia), cotton, flax, honey, wax, silk, cheese, soap, skins, wool, annually in excess of 1 million Thalers in value. Animals on Crete : wild hogs, wolves, snakes, mountain goats, mufflon, rabbits; bred are horses, sheep, cattle, pigs and bees. Mineral products only gypsum, limestone, slate and grinding stone. Trade in the latter, especially at Canea, is considerable, but there is no mining and processing industry. Candia, together with a few surrounding islands, has a surface of 197 square miles and has 150,000 inhabitants, mostly Greeks, then Turks, Arabs, Albanians, also negro slaves, Sfakiots, Abadiots; their number, prior to the Greek struggle for independence, was 270,000 and they shall have numbered 1 million in earlier times. Administratively the island forms a pashalik with the capital Candia; it is divided in 3 Sanjaks. The Greeks, now only slightly oppressed, are under 15 bishops.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Anskjaer, Geografisk-Statistisk Haandbog 1858-1863, Article : Kandia eller Kreta
Kandia or Kreta, Turkish Krid, an island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean between 34 degrees 55 minutes and 35 degrees 40 minutes northern Latirude and 41 degrees 9 minutes and 44 degrees eastern Longitude, 153 square miles with about 220,000 inhabitants, of whom c. 100,000 Turks and the remainder Christians. It is traversed by a mountain chain subdivided in 4 groups, which near the island's center in Psiloriti (Ida) reaches a height of about 7,700 feet. The western part of the chain are the 'White Mountains'. Aspravuna or Sphakia, 7,100 feet, the eastern part, Sitia and Lasfi. Of the plains the one of Messara in the south is the most important. The northern coast is steep, but contains a large number of bays of which several provide good ports; the southern coast instead is without ports and nowhere facilitates safe landing. Of the many promontories are the best known on the northern coast Buso, Spada, Melada, Retimo, Sassofo, Zuane and Sidero, and on the south coast St. John, Theodia and Langada. The island has a large number of rivers, but most of them are mere mountain creeks, in the summer fallen dry. The climate is mild and healthy, but sometimes the island suffers from hot winds comingfrom Africa's desertsThe soil overall is well-suited for agriculture, and already in antiquity Crete was famous for wine, oil and honey. Presently agricultyure is rather neglected, and grain has to be imported. The only export articles are oil, wine, silk and Sphakia cheese. Kreta is a Turkish Eyalet and divided into 3 Livas. The seat of the governor general is Kandia on the northern coast 35 degrees 20 minutes northern latitude, 42 degrees 48 minutes eastern longitude, 12,000 nhabitants, mostly Muslims. The city further is the seat of a Greek archbishop, has 14 mosques, 2 Greek and one Armenian church. Soap production is the most important industry. The massive fiortifications have been built by the Venetians. In the vicinity is located the village Maskro Teiko with the ruins of ancient Knossos, the residence of King Minos.
source in Danish, posted by Project Runeberg

Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1885-1892, Article : Kreta
Kreta (in New Greek Kriti, in Turkish Kirid, in Italian Candia), a Mediterranean island forming a separate Vilayet of Turkey, located between 23 degrees 3 minutes and 26 degrees 20 minutes longiture east of Greenwich and 34 degrees 55 minutes and 35 degrees 41 minutes northern latitude, located o the south of the Aegean Sea, is extended from west to east, furthest length 255 km, width 12 - 56 km, area 8,618 square km (156,5 square miles). The island's coasts, almost everywhere, are steep, but the northern one has many bays (Mirabella Bay, Armyro Bay, Suda Bay, Kanea Bay, Kisamo Bay) and protruding promontories which provide excellent, large ports, while the partially inaccessible southern coast lacks of those. Among the promontories the most famous are Cape Busa and Cape Spatha (Psacum promontorium) in the west, the promontories Sidone and Salmone in the east, Cape Lithinos as southern extension. Crete's interior is traversed by a mountain chain broken up in 4 groups, which close to the island's centre in Mt. Ida or Psiloriti reaches a height of 2,456 m. The western part of the mountain chain are the White Mountains or Madaras Mountains, with Mt. Theodoro 2,469 m high, only in the summer months free of snow; the eastern part of the mountain chain is the Lassithi Mountains (2,164 m), and the entirely separate Aphentis Mountains (formerly Dikte). The mountains are formed of blackish, semi-crystalline limestone, which includes thin layers of slate. Noteworthy plains are those of Kandia, Kanea, the Mesara, Pediada etc. The island is rich in good potable water, but the rivers are rather cascading creeks; the most noteworthy are the Mylopotamo on the northern and the Mitropolipotamo on the southern coast. The climate is rather mild and healthy; only when the Scirocco blows over from Africa, the air glows in terrible stream and temperatures rise to 36 - 40 degrees Celsius. In the winter in the plains there is only rainfall, and only when temperature falls below 4 - 7 degrees, there is snowfall in the mountains. In the summer it never rains, but close to the coast there is a lot of dew. The soil is covered by green all year; orange trees, roses, hyacinths, narcisus, levkoys etc. are permanently in bloom. The soil is generally stony and sandy, but agriculture is highly profitable as already in antiquity Crete was famous for oil and honey. Presently cultivation is rather neglected. Insufficient grain is produced. Olive grows cover large areas, also the ladanum bush is widespread. Good flax, tobacco, licquerish, the carob bean tree, wine, almonds and citrus fruits grow plenty. The forests contain mainly oaks and plane trees, also myrtle bushes. On the southern slopes also palm trees. The only export rticles are : oil, wine, honey, wax, excellent silk, and Sphakia cheese, which is highly sought after in the Levant. Among the island fauna are cattle, small, vivid horses, wild hogs, wolves and huntable animals of various kinds. Produced minerals are only limestone, gypsum, grinding stone and slate. The population is mainly of Greek stock and was estimated in 1873 as consisting of 234,213 Christians, 37,840 Muslims, 3200 Jews, total 275,253; for 1879 the official Salname lists 224,623 male inhabitants alone. This division by confession does not coincide with a division by nationality and language, as the overwhelming majority of Muslims, by language, descent and customs are Greeks. Most purely Greek blood has been preserved among the Sphakiots, which inhabit the almost inconquerable valleys and plateaus of the Madaras Mountains, and which have been fully subjected only after the last rebellion of 1868. Proper Turks are found almost exclusively in the city of Candia, further a colony of several thousand Arabs near Kanea. The inhabitants faithful to the Greek church are under 15 bishops. Industry, trade and shipping are at a low level, the ports which used o flourish under Venetian rule almost all have silted up, most cities lie in ruins. The main port and trading place is Kanea, west of Kandia, on Kanea Bay. Administratively, the island, together with adjacent islands Dia, Gavdos, Gavdopulo forms a Turkish Vilayet which is divided in the 5 Sanjaks Kandia, Kanea, Laschid, Retimo and Sphakia. The caital is Kandia.
History. .. the island became Venetian, under which it remained until 1645. The capital Kandia fell only after a bloody siege lasting three years, which cost 150,000 lives, to the Turks in 1668. Under Turkish rule the island deteriorated. During the Greek Revolt Mehmed Ali of Egypt took possession of the island in compensation for the war expenses, but had to return it in 1841. When the national-Hellenic movement was revitalized on the occasion of the deposition of King Otho of Greece, and the misharvests of 1863-1865 caused the burden of Turkish taxation to be felt as unbearable, in 1866 a general rising erupted against foreign rule, the suppression of which by the Turks, strengthened by 6,000 Egyptians, was made difficult by the mountainous terrain. Further the rebellion was supported from Greece by donations and volunteers, and even the Powers, except for the British, advised the Porte to cede the island to Greece. This was rejected, and the neutrals limited themselves to bringing the inhabitants to safety in Greece, so that they were not exposed to revenge by the Turks. In 1867 finally Omer Pasha succeeded, by combined operations, to box in the rebels, and by strict severity, to control the occupied area. At the ame time the Porte declared a general amnesty and showed willingness to reforms. Grand Vezir Aali Pasha personally visited Crete in October 1867 and convened an assembly of delegates in Kanea, the suggestions of which, namely of a tax break for three years, were accepted. Now the rebelion lost in force; the powers, satisfied by the Turkish concessions, rejectd any further support and forced Greece early in 1869 to cut connections with Crete. So after 2 1/2 years of struggle, Crete was submitted to Turkish rule, who otherwise tried to make their rule less pressing. Namely Mukhtar Pasha who was sent to Crete in 1878 to cool renewed unrest, made considerable concessions to the inhabitants, such as a provincial convention of delegates, both Christian and Muslim, financial autonomy, military service being limited to service in the Cretan gendarmerie etc. Also the Greek Photiades was appointed provincial governor. But the opposition of the Christian inhabitants against Turkish rule, and the Greek lust for annexation, by these policies, were not entirely suffocated.
See : Höck, Kreta. Ein Versuch zur Aufhellung der Mythologie und Geschichte, der Religion und Verfassung dieser Insel (Götting. 1823-29, 3 Bde.); Spratt, Travels and researches in Crete (Lond. 1865, 2 Bde.); Raulin, Description de l'ile de Crete (Paris 1859-69, 3 vol.); Elpis Melena, Kretische Volkslieder etc. (München 1874); "Kretas Volkslieder", in der Ursprache mit Glossar herausgegeben von Jeannaraki (Leipz. 1876); Stillmann, The Creta-Insurrection 1866-1868 (New York 1874); Löher, Kretische Gestade (Bielefeld 1877). Good maps of the island are produced by Spratt and H. Kiepert (the last in the Berlin "Zeitschrift f?r Erdkunde" 1866).

source in German, posted by Retro-Bibliothek

Nordisk Familje-Bok 1904-1926, Article : Kreta (1911)
Kreta, in Old Greek Krete, in Latin Creta, in New Greek Kriti, in Turkish Kirid, in Italian Candia, island in the Eastern Mediterranean, autonomous provinve in the Ottoman Empire, between 34 degrees 57 minutes (Cape Lithinos) and 35 degrees 41 minutes (Cape Spathia) northern Latitude and 23 degrees 31 minutes (Cape Hagios Nikolaos) and 26 degrees 20 minutes (Cape Salmone) eastern Longitude, is the largest and most valuable of the islands of the Greek archipelago. Together with adjacent small islands (Dia, the Dionysiades Islands, Dragonera, Kufonidis, Gavdos etc.) 8,618 square km, without them 8,591 square km. Length 260 km, width 12 - 56 km, on average 33 km. Of the coasts, which are almost everywhere steep cliff coasts, it is only the northern, ... , especially in its western part, where three protruding peninsulas surround Kisamo and Chania Bay. The easternmost of hese peninsulas, Akrotiri, in the south is separated from he island by Suda Bay, the only bay in Crete which provides protection for a fleet from winds coming from all directions. Also in the northeastern part of the island there are two peninsulas, the Lasithi and Sitia peninsulas, which surround Mirabella Bay. Further east lies Sitia Bay. The southern coast forms only one larger bay, Mesara Bay which opens toward the south, which continues in Mesara Plain, the only plain on the southern coast, but in the north more or less extended plains are adjacent to the bays.
Crete makes up part of the southern Greek mountain chain, and once was connected with the Peloponnese in the west and with Asia Minor in the east. The connection with Asia first was broken in the Diluvial Era. The mountains consist of cystallic slate and of dark limestone, covered by younger Tertiary formations. From the west to the east four impressive mountain groups follow, connected by lower hills, namely Aspra Vuna or the Madaras Mountains (Leuka of old, the White Mountains), which culminate in Hagios Theodoros, 2,470 m, Psiloritis or the Ida Mountains with Nida Plateau and Mt. Ida (2,460 m), the Lasithi Mountains with Mt. Stavros or Afenti Christos (2,165 m) and the Sitia Mountains with Mt. Afenti Kabusi (1,478 m), the two latter in old days called Dikte. The mountains are mostly treeless, used for grazing; karst phenomena are not rare; deep erosion cliffs make then rather inaccessible. Of the formerly famous Cretan cypress and cedar forests only tiny elements in a few inaccessible mountain areas remain. To the south the mountains descend steeply toward the portless coast, to the north they decline less steeply, and near the coast they go over in fertile, hilly country. Large rivers are missing; the 'rivers' are mountain creeks which become much larger in the rainy season. Crete has a wonderful climate with mild winters and summer heat moderated by sea breezes. The average annual temperature on the northern coast is 19 degrees Celsius, ranging between 11 degrees in January and 29 degrees in July in Chania. Only when the Scirocco blows from Africa does the temperature rise to 36 - 40 degrees. Precipitation falls in winter, spring and fall, from March to October there is almost never any rainfall. The annual rainfall in Chania is 589 mm, of which 55 % falls in winter. Vegetation is partially lush and belongs at the coast to the Mediterranean flora. In large groves, olives, oranges, chestnuts and plane trees grow, and on mountain slopes oleander. Enormous agaves, cactea and aloes, as well as the occasional date palm (mainly on the southern slopes) give some stretches a tropical appearance, and a rich mat of flowers covers meadows and roadsides. Creta's fauna is of European kind, only one species of cat (Felis ocreata) and perhaps a species of rat (Acomis Dimidiatus) are land animals of African origin. The island's only larger game is the bezoar goat (capra aegagrus).
Population : Crete's oldest inhabitans were the retans who gave he island their name. Most likely they were related to the inhabitants of Asia Minor (the Phrygians), but early the seafaring people of the Mediterranean (Phoenicians, Carians, Minyans) and further the Pelasgians have settled on the island. They were expelled by the Greeks (mainly Dorians), which already in prehistory made the island a fully Greek one. Ethnographically it has remained so to our days. At the last census (1900) the population was 310,056, of whonm 269,719 were Christians, 33,496 Muslims, 728 Jews and 6,113 foreigners (3,977 Greeks, 1,075 Turks, 555 Italians, 141 Englishmen and 136 Frenchmen). Between 1881 and 1900 the population grew by 22,890 persons, while the Greek element grew by 62,256, the Muslim element shrank (by emigration) by 39,955. All inhabitants, even the Muslims, speak Greek.- The administration of the Greek church is in the hands of a synod in Candia, consisting of the Metropolit and of 7 of the island's bishops. Education for children between 6 and 10 years of age is mandatory (on paper). In 1907-1908 there were 621 Christian elementary schools with (1906-1907) 30,149 children, and 19 Muslim elementary schools with 1,957 children. Secondary schools are 21 progymnasia, 4 semigymnasia and 4 gymnasia, all Christian, with (1907-1908) 4,174 attendants.
Economy. While agriculture with livestock keeping are the island's main source of income, grain production does not meet the island's demand, and probably did not so in prehistory either. This is because of the primitive farming technique (often with hoe or poor plough), because of the small field parcels and the lack of solid roads, so that transports into the interior have to be conducted with beasts of burden. Rice and grain therefore are imported in quantity. The island's most important products are live oil and wine. During the Venetian Era, wine cultivation was of a high standard and Cretan Malvasir was appreciated all over Europe. In he 18th century this changed; olive cultivation grew in importance and does so today.The oil is not cleaned, but processed into some kind of soap, or exported for technical use; as food it is used only on Crete. Viticulture in recent years has increased, and wine is now an important export product. For export are also produced raisins, carob bean trees, almonds, oranges, tangerines, lemons, chestnuts, apples, pears and silk. Even pomegranates are exported. Livestock numbers are c.400,000 sheep, 120,000 goats, 10,000 horses, 40,000 donkeys, 70,000 head of catle and 20,000 hogs. Sheep- and goat cheese are one of th most important food items and export items (1908 : 154,000 drachmai). Catle are mostly kept as dragging animals, not for the production of milk, as one does not think of cow's milk and cheese made of it. Beekeeping flourishes on the entire island, and Cretan honey already in ancient history was famous. Industry is craft industry, especially weaving (cotton and silk). The exception is leather and soap processing, of which the latter produces over 3 million kg. Fishery is neglected; sponge fishing is conducted by the inhabitants of the southern Sporades.
Trade : the entire imort rose in 1907 to 18,75 and in 1908 to over 21 million drachmai, the total export to 12 respctively 18.4 million. The most important import articles were in 1907 flour, rice and grain (4.4 million dr.), wool and cotton (3.9 million dr.), herring and dried fish (0.5 million), sugar (0.5 million), leather articles (1 million), wooden items (0.7 million), tobacco, coffee and butter. Among export articles in 1908 are listed olive oil (10.5 million dr.), raisons (1.2 milllion), carob beans (1.2 million), soap (0.9 million), wine (0.7 million), almonds (0.37 million). - Domestic navigation is of litle importance; the Cretans of today are no seamen. 1908 2.839 vessels called in Crete's seaports, with 1.53 million tons cargo. Half of the tonnage was Austrian, the other half either Greek or Turkish. The number of post offices is 26, which in 1907-1908 delivered 2.2 million items. The number of telegraph offices was 6 and the total length of telegraph lines 368 km. Railroads do not exist. A militia was organized in 1908. Every male Cretan is obliged to serve for 30 years, of which 1 year is active service, 11 years are reserve, 8 are "Landsturm" and 10 reserve of the latter. Those unfit for military service pay a defence tax (20 to 135 drachmai). Armament and equipment are as in Greece. The militia in 1908 numbered 41 officers, 1 regiment (2 battalions, 4 companies) of 1,000 men, the gendarmerie (5 companies) in the same year 37 officers and 966 men. All officers are Greeks.
Constitution and Administration. Crete is subject to Turkish sovereignty. On Dec. 21 1898 it was granted autonomous administration under a superior commissioner (Harmostes), appointed by France, Great Britain, Italy and Russia, but placed under the Turkish Sultan, without the obligation to pay tribute. On August 16 1906 the Greek king was granted the right to suggest the appointment of a commissioner to the Great Powers. Since August 15th 1909 the position of superior commissioner is vacant, but instead it is governed by a provisional government of three persons until the Creta question is solved in agreement with Turkey.
According to the Cretan constitution of February 8 (21) 1907 a convention (bule) is convened annually on May 1st, sits for 2-3 months and consists of 65 delegates, elected by districts for 3 years (1 deputee per 5,000 inhabitants). The right to vote requires a minimal age of 25. Every deputee is paid for an ordinary session 800 drachmai, for an extraordinary session 400. Questions regarding foreign policy are decided by the 4 Great Powers' representatives.
Crete is divided in 5 Nomos (Herakleion, Chania, Lasithi, Rethymnon and Sfakia). These are subdivided into Eparchies. Jurisdiction is modeled after that of Greece with 26 peace courts, 5 asistant courts and 2 appelation courts. The island's capital is Chania Canea).
Finances : the budget for 1907-1908 was 5,88 million drachmai in revenues, of which 4.3 million were direct taxes and consumption taxes, and 5.9 million in expenses, of which 0.98 million for culture and education, 2.9 million for civil, communication and police affairs. Public debt increased to 5.32 million drachmai. Creta's bank was established in 1899 with a capital of 5 million gold drachmai and with the monopoly for 30 years to issue banknotes. Since 1869 there is an agrarian bank which provides miner loans to landowners. The coins are corresponding with the Greek system, but even Turkish piasters are in use. The metric system is generally applied in measurement, language and weight. The flag is depicted under entry "flags". The naional colours are blue and white.
History. Creta's location almost equidistant to three continents, together with her many and good ports, which are offered by her wide-stretched coasts, already in prehistoric times made it a meeting place for various peoples, Phrygians, Phoenicians, Carians, Greeks and others, so it became a prefered and specially suited location for manifold legends : of Zeus' birth and raising, n Mt. Ida, of Europe's abduction, of Minos' patriarchal administration and wise laws, of Pasifae, Minotauros, Ariadne, Theseus, Daidalos and the labyrinth built by the latter etc. The research of later days has uncovered many remnants of a Cretan culture (see article Cretan Civilization). In the Homeric songs it seems that the Greek element already has gained the upper hand. As tribes residing in Crete are named the Eteocretans (Cretans proper), as well as the Cydonians, Pelasgians, Achaians and Dorians; the number of cities is given as between 90 and 100, united under Idomeneus' rule. Most important for Creta's development was the Dorian immigration, which the Homeric singers date to a moment in time long before the Trojan War. It seems the Dorians first took possession of the Peloponnese and from there moved to the nearby island of Crete. In all conflicts they made themselves masters of the island and introduced a strong Dorian-style constitution, which according to later writers shall have served as a model for Sparta's Lycurgian constitution. Most important among her cities were Knossos and Kydonia on the northern coast as wel as Lutos or Lyctos and Gortys or Gortyna in the country's interior. The constitutions of the states, as far as they are known to us, show a certain similarity with that of Sparta. .. In 1645 the Turks landed on the island and began a war of conquest which ended with he fall of Candia and the expulsion of the Venetians in 1669. Already during the war, the Italian population and many Greeks had emigrated, and they were replaced by Turks. The property of the Venetians and of those Greeks who had fled, as well as that of the church, was confiscated and distributed among Turkish officers and officials, partially as full property, partially as a loan against annual fee. A large number of the Christians converted to Islam, but seemingly not the free Greeks, asalready in 1653 an archbishop and 7 suffragan bishops were appointed on the island. Around 1700 the Turks are numbered as 2-3000 holders of fiefs, 20-30,000 soldiers and 50-60,000 renegades. It appears that in the following period no larger immigration of Turks took place, so that those who lived on the island were so isolated, that they took on Greek language. Even conversions from Christianity to Islam almost ended; instead in the 19th century the opposite was common, and entire Muslim communities became Christian.
During the Greek War of Independence Creta also rose in rebellion, but in 1824 the rebellion was crushed by Ibrahim Pasha; hereafter the island was left to Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who in 1841 had to return it to Turkey. Despite the Sultan in the following years improved the situation of the Christians on the island, even granted them privileges which the inhabitans of over provinces did not get, the island became the site of rebellions in 1858, 1866-1869, 1878, 1889, 1896-1898 and 1905. The Greek side gives as the cause of the former the Muslim population's lack of achievement compared to that of the Christian, arbitrary interference in the island's affairs and a lack of concern for the counry's needs. But these accusations are refuted by the conditions, as the political and social situation already had been changed at the end of Egyptian rule, and rebellions almost in every case began in purely Christian districts where no Muslims are found, especially by the Sfakiots (the inhabitants of the White Mountains). who already enjoyed special privileges than the other Christians, who often were coerced to join the rebellion against their will. Greece has supported the rebels by sending volunteers and by donations. The Great Powers have interfered in order to protect the Christian population from Turkish revenge. That similar severe retribution was conducted by both the Christians and Muslims in the civil war is clear; in the rebellion of 1896-1898 235 villages were destroyed, among them 85 with an exclusively Christian, 47 with an exclusively Muslim population. Of special importance for the island's recent history is the rebellion of 1896-1898. In response to suggestions by the European Powers, in June 1896 the Sultan promised reforms and appointed as governor general the Prince of Samos, Georg Berovitj, a European educated Christian of Greek nationality, but fanatism among both Christians and Muslims increased, and blood was spilled on several occasions. A conference of delegates convened in Constantinople formulated a suggestion to reform the island's constitution, and the Sultan on Aug. 25th 1896 signed a ferman, according to which the island was to become semi-autonomous, as were Samos and Libanon, for the next 5 years under a Christian governor selected in cooperation with the powers, with the right to veto decisions and law proposals by the diet. The island was to receive economic autonomy and pay annual tribute; jurisdiction and the police should be reorganized with foreign cooperation, of the oficials 2/3 should be Christians and 1/3 be Muslims. The ferman was accepted by the diet on September 5th, but hostilities between Christians and Muslims renewed shortly after, and the island descended into total anarchy when Berovitj on Feb. 14th 1897 resigned his office and left the island. The Cretan revolutionary commission declared annexation to Greece, and a Greek occupation force landed on Feb. 15th, commanded by Major Vassos, to take possession of the island in the name of King George. Then the six great powers took energetic action against the Hellenic aspiration. They each dispached a squadron to the island, called upon Greece to withdraw hr troops and fleet from the island, and as Greece made excuses, declared a blockade over the island from March 21st. In consequence of the progress of the war with Turkey caused by the events on Crete, Greece found it necessary to wthdraw her troops from Crete, the blockade of which was lifted in September 1897, but it prived difficult to restore calm. In 1898 Great Britain, France, Russia and Italy demanded that Prince George iof Greece should be named governor general, and the Porte had to comply. The 4 powers appointed the prince superior commissioner (Kypatos Harmostes) and he assumed his office 9 (21) dec. 1898. His task was to introduce the reforms demanded by the population, to introduce an autonomous administration under Turkish suzerainty. For the costs of which he was allocated by the powers a budget of 1 million Francs. On April 1 1899 the new constitution was introduced, but it was not adopted until January 1st 1901; the diet was to consist of 70 members and convene once per year, the Prince should appoint 5 ministers. The implementation of Prince George's responsibilities met great difficulties, largely of financial kind. As the Muslims missed a representative in the cabinet, they began to emigrate en masse. In the meantime, a police organized by Italian officers did a good job in restoring order. In 1900 a communal administration was organized and a law regarding military service passed, which introduced mandatory military service, and which determined that at least 600 recruits annually should been gven military training under the guidance of foreign officers. By travelling to the courts of the protecting powers (1901 and 1904), the Prince attempted unsuccessfully to convince them to permi the annexation of Crete by Greece. Therefore he was opposed by minister of justice Venizelos, who as the head of the opposition National Party demanded that Crete should become an autonomous principality under Turkish suzerainty. In March 1905 a new rebellion broke out. he unification of the island with Greece was proclaimed, but this was not to happen, as it was opposed by the protecting powers, and even Prince George called for calm. The protecting powers proclaimed military law, which gradually resulted in the rebels laying down their arms (November). All these problems caused Prince George to resign from his office and to leave the island (Sept. 25th 1906). The protecting powers already (August 1 (14) had decided that the King of Greece should be superior commissioner over the island, and he in turn on Sept 29th appointed Greek prime minister Zaimis for a period of 5 years. In 1907 Crete received her present constitution. The Young Turk Revolution in Constantinople in July 1908 again raised emotions on Crete. In October the diet decided that the island should be unified with Greece. The great powers responded that such a decision depended on their approval, as they had taken on certain obligations to Turkey, but they promised to consider the matter in a benevolent attitude, under the condition that peace would be maintained and guarantees were given for the security of the Muslim population. At this time in Turkey the opposition to a possible annexation of Crete by Greece became stronger, and as Abd-ul-Hamid had been deposed, the new Turkish government has again and again made protests against such a move. As it had been agreed that the troops of the protecting powers stationed on Greece were to be recalled in the summer of 1909, Turkey declared such a departure as equal to handing over Crete to Greece. But the troops departed from the island (July 26th), while the great powers called on the Cretan population to preserve peace and trust in the powers. Both Greece and Turkey mbilized so to be prepared for all eventualities. Supported by energetic speeches in parliament, the Turkish government demanded the great powers to definitively regulate the island's constitution on the basis of autonomy under Turkish suzerainty, but the call went unheard. On July 29 in the fortress in Chania the Greek flag was hoisted, which caused new patriotic speeches in the Turkish parliament and sharp notes directed at the Greek government (August). The powers addressed the Cretan government, calling for the Greek flag to be taken down "to avoid the danger of the island being reoccupied by international forces". As at the same time the Cretan masses moved to Chania to protect the flag, the powers ordered their naval personnel to land from vessels stationed near Crete, but at the same time the powers protested in Constantinople against Turkish war threats in a note in which they explained that they would not permit Turkish vessels to approach Crete, and by their determined expression caused Turkey to give in. The protecting powers did not regard the constitutional question as ready for a definitive decision, and many of their leading ministers spoke out for maintaining the status quo and against the opening of new negotiations.which could cause unrest in Turkey and other states in the Orient and which therefore could cause much wider complications. That Greece was not concerned with such cnsequences becomes apparent by the establishmend of a Cretan Association formed in Athens in Dec. 1909 presided by a Greek general with the aim of working for the island's unification with Greece; that Cretans were elected to join the Greek national diet in he summer of 1910 and that one of them, the beforementioned Venizelos, in September 1910 became Greek prime minister. During the unrest of August 1909 superior commissioner Zaimis had resigned his office and government had been assumed by a provisional government (Aug. 15), which since, with a changing composition, has been the administrative authority on the iskland. The diet which met in November 1910 convened in the name of the King of Greece (against which the Muslim deputees protested), and in December again demonstrated fior unification with Greece.
See : Raulin, Description d'ile de la Crete, 3 volumes 1859-1869, main work), Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete, 2 vols., 1865, Strobl, Kreta, eine geographisch historische Skizze (1875, with bibliography), Fabricius, Die Insel Kreta, in Hettner's Geographische Zeitschrift 1897, Castonnet des Fosses, La Crete et l'Hellenisme (no year), Combes, L'ile de Crete (no year), Laroche, La Crete ancienne et moderne (1898), Bothmer, Kreta in Vergangenheit und Genenwart (1898), Berard, Les affaires de Crete (1900), Chalkiopoulos, Sitia, die Osthalbinsel Kretas (1913), Lagrange, La Crete ancienne (1908) and Savenhagen, Die Insel Kreta 1909, in Militärisches Wochenblatt.

source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg


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First posted on March 5th 2009

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