Hellenic European Leadership Council Profile picture
Official Twitter account of #HELC - the Hellenic European Leadership Council

Jun 10, 10 tweets

Turkey's leaders are taking a break from enabling #Russia against #NATO and ethnic cleansing Syria’s #Kurds to launch absurd claims and empty threats against Greek islands. We take a look at the painful history of Turkish rule on one of them: a thread on #Chios from #theHELC 1/10

The history of the Greeks in Chios goes back more than 3,000 years reaching to #Minoan and #Mycenaean times. Chios is the most likely birthplace of #Homer and had its own coins and democratic parliament by 600 BC. Its famous wine was exported from the Black Sea to #Egypt 2/10

The islanders sided with Athens and then #Alexander the Great against Persia and continued to prosper under first the #Roman and then the Eastern Roman (#Byzantine) Empire. The famous #mosaics of Nea Moni monastery are considered a masterpiece of Byzantine art 3/10

Following the fall of #Constantinople in 1453 and an interlude of #Genoese rule, Chios was finally conquered by the #Ottoman Turks in 1566. The island became a major source of revenue for the Sultan thanks mainly to its unique crops of natural #mastic gum 4/10

Life was hard under the #Turks. Mastic producers were only allowed to sell their product to the authorities. All #Christians were subject to the “head tax”, literally giving them the right to keep their head on their shoulders, and many other humiliations 5/10

The Chians joined the #GreekRevolution against the Ottomans in 1822, enraging #Sultan Mahmud II who sent his fleet to destroy the island. 40,000 Turkish soldiers were brought over from Asia Minor and the #massacre that followed shocked the civilised world 6/10

The Turks had orders to kill all children under 3 years old, all men above 12, and all women above 40 unless they accepted conversion to #Islam. When the slaughter finished 40 days later 23,000 inhabitants lay dead and 47,000 were taken away as slaves 7/10

Eugène #Delacroix painted the Massacre of Chios and Victor #Hugo wrote the Greek Boy in the aftermath of the event. Its opening verses: “The Turks passed by here / All is a ruin where rage knew no bounds / Chios is levelled, and loathed by the hounds” 8/10

The remaining 50,000 inhabitants either fled to the rest of Greece or suffered terribly from hunger and disease. It took decades for some semblance of life to return to the island. Chios was finally liberated by the Greek fleet during the #BalkanWars in 1912 9/10

#Erdogan’s Turkey purposely misreads the #Lausanne treaty of 1923 that ended the Greco-Turkish war and illegally claims that the Greek inhabitants of Chios and other #Aegean islands should be left undefended. The long shadow of history advocates otherwise 10/10

Share this Scrolly Tale with your friends.

A Scrolly Tale is a new way to read Twitter threads with a more visually immersive experience.
Discover more beautiful Scrolly Tales like this.

Keep scrolling