11th November: Chios' reunion with Greece

Don’t wonder about the many dressed up people and cute children in school uniforms at 11th of November, because you are seeing the celebration for Chios’ reunion with Greece!

But don’t worry, I will try to summarize the huge historical background of this important day in Chios history as short as possible. So here we go:

Starting already at around 500 BC, Chios was bounced back and forth between Athenians and Persians, Spartans, then Macedonians and Romans but then remained under Athenian rule for quite a while.

In the 11th century, the Byzantines built Nea Moni (New Monastery) and built the fortress in Chios town to defend the port from Arab pirates.

After a short period of being reoccupied by the Venetians, the Genovese retook the island in 1346 and held it for two more centuries. They were exploiting the island and its inhabitants and developing the production of Mastic which increased the wealth of the Island tremendously.

In 1556 the Turkish occupation of Chios began, though not much changed from Genovese rule. Because of the Mastic, Chios was given many privileges and the island flourished under Turkish rule.

Chios rejoined the rest of independent Greece after the First Balkan War in 1912. The Greek Navy liberated Chios in November 1912 in a hard fought but brief operation, and shortly after Turkey recognized Greece's reunion of Chios and the other Aegean islands by the Treaty of London in 1913. So after hundreds of years of different occupations, finally Chios got reunited with Greece again.

Since then, 11th of November is a really important day on Chios Island and gets celebrated every year with a parade and many festivities.

I hope I did not overwhelm you with the quite complicated history of beautiful Chios. But at least now you know some interesting facts about this Island!


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