Balkan Wars: Greco-Turkish War (1897)

Figure 1.--Here Creetan refugee children line up at a food kitchen in Athens after the Greco-Turkish War (1897). The Ottomns were a decling power at the time, but still able to defeat the small Greek Army. We are not sure who provided the relief supplies.

The Ottoman Empire dominated the eastern Mediterraneam for several centuries. This included the major islands of Cyprus and Crete as well as many smaller islands like Rhodes. The islands for the most part retained their largely Chriatian Greek identity, although on Cyprus a Turkis Minorirty developed. Crete was contolled by Venice for several centuries. The Ottomans seized the island as a result of the Cretan War (164569). Most of the island fell to the Ottomans after the siege of Candia (164869). This is believed to be the longest siege in history. The population, however, remained largely Greek Orthodox for the next two centuries. The Grreks had achieved their independence (1820S), but the Ottomans had retaiuned Crete. The Greek majority as independence movements grew in the Balkans increasing pressed for union with Greece. Responding to appeals from Greek Creatans, Greece tried to liberate the Island from Ottoman rule. The result was the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 (also known as the Thirty Days' War and the Black '97). This was the first war effort in which the military and political personnel of Greece were put to test since the Greek War of Indepensence. It was the first Greek military conflict with the Ottomns since the Independence War. The Greeks were not up to challenging the Ottomans on their own. The Ottomans achieved a decisive Ottoman military victory. The Great Powers had for some time been intervening to protect Christians in the Ottomn Empire, both against Ottoman and Arab attacks. The Great Powers after the Ottoman victory intervened and forced the creation of an autonomous Cretan State under nominal Ottoman suzerainty after the War (1898). Prince George of Greece and Denmark served as its first High Commissioner.


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Created: 4:51 AM 9/26/2015
Last updated: 12:21 AM 1/1/2016