Map & Historical Information (1998)

See also:
The Massacres Of Chios
The Chios Diaspora 1 1823-99
The Chios Diaspora 2 1900-99
The Vlastos & Byzantium
Vlasto Related Information
Chios & The Kampos Estates
Vlasto Family Properties On Chios
A Warning To Those Visiting Chios


c. 2600-2000 BC – (Proto-Helladic period) Emborios (the ancient centre of Chios town near the Kastro).

c. 1600-1100 BC – (Mycenaean period) Phana (a settlement in the far south of the island).

493 BC – Destruction of Chios by the Persians.

431 BC – Beginning of the Peloponnesian War.

424 BC – Fortification of Chios.

146 BC – Imposition of Roman rule.

86 BC – Seizure and destruction of Chios by Zenobios, admiral of Mithridates.

250 AD – Martyrdom of St Isidore on Chios.

312 AD – Edict of Milan. Recognition of Christianity.

330 AD – Foundation of Constantinople.

c. 650 AD – Destruction of Chios by the Arabs under Moawiya.

1042-1055 AD – Reign of Constantine Monomachos. Foundation of Nea Moni (new monastery).

1054 AD – Separation of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. Much mutual hostility, the minority Catholics come under the protection of the French ambassador at the Porte. Despite this a curious C16th contract shows the Catholic bishop renting the church (formerly the cathedral) of Hagios Vassilios Petrocochino for the Latin rite. [Philip Argenti believes many churches with characteristic double naves were shared by Catholics and Orthodox, either to accommodate surprisingly common mixed marriages or because of the Ottoman ban on the building of new churches.]

1089 AD – Raid by the Turkish pirate Tzachos with a fleet of 40 ships who occupy Chios as well as Phocaea, Clazomenae and Lesbos, defeating the punitive force sent against him from Constantinople by Emperor Alexis. Alexis's second expedition ends indecisively when its commander, Constantine Dalassenos, attempts [inexplicably] to negotiate terms for re-taking the island, thus giving Tzachos time to arrive from Smyrna with 8,000 men to protect his asset. Tzachos re-takes the kastro as Dalassenos's troops hold a position on Mount Tourlotti. On hearing that a third expedition under the command of the emperor's brother John is on its way, Tzachos returns to Smyrna for reinforcements but the island is retaken during his absence. Tzachos is subsequently poisoned by Sultan Kilidji Arslan when a guest at a banquet.

1124-25 AD – Raid by the Venetians under Admiral Michele who, having already seized Tyre, then takes several islands belonging to Emperor John ll. The headless body of St Isidore, patron saint of Chios, is removed to Venice. Hidden in the Doge's palace, it is not re-discovered for two centuries when it is then placed in a marble sarcophagus in a chapel in St Mark's Cathedral. The missing skull is found and in 1627 is presented on a jewelled platter to the Doge by Pandely Risicari. The skull is later encased in a superb silver-gilt reliquary and is now one of the gems of the treasury.

1170-71 AD – Second raid by the Venetians under the Doge Michele ll in revenge for a breach of faith on the part of Emperor Manuel. But the occupying Venetian troops, who are laid low by plague, accuse the Greeks of poisoning the water supply and leave with only seventeen ships.

1204 AD – The capture and sacking of Constantinople by the Latins. Four bronze horses in the Hippodrome, originally brought from Chios by Emperor Theodosis, are removed from Constantinople and set up over the entrance to St Marks's Cathedral in Venice. Chios again briefly falls into Venetian hands and Peter Giustiniani is appointed lord of the island until it is recaptured in 1225 by Emperor Vatatzes.

1261 AD – The Treaty of Nymphaion – the first 'surrender' of Chios to the Genoese who are permitted by the emperor to maintain an establishment there, including a palace, a church, gardens, public baths, dwelling places and their own consul. The Genoese see Chios as essential to their trading empire because of: a) its power and influence in its Black Sea trading colonies; b) its proximity to the alum mines of Phocaea on the mainland; and c) its natural monopoly of mastic. BR>
1292 AD – Siege of Chios by Roger de Loria (Lluria), a Sicilian.

1300 AD – Raid by the Turks.

1303 AD – Raid by Roger da Flor, a Catalan.

1304-1329 AD – Chios comes under the temporary rule of the Genoese adventurers Manuele and Benetto Zaccharia, Benetto having married the emperor's sister. This follows a treaty with the emperor which concedes a ten-year right to 'protect' the island providing that it remains under Byzantine sovereignty and the imperial standard flies above the kastro fortress.

1307 AD – On the death of Benetto Zaccharia, his son Paleologo takes power and later negotiates a five-year extension to his rule, though he dies that same year. He is succeeded by his nephews Benetto ll and Martino (the more powerful of the two) under whom Chios becomes the richest of the Aegean islands. The lease is renewed every five years until 1328 when Andronicus Paleologos becomes emperor.

1328 AD – Martino's opponent on Chios, Leon Kalothetos, approaches the new Emperor Andronicus Paleologos with a plan to regain the island for Byzantium. Martino is thus summoned to Constantinople to explain why he has built a fortress without consent. Martino responds by removing the imperial standard, raising his own and retiring into his fortress. The emperor sends a fleet to take the island but Martino fails to negotiate for peace and his own safety when he finds the island's Greeks and his own brother Benetto ll are opposed to him. He is taken prisoner to Constantinople. The island's Greek and Latin nobility are offered a lease on the same terms originally offered to Benetto ll . But Benetto ll wants the island for himself and responds by chartering eight Genoese vessels in Constantinople and sailing for Chios. He is routed by the inhabitants and dies of a stroke a few days later.

1329 AD – Expedition by Andronicos Paleologos to Chios.

1345-46 AD – The seizure of Chios by the Genoese who rule until 1566. The Doge in Genoa borrows money from Genoese aristocrats to equip a fleet of 25 galleys and 6,000 troops to deal with insurrection by Roquebrune and Prince Grimaldi in Monaco. The fleet, under Simone Vignoso, sets sail for Monaco in April 1346 and is routed. [The opposition having 30 galleys and 10,000 men, the Doge's fleet seeks sanctuary in Marseilles and many of the troops offer their services to the French and take part in the Battle of Crécy.] To make good use of the loan the Doge now sends the fleet to protect Genoa's Black Sea colonies, but at Chalcis, in Euboea, Simone Vignoso comes by chance on a combined fleet of Venetians and Rhodians who intend to occupy Chios. Simone heads straight for Chios, warns the islanders and offers his protection if they agree to fly the Genoese flag and accept a dozen 'clients'. He claims he can settle any objections from the Byzantine government privately. The islanders refuse and resist until Simone lands troops at Cardamula and Volissos. The imperial governor, Zubos, withdraws to the kastro fortress for three months until forced to accept generous terms on 16 September. These terms include the continuation of the almost unique rights and privileges of the Chian nobility and their exemption from direct taxation and that certain monasteries may retain their fortunes and property. In return the Chians are to become Genoese citizens, pay 7,000 hyperpera (but for 3 years only), hand over their fortress and take the oath of allegiance to Genoa. Simone Vignoso appoints a Genoese Podesta (governor) and then goes on to take Phocaea in the same manner and returning to Genoa in triumph on 9 November.

1347 AD – Since the Doge still cannot afford to repay the loan on the fleet a 'Mahona' (maona) or trading company, comprising the admiral and other creditors, is established on 26 February with rights to exploit the commercial potential of Chios and a duty to defend it as a sovereign asset of the Genoese government. The arrangement is to hold good until the 203,000 Genoese lire are repaid but is limited to 20 years. A governor is to be installed but in all other respects the Mahona enjoys possession of the island.

1363 AD – The status of the island vis-à-vis Byzantium is finally settled when Emperor Paleologos concedes the island to the Genoese Giustiniani family in return for an annual payment of 500 gold hyperpera.

1380-1388 AD – Unsuccessful conspiracy against the Genoese on Chios.

1389 AD – Major earthquake on Chios.

1415 AD – Though nominally a Genoese possession the island is too far away to be guaranteed protection. Hence the Turkish Sultan Mohammed l, established in nearby Smyrna, starts to demand protection money (with menaces) from the Genoese trading company and the islanders. The karatch (haratch) poll-tax becomes a heavy burden on the island's economy and a key factor in the later catastrophe of 1566. In 1415 the Sultan demands 4,000 gold ducats annually. After the Turks capture Constantinople in 1453 the sum rises to 6,000 ducats; in 1456 rises again to 6,000 ducats and finally reaches 14,000 ducats.

1431 AD – Siege of the kastro by the Venetians.

1453 AD – Capture of Constantinople by Mohammed ll and the Turks. End of Eastern Roman Empire. Metropolitan (bishop) of Moscow assumes headship of the Orthodox Church on the fall of Constantinople.

1566 AD – Capture of Chios by Piali Pasha. Beginning of Turkish rule on the island.

1599 AD – Unsuccessful attack by the Florentines.

1677 AD – Population estimated (by Dr Covel) to be 40,000 consisting of Greeks, Latins, a few Turks and fewer Jews.

1681 AD – Bombardment of Chios harbour by Dequesne.

1694-1695 AD – Capture of Chios by the Venetians.

1695 AD – Turkish rule resumes.

1794 AD – Population estimated (by Dallaway) to be 150,000. The Latins (mainly Genoese) fell from 8,000 before 1688 to 150 in 1928. Turks fell from 6,000 in 1695 to 1,500 in 1890 (three in 1928 and 1 in 1940). Jews were never more than their 300 in 1677 (ten in 1928 and two in 1940).

1821 AD – Beginning of the Greek War of Independence. Chios keeps out of it.

1822 AD – Rising against the Turks. Massacre on Chios.

1827 ADExpedition of Fabvier to Chios – a failure.

1828 ADTurks evacuate mainland Greece.

1829 AD – Mahmoud, Sultan of Turkey, acknowledges the independence of Greece.

1830 AD – Protocol of London proclaims Greece an independent kingdom.

1831 AD – Austria, Britain and Russia recognise Greece as an independent kingdom.

1881 ADMajor earthquake on Chios.

1884 AD – Construction of the present neo-classical Koraïs Library, founded by Adamantios Koraïs in the C18th and named after him in 1928 when it began to operate independently. The library's original collection was completely destroyed during the Chios Massacre in 1822. The reinstitution of the library began concurrently with the establishment of the Gymnasium of Chios in 1839. The Schools' Board of Trustees funded the construction of the present building in 1884 which was then renovated by the Argenti family in 1948 and 1978. Now containing more than a hundred thousand volumes and many rare publications and manuscripts, it incorporates the I. M. Andreadis library (1858) and the Argenti family's collections of books, paintings, maps, artefacts, etc.

1913 ADLiberation of Chios. It was not until now, after the two Balkan Wars that, under the Convention of Athens, Turkey and Greece settled ownership of the Aegean Islands. Chios became part of Greece. By the 1980s and 1990s, however, the two countries were still able to dispute control over the east Aegean territories!


During ancient times the city of Chios knew periods of great economic and intellectual wealth. Apart from being famous for its formidable navy and for its great commercial strength which profoundly affected scientific and cultural growth, Chios is regarded as the birth place of the greatest poet of ancient times Homer. Chios was undoubtedly one of the most important cities of the Greek Colonies in Ionia (Asia Minor).

During the Roman period Chios declined but in the Byzantine era it recovered and for about 1000 years it became one of its most important provinces.

In 1346 it was occupied by the Genoese. In 1566 the Ottoman Turks, having already conquered the Byzantine Empire drove out the Genoese, took Chios and occupied it until 1912. In that year Chios was liberated and became an integral part of Greece.

The following over-blown and poetic account of Chios was written by Paul Morand in Méditerranée, Mer des Surprises (MAME, Paris, 1938), here translated by Christopher Long. Morand appears to have developed a deep affection for Chios. His daughter married a Greek (perhaps a Chiot?) and he was buried (left) among the island's exiled noble families in the cemetery in Trieste which became the last refuge of many of the first generation of the Chios Diaspora.


"Oh sun, oh great light!
This morning, helped by a crescent moon, you illuminate hedgeless, vineless Chios. Chios, an arid island of broken mountains. Then one gets nearer... one enters the narrow port... and everything changes. Straight, cypresses spindle above the yellow walls. A fort is turned not towards the sea but against the town – sufficient to indicate an ancient Turkish fortress – guards the white terraces like a hound over a bone. Water-mills, high wheels with identically striped sails like umbrellas, rotating oil mills, presses at the back of courtyards, these are all that move at midday in these sleeping houses – less asleep than secret.

On Chios, around the town and in the countryside, Muslim influence is still evident. The women hide their mouths when passing strangers while the elderly wear large black pantaloons alla turca. But in the town centre, houses of those ennobled by the Venetians four centuries ago are emblazoned with arms and escutcheons, the balconies are braced in the Italian style.

The streets are lively, the trades still grouped in quarters, the merchants standing in their doorways as everywhere in the Orient, watching for customers as if they were prey (a custom the Jews took to New York's Broadway and to Paris around the Hôtel de Ville). In the main square, raki and mastika are drunk in the pale shadows of the eucalyptus and kiosks.

I prefer the suburbs and their old country houses with no windows and their plain fortress walls and nailed wooden doors. From their terraces hidden occupants observe you as in a Carpaccio painting. Sometimes a open gateway reveals the house, a closed universe, a sealed paradise one need never leave. A patriarchal life in the shade of a fig-tree where secret garden paths are decorated with black and white mosaics.

The women wash their linen, cook their bread, make their superb preserves – the best jams in the world, made from rose petals, orange flowers, whole nuts and baby lemons – or go to mass in their own private chapels. Under the oleanders and cypresses, to the sound of fresh trickling water or the crush of the wine press, the Chiots drift between family preoccupations, learning, culture and orthodox prayer.

The interior of the island is beautiful. Stony roads disappear among oats, rye and pale wheat like, ephemeral as a film actress. We are here in June and they are already harvesting; already the maize is drying in the midday heat. Great leaves of tobacco and long bouquets of white laurel or roses betray a river-bed or a nearby spring.

The avenues along the paths are the wealth of the island because these are 'mastic' trees. Mastic resin makes jam, chewing-gum, a liquor and all the varnish on our coachwork. The road links charming mediaeval villages before arriving at the island's marvel, Pyrgi. Here lives on the Turkish Greece of Hugo or Byron as well as the Greece of the Venetians and Genoese.

The olive-skinned women still have fine, aquiline noses, joined eyebrows and unforgettable dark blue eyes. They dress in strange, beautiful, brightly-coloured costumes, their slim straight necks carrying tiny turbaned heads from which orange bands fall the length of their hair, straight-cropped like Florentine pages. They go to the well, in the rhythm of a thousand years.

Today, life in the narrow streets of this little village is still that of 14th or 15th century. The animals live with people in houses where the ground floor is a stable and where, if I peer into a half-open door of some cool and shady dwelling, I am welcomed by a fine-looking donkey or black goat.

A pig is slaughtered in the middle of the street with a crowd looking on... The old women cry chatter in their doorways and the priest retires to his ancient church, so grounded in the earth that it resembles a crypt... so shadowy yet so brightly lit... so smoky. Here St George's green overwhelms the green hydras, all in a dust of gold and incense, in an atmosphere that is timelessly oriental."

Please see the Bibliography for books, documents and references relating to The History Of Chios, The Massacres Of Chios and The Chios Diaspora Families.

See also:

A Family Who's Who
Argenti Family Genealogy
Paspati Family Genealogy
Petrocochino Family Genealogy
Ralli Family Genealogy
Rodocanachi Family Genealogy
Schilizzi Family Genealogy
Vlasto Family Genealogy
Vlasto Family Related Publications
Vlasto Family Property On Chios
Vlasto Family Arms & Insignia
Vouro Family Genealogy
Zarifi Family Genealogy
The Massacres Of Chios
The Chios Diaspora 1 1823-99
The Chios Diaspora 2 1900-99
A Brief History Of Byzantium
Heraldry in Byzantium

The author would be grateful for any constructive and relevant information for inclusion in these pages.

© (1998) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated. No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.

Christopher Long

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