The nineteenth century was very significant for the history of the Ottoman Empire, as the Empire went through a period of transformation in all sectors of political, financial and social life. This study reveals the impact of these reforms on the community of Chios and the effects on its people. However the importance of this book lies in the fact that it examines not only the progress of a community during the period of reforms, but of a community whose people had emerged from a tremendous catastrophe – the massacre of 1822 after their involvement in the Greek War of Independence – which had completely devastated the island.
The history of Chios during the nineteenth century provides us with a significant insight into how the institutions of the island along with the various interest groups of the social and economic divisions were affected by the Ottoman imperial policy. The conflicts of interest within the Chiot community at large, the ways in which these vested interests were expressed in local and imperial politics through the ever changing Ottoman policies at this highly localised level, illustrate the complexity of the island’s social standing during this period, just as equally they demonstrate the multi-faceted and fluid nature which characterised the Ottoman rule of that era.
This book is an empirical study, based almost entirely on a mass of unpublished archival material and hopefully will serve as a stimulus to further research both the Chiot community as a satellite Ottoman state, as well as the developments of the Ottoman Empire itself.