The First Balkan War: Crete

Figure 1.--Crete became oficially part of Greece as a result of First Balkan war (1912-13). Here we see children and soldiers on Crete. The photograph was taken on Februart 21, 1920. We are not sure what the celebration was. Click on image to see the writing on the back. All we can make out is the date.

One impact of the First Balkan War was that Crete was unified with Greece. The Greek fight for independence was waged in Crete as well with great loss of life among both the Muslim and Christain population. When Greece achieved independence from the Ottomam Empire (1820s), Crete despite the largely Greek population remained in Ottoman hands. Throughout the 19th century, the Cretans seeking union with Greece staged a series of bloody revols that failed throughout the 19th centyry. The largest was the great Cretan Revolt (1866-69). It failed, but the Ottomans granted a degree of self rule--the Organic Law. As a result of the Congress of Berlin, the Pact of Halepa was a constitutional settlement creating a basically autonomous parlimentary state. Revolts continued and finally the Great Powers intervened and expelled Ottoman troops. Their solution was an autonomous Cretan state (Κρητική Πολιτεία) under nominal Ottoman jurisdiction (1998). The sovrign was Prince George of Greece and Denmark. Alexandros Zaimis replaced the Prince (1906). The Cretan deputies in Parlaiment declared union with Greece during disorders in Turkey and Zaimis' absence. The union was not recognized by the great powers. The first Balkan War changed this (1912-13). Sultan Mehmed V accepted the loss of Crete by the Peace of London (1913). Cretan deputies took their place in the Greek Parliament. The Muslim minority of Crete initially remained on the island but was later relocated to Turkey under the general population exchange agreed in the Treaty of Lausanne between Turkey and Greece (1923).


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Created: 12:00 AM 4/12/2019
Last updated: 12:00 AM 4/12/2019