Sanjak of Sakız

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The Sanjak of Sakız or Chios (Greek: Σαντζάκι Χίου) was a second-level Ottoman province (sanjak or liva) centred on the eastern Aegean island of Chios. Its Turkish name, Sakız, derived from the island's most distinctive product, gum mastic.[1]

Sanjak of Sakız
Ottoman Turkish: Liva-i Sakız or Sancak-ı Sakız
Sanjak of the Ottoman Empire
Flag of Sakız
• Ottoman conquest
• Capture by Greece and Italy
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Maona di Chio e di Focea
Chios Prefecture
Italian Dodecanese
Today part of Greece


A possession of the Genoese Maona company since 1346, Chios (and its attendant islets of Psara and Oinousses) was conquered without resistance by the Ottoman Empire in 1566, as a recompense for the failure to capture Malta the previous year, and annexed as a sanjak of the Eyalet of the Archipelago.[1]

With the exception of a Florentine attack in 1599, a brief occupation by the Venetians in 1694–1695 during the Morean War, and Russian activities in the area during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, the island remained a peaceful province until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence.[1] During this time, its role as a major commercial hub and the main point of export for Anatolian goods (a role it held until eclipsed by the mainland port city of Smyrna in the 17th century), as well as its unique production of the gum mastic (which was much prized by the ladies of the Sultan's harem), secured it great prosperity.[1] The island's population was mostly Greek Orthodox, with a few Genoese-descended Catholics, whose power was much diminished after the Venetian occupation; the Turkish presence was limited to the governor and his administrators, as well as a garrison of ca. 2,000 troops.[1]

Chios was devastated in the infamous Chios Massacre in 1822, when Ottoman forces recaptured the island, which had joined the Greek rebellion against the Empire, and slaughtered or sold into slavery about half of its 80,000 inhabitants.[1] Nevertheless, the island recovered a modicum of its former prosperity and retained extensive autonomy after the Greek War of Independence ended, until the Ottoman administrative reforms of 1866 transformed it into a more regular province within the Vilayet of the Archipelago.[1] Between 1880 and 1887, Chios even served as the capital of the Vilayet of the Archipelago.[2]

In 1912, the sanjak of Sakız encompassed the kazas (districts) of Sakız itself, Kilimli (Kalymnos), İleryoz (Leros) and Ahikerya (Ikaria).[2] The latter, the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese group, were seized by the Italians in summer 1912 during the Italo-Turkish War, while Chios itself was captured by the Greeks in November 1912, during the First Balkan War.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Soucek, S. (1995). "Ṣaḳi̊z". In Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W. P. & Lecomte, G. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VIII: Ned–Sam. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 889–892. ISBN 978-90-04-09834-3.
  2. ^ a b Birken, Andreas (1976). Die Provinzen des Osmanischen Reiches [The Provinces of the Ottoman Empire]. Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, 13 (in German). Reichert. p. 107. ISBN 3-920153-56-1.

External linksEdit

  • Sarantakou Efi; Misailidou Anna; Beneki Eleni; Varlas Michael (20 April 2005). "Chios". Cultural Portal of the Aegean Archipelago. Foundation of the Hellenic World. Retrieved 2 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)