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Khíos (khēˈôs) or Chios (kīˈŏs), island (1991 pop. 51,060), c.350 sq mi (910 sq km), E Greece, in the Aegean Sea, just W of Asia Minor. It is mountainous and is famous for its scenic beauty and good climate. The highest point is Mt. Elias (c.4,160 ft/1,270 m). The island produces olives, figs, wine, and mastic and has marble quarries, lignite deposits, and sulfur springs. Sheep and goats are raised. Khíos was colonized by Ionians and later held (494–479 B.C.) by the Persians. In 479 B.C. it recovered its independence and joined the Delian League. It rebelled several times against Athenian ascendancy in the league. The island was on good terms with Rome, maintaining its independence until the reign of Vespasian (1st cent. A.D.). It became part of the Byzantine Empire and later passed (1204) to the Latin emperors of Constantinople and then (1261) to the Genoese. The Ottoman Turks conquered the island in 1566 and held it until the First Balkan War (1912), when it was taken by Greece. A rebellion against Turkish rule resulted (1822) in a ruthless massacre of the population. Khíos claims to be the birthplace of Homer. Khíos, a seaport (1991 pop. 22,894), is the island's chief town and the capital of Khíos prefecture.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Khios), a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, near Asia Minor. Area, 830 sq km. Elevations on Chios range to 1,297 m. The island is composed primarily of limestones and shales. Chios has mediterranean shrub-type vegetation and groves of Aleppo pine. There are olive orchards, citrus fruit plantations, and vineyards. Goats are raised, and sardines and mackerel are caught. Antimony is mined at Melanios. The port of Chios is located on the island’s eastern coast.

Chios was one of the centers of the Aegean culture. The island’s earliest inhabitants were Leleges and Carians. These tribes inhabited Chios until the early first millennium B.C., when they were driven out by the Ionians. In the eighth century B.C. the island became a polis, whose economy was based on trade and handicrafts. The city of Chios was the island’s capital. The island produced the best wine, mastic, marble, and figs in Greece. It was also the site of the earliest Greek slave market. Chios was a center of ancient literature and art; it is believed to be the birthplace of Homer.

In the second half of the first century A.D., Chios fell under Roman rule. Between the fourth and 13th centuries, the island was controlled by Byzantium. It was subsequently a Genoese possession. The Turks ruled Chios from 1566 until 1912, when the island became part of Greece.

In southern Chios, near the village of Pyrgi, is the sanctuary of Apollo Phanaios (established ninth century B.C.), which has a noteworthy temple (second half of the sixth century B.C.). Also of interest is the medieval fortress of the Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni (1042–56).



a city and port in Greece, on the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. Capital of the nome of Chios. Population, 24,100 (1971). Wine and fruits are exported.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. an island in the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Turkey: belongs to Greece. Capital: Chios. Pop.: 51 936 (2001). Area: 904 sq. km (353 sq. miles)
2. a port on the island of Chios: in ancient times, one of the 12 Ionian city-states. Pop.: 54 000 (1995 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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