Crete Uprisings of 1866–69 and 1896–97

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crete Uprisings of 1866–69 and 1896–97


national-liberation uprisings in Crete against Turkish feudal and national oppression.

The uprising of 1866–69 was provoked by the introduction of taxes on tobacco, salt, and wine and the closing of several Greek schools in Crete. In the summer of 1866 the Greek population of Crete rose up under the banner of the unification of Crete with Greece. The insurgents set up a provisional government. The Turkish Army, which was sent to Crete, did not immediately succeed in crushing the revolt. Volunteers from many countries, especially Greece, came to the aid of the insurgents, and arms were sent. A conference of European powers summoned in January 1869 to mediate the Turkish-Greek disagreements compelled Greece to decline aid to the insurgents; this action hastened the defeat of the uprising.

A new upsurge in the national-liberation war in Crete began as a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 (the uprisings of 1878, 1887, and 1895). The most significant was the uprising of 1896–97. It was provoked by the sultan’s act of replacing the Christian governor of Crete with a Muslim in March 1896. In the mountains of Crete a committee of insurgents was formed, and in May 1896 it called upon the island’s Greek population to rise in armed struggle for unification with Greece. In November 1896 the Ottoman Empire announced a “holy war” against the Cretans. A Greek detachment came to their aid, landing in Crete in February 1897. On Apr. 17, 1897, the empire declared war on Greece. Greece was defeated, and the Crete uprising was crushed.


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