Ahilleas Adamantiades, PhD
Dedicated by the author to the memory of his uncle G.Statharas,
who died in 2002,was born in Pergamos,Ionia,West Coast of Turkey,
and grew up in New Ionia(Volos).He was Director of the Government's Cashier's Office. PART A. ASIA MINOR REFUGEES IN VOLOS
A1. Preface It has been said and written that the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922 was the bigger tragedy of Hellenism, even compared to the fall of Constantinople, in 1453. This is so because Hellenism became at that time enslaved, but was not lost and did not disappear. On the contrary, it found ways to be flexible and survive and even to develop under the Ottoman Empire and mainly in the Asia Minor part and in its big cities, in the capital or the Empire and queen of the cities, Constantinople, as well as in the Smyrna of the Greeks, called by the Turks "ghiaour Izmir". Hellenism managed not only to survive but also to play a leading role in many sectors of social life, namely, education, science, and politics. In contrast following the catastrophe of 1922, Hellenism of Asia Minor, which lived and prospered there for 3000 years, writing brilliant pages of history and culture, was totally and radically exterminated to extinction. In the Metropolis of Asia MinorSmyrna, the queen of Ionian cities, the curtain of the Asia Minor tragedy fell at its waterfront, in an orgy of rape, slaughter, and violence, in the massive arson that the Turks started in order to extinguish every trace of Greek culture and presence in the City. The consequence of the tragedy was that 1.500.000 Greeks were forced to migrate to Greece as refugees, naked, destitute, and deprived of all their material goods. However the dynamism of Hellenism of Asia Minor with its physical stamina, education, and culture, its Christian Orthodox faith, its hard work and creative spirit, fought these difficult conditions, stood up, and managed to survive. It spread to all Greek territories and will founded cities, towns, and villages, which in many cases brought to Greece the names of their homes in Asia Minor they had kept in their heart, with the surname "new", for example, New Smyrna, New Philadelphia, New Chalkedon and, in the case of this report, New Ionia of Volos, in the Prefecture of Magnesia, whose name is also from Asia Minor. One year after the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922, a refugees' settlement was founded, a new city, with the name of New Ionia, in order to accommodate part of the Asia Minor refugees, who were scattered in tobacco warehouses, schools, old buildings, temporary tents, and other types of lodgings. New Ionia of Volos, the New Ionia of Magnesia and now Olympic City of 2004, did not exist 80 years ago! The area, in the North of Volos, was then a rural district with the name Xerokambos. It extended from the torrent Krafsindon up to another torrent that runs down from Pelion, named Xirias, from which begin the low northern hills of Pelion. The area was then a flat uncultivated piece of land, with thinly spread wild trees and bushes, but in due course, it would be transformed to a vigorous and vibrant city. We consider it advisable, before we present the history of New Ionia, to give a report on the three waves of refugees that flooded Volos, and made it so urgent to establish a refugees' settlements, and eventually, a new city that could accommodate the victims of the Asia Minor tragedy.
A2.Refugees called Mikrasiates During the Asia Minor Greek military expedition and after the catastrophe in 1922, three waves of refugees burst out from Asia Minor into Greece - and into Volos. The first, with Nikomedia refugees in 1921, the second with the big, so-called "black influx" in September 1922, and the third with the "population exchange".
A3 The first Wave "from Nikomedia " of 1921 In the spring of 1921, the government of Dimitrios Gounaris and the General Staff of the Army, had begun military activities in the region of Proussa and Nikomedia with a view to destroy Kemal's forces. In order to facilitate these military maneuvers, they decided the temporary displacement of the Greek residents of Nikomedia and Proussa regions to Greece. In fulfilling this plan, the first 3.500 refugees " from Nikomedia" were transported to Volos, on Wednesday of 16 June 1921, by the English steamboat "Relchers". After a few days, another steamship, "Evangelos" steaming from Gialova, brought 1.800 refugees from the villages around Gialova of Nikomedia (Katikioi, Elmali, Kios, Panormo, etc). These refugees were accommodated "temporarily" in tobacco warehouses in the Metamorphosis quarter (one of the Volos neighborhoods), in tents that were set up in fields above Analipseos St. and to the south of the Athletic Club. Unfortunately, these refugees remained in these tents and shacks for a long many years! These Nikomedia refugees, forced to leave their homes under the "Population Exchange Agreement" in 1924, became the core of a new settlement, made of shacks, in the eastern fringes of the City of Volos, where was, at that time, the end of Iolkou St. It was given the name of "Iolkos Settlement", however, the residents of Volos came to call "Parages", namely ramshackle structures made with cheap materials. In the decade of 50's, it was called "Saint Basil's settlement” after the construction of the homonymous Church (1951) there.
A4.The second, big, so-called "black influx" of 1922. The big "black wave" of Asia Minor refugees reached Volos on Monday, 19 September 1922. There miserable refugees left Smyrna and other towns of the Ionian coast –such as Dikeli- in a big hurry, with "the soul in the mouth", in order to escape avenging fury of the oncoming Turks. Keeping in one hand a bundle of clothes and holding tight their underage children with the other, with legs swollen from long walks, and the horrible images of their disaster reflected in their eyes, with the cries of the victims and the tramping noise of their persecutors echoing in their ears, they reached Mother Greece, asking for help and protection. From midnight of Sunday to Monday 19 September 1922, an armada of passenger boats began to enter the harbor of Volos, bringing thousands of stacked refugees; they had left the coast of Asia Minor after the defeat and retreat of the Greek army and the tragic events of Smyrna, in the last days of August 1922. The first boat to enter the harbor was the ocean liner "Great Greece" (Megali Ellas) with 8.000 refugees, followed by the boats "Miltiades and Vithinia" and, in the afternoon, by "Meandros"; in all the refugee count was in the thousands. The front-page news of the next day, in the local papers, was devoted to the arrival of the refugees. We quote below a small extract from the newspaper "THESSALIA" of Tuesday, 20 September 1922. "ARRIVAL OF THOUSANDS OF REFUGEES. YESTERDAY'S TRAGIC APPEARANCE Yesterday was a day of excitement for our city. The first "waves" of refugees of the Asia Minor destruction arrived in our harbor. With the tragedy of the last few days stamped onto their faces, veritable human rags, they began to gather around the peer and in the coffeehouse "Aktaion", constantly increasing i8n number and covering in the entire waterfront. Then, they spread to the nearby streets and all the sidewalks of first city blocks near the waterfront were full of refugees carrying their baggage.” The spectacle of these thousands of refugees broke everybody's heart. The journalist and director of the local newspaper "Thessalia", Takis Oikonomakis, in a two-column article on the font page of his newspaper of that same day (Tuesday, 20 September 1922) described the drama of the refugees and called everyone to help to ease their pain. We quote from this article: "THE BLACK INFLUX.The autumn calm of our port was disturbed by a big black wave, a wave of disaster. It entered and burst out on the shore from where it streamed into the whole city. And a feeling of supreme horror, indescribable emotion but of anger also shocked everyone. The other side of the Aegean coast sent this black wave. It consisted of the tragic victims of the horrible Asia Minor disaster, these shipwrecks of the Asiatic Hellenism, which the sea washed ashore. Over 10.000 refugees arrived here yesterday, flooding the islands and Aegean harbors closer to them. And these are the ones who pass through. Many others will follow, so almost 50.000 are expected to pass from our port to ask for a shelter in Thessaly. The spectacle of these dreary victims broke everybody's heart. They landed and kissed the ground. As they landed, others cried others smiled, thinking that their suffering has ended. Each family, each individual of these refugees is a tragedy, and is mourning. They, saw in front of their eyes, the Turks slaughtering their people, taking them prisoner and, all without exception, they saw with their own eyes the whole destruction of their homes and fortunes, of the entire life and existence perishing in the flames, which, like a funeral candle, lit the corpse of Asia Minor Hellenism together with that of Greece. The black wave of disaster continues to spread and overflow the whole of Greece. Let's bend over him and try to sweeten his pain as much as we can.The thousands of refugees had to be accommodated immediately and a piece of bread be given to them to sustain themselves. Indeed, the authorities and private charitable initiatives moved fast to satisfy the essential needs of these suffering people. For their accommodation, the authorities placed at their disposal large tobacco warehouses, schools, private residences and the old Turkish barracks in the Riga Ferraiou Square which had already been used to accommodate some other refugees. They were fed in public mess halls by the municipal authority and by the Lyceum of Greeks. For the sanitary protection, various measures were taken; specifically for the orphans, an Asylum was founded for their care, by a group of ladies of Volos. We learn from various sources where these refugees they temporary installed, particularly in the first 5-6 years: schools and buildings owned by various clubs, primary school for girls (in the Metamorphosis district), primary school for boys (in the Palaia district), two primary schools for boys and girls in the district of Saint Constantine, the primary schools for girls in the district of Saint Nicolas, the Zahos residence, which had been previously used as Science Lyceum, the Saratsion School for Girls, the private School "Kontogeorgiou", the library of "the Three Hierarchs", the Evangelical Church, the Kosmadopoulos residence, and the Municipal Theatre. The tobacco warehouses used to accommodate the refugees were: Aggelidou, Asvesta, Adam, Vlahaki, Giziki, Glavani, Zarkadou, Kyriakopoulou, Melahrinou, Moulouli, Papaiossif, Papasymeon, Sakka, Tzamali, and Tzonidou. Other buildings that were used to house the refugees were in the region the Old Limenarchio (Old Port Authority), miscellaneous stores and shacks. Meanwhile, the refugees "from Nikomedia", already mentioned above, still remained in tents above Analipseos Street, behind the Athletic Club.
A5.The Third Wave: The Refugees of the Population Exchange of 1924. In the Treaty of Lausanne, it had been agreed to have an exchange of populations (Protocol of 30 January 1923). In application of this agreement, the few Muslim who lived in the Volos area (mainly in Palea and in Gyftica) left Volos on the 26th of August 1924. Precisely one month later (26 and 29 September 1924) two steamboats arrived at the harbor of Volos, one from Mersina of Kappadokia and the other from Samsounta of Pontos. Greek refugees numbering 4.022 were exchanged mainly from the interior of Asia Minor (Lydia, Pissidia, Pontos and Kappadokia). After they had a very rough time in long trips and after having been “quarantined" in Piraeus, these people were taken to a site beyond the torrent Krafsindon, south of cemetery of Volos, where the authorities had prepared for them a camp of tents for their temporary accommodation. It was here and at that time that the refugees begun their new lives as refugees, living in one-room houses, in the refugees' settlement of New Ionia that the Committee for the Re-settlement of refugees had built. From the first month of their life in the settlement, serious problems arose, because of lack of running water and even of toilets; so, the result was various diseases, 270 people died In two months! The authorities were alarmed and began to discuss a possible move of the refugees to other places. They finally decided that they were to be transported to another, healthier location and that was the site an olive grove opposite and around the Athletic Club where the refugees " from Nikomedia" were already living in tents. But the authorities did not have the opportunity to accomplish the move in an orderly fashion because the refugees themselves, when informed that they would be moved to another location, picked up and moved there and began to build small huts by their own hands, using cheap materials, to accommodate their families. There, together with the “Nikomedia" refugees the newly arrived refugees founded the "Refugee Settlement of Iolkos", so named because it was located at the end of the central Iolkou Street. Up until the decade of 50's, as we have noted previously, the citizens of Volos called this settlement "paranges” (or “huts"); later, it took the name "Saint Basil's Settlement " from the homonymous Church that was built by the refugees in honor of their patron Saint Basil from Caesarea of Kappadokia. Indeed, the majority of the inhabitants in this settlement were refugees from Kappadokia (Caesarea, Ikonio, Nigdi Misti) and a minority from other parts of Asia Minor.
A6.The Asia Minor refugees in Volos. General Census of 1928. After the arrival of the last waves of refugees of the Population Exchange, including those who migrated voluntarily in order to give themselves a better chance in life, the General Statistical Service of the Ministry of National Economy of Greece decided to conduct a general census. The census took place on 15-16 of May 1928, with the primary goal of identifying those who were "Refugees of the Asia Minor Catastrophe". Meanwhile, as we have already noted, the Refugees Settlement of New Ionia had already been founded in August 1923 but its official inauguration was celebrated on the 28th of December 1924. It is remarkable that in this census, the district of New Ionia is treated as a separate entity, as a built-up area within the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and Nea ionia) as shown in the census results below: Municipality of Pagasses, the city of Volos (Statistical Results of the census of the Population of Greece, 15-16 of May 1928, Table l d, page 75). 1. Volos. Total number of inhabitants 41.706 Refugees of the Asia Minor Catastophe. Total number of inhabitants 6.779 (percentage of refugees in Volos 16,25%) 2. Nea Ionia district. Total number of inhabitants 6.186 Refugees of the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Total number of inhabitants 5.166 (Percentage of refugees in the district of New Ionia 83,51 %) Total number in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and New Ionia), inhabitants: 47.892 Total number of refugees in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and New Ionia): 11.945 Percentage of refugees in the Municipality of Pagasses (Volos and New Ionia): 24,94% In the 1920 census, Volos had 30.046 inhabitants but according to the 1928 census, as shown above, he population gew to 47.892. Thus, in just eight years, the population increased by 17.846 inhabitants, or by 59,40%. This is a large demographic change in less than a decade (1920-1928). This should unquestionably be considered as a top historical event in the development of the city of Volos, in the decade 1920-1930. The arrival of the refugees and their installation in Volos and New Ionia, proved to be not only a demographic explosion, but also and mainly a force that shaped new dynamic conditions of social structure, political thought, culture and cultural enrichment, industrial and commercial growth. These created a new picture and a new dynamic in the city, that constituted the basis of the current physiognomy of the city; this was, of course, in addition to the events of the last forty years (1881--1922) that started in 1881 with the liberation of the City from the Ottoman rule, in economic, social, and cultural development. The 12.000 refugees (that is to say, the 24,9 % of residents of Volos), originating from Ionia, Kappadokia, Pontos and Eastern Thrace, who were installed in Volos-New Ionia, with their hard work, cultural identity, and their creative spirit, contributed decisively in the progress and development of City of Volos. After the difficulties of adaptation of the first generation of refugees, the next generation were quickly absorbed and assimilated earning a living by the native population of Volos and were able to earn a living, united with the indigenous population in common struggles for social justice, political freedom, and national unity.
B. THE FOUNDING OF NEW IONIA
B1. The founding of the new city and its name. After the arrival in Volos of the second wave of Asia Minor Catastrophe refugees (19 September 1922), the situation became tragic. We have already seen that they has to be accommodated in tobacco warehouses, schools, tents, and miscellaneous other buildings. The situation was similarly dramatic on a national level, and particularly in the big cities where thousands of refugees had gathered (Athens, Piraeus, Salonica, and Patras) so that the Ministry of Social Services decided to found refugees' settlements in those large cities in order to accommodate them. For this purpose, the Government established in Athens the Central Committee for the Accommodation of Refugees. This Committee established a fund for social services to the refugees, using funds earmarked mainly from the government budget but also from other private donors. Subcommittees of this fund were created in each city. In Volos, the Government appointed as chairman of Local Committee the industrialist Christos Loulis who was Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Volos. In the meantime, and until these committees and Subcommittees were activated, the winter of 1922 had passed and the refugees had to be accommodated urgently in tobacco warehouses, schools and in other lodgings. On the 18th of June 1923, the Municipal Council of Pagasses met to decide the construction of a refugees' settlement. The Prefect of Larissa (Volos belonged at that time to the Prefecture of Larissa), the director of the Provident Fund for Refugees and the Chairman of the local chapter of the Fund, Mr. Christos Loulis were present. In this historic meeting, the following persons were present from the Municipal Council of Pagasses: Nikolaos Papaioannou, who was substituting for the mayor, Kostis Glavanis, who was on holiday, Georgios Koutsikos, as Chairman of the Municipal Council, Efstathios Skretas, as Secretary and members Dimitrios Koukiadis, Georgios Economou, Kostas Zampalos, Spyros Spiridis Georgios Papageorgiou, and Nikolaos Tsalapatas. At the beginning of the meeting, Christos Loulis announced that the Central Provident Fund for Refugees would give one million drachmas (l.000.000) in order to found a refugees settlement in Volos. The municipal Council accepted this offer and at the same time it requested a loan of five hundred thousands drachmas (500.000) to accommodate 4.000-5.000 refugees, who occupied 1/4 of the tobacco warehouses in Volos, which could not be used for commercial purposes thus creating unemployment. The Port Committee of Volos was also called to add a proportional sum for this goal. Thus, the processes began for the construction of a refugees settlement in Volos. A civil engineer came tp Volos from Athens and, with the engineers of the municipality, tried to find a suitable district and land plots for the construction of the settlement. After researching (a) the area of Anavros, south of the Archeological Museum, (b) the area of Tsimpouki, in the direction of the village Alli Meria, at the height of Yiannis Dimou St. and (c) the rural area of Xirocambos, north of the torrent Krafsidon, they were led to the third choice (c). There, at the extension of the 2nd of November St. beyond the Orphanage, by the torrent Krafsindon, and near the Saint Barbara district, occupied by a number of huts of the village Makrinitsa, the refugees settlement would be founded. The Committee for Lodging the Refugees was moving to establish the refugees' settlement at the location of Xirokampos aiming to finish before the winter came. In the first days of August 1923, the preparatory works begun. The mapping of four blocks with thirty-two buildings was made, wells were opened for the water supply and excavations for the foundations began. Such large works for the re-establishment of refugees should have been inaugurated officially. It was August 1923 and it appeared that the big day of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (15 August) was suitable for festive openings for the foundation stone of the refugee settlement. On the eve of the feast, we read in the local newspaper “O Tachydromos” ("The Postman") (14 - 8 -1923): THE INAUGURATION OF THE REFUGEES' SETTLEMENT
"A telegram from the Prefect of Larissa, Mr. Tsitsilias, was received yesterday, announcing that the ceremony of the foundation stone of the refugees’ settlement will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, at 6 p.m. The Prefect, the municipal authorities of the city, the committee of the refugees and a lot of people will be present.” The good news was spread immediately by word of mouth to the refugees' settlement. The "Nikomedia Refugees", who had lived in tents around the Athletic Club were very pleased. Those who were packet in the old Turkish barracks, in the Rigas Ferreos Square and saw with joy the carts stretching to the end of the 2nd of November St. carrying building materials realized that something good was to be done for them. The "sit-in refugees" of central schools of Volos felt encouraged because certain information reached hem that they would be accommodated first, in order to give the classrooms back to the students to begin their classes in September. The refugees who were packed in tobacco warehouses, who lived in "luxurious apartments" separated only with patchworks and gunnies, were relieved because they finally would have a house in the settlement, and the warehouses would be opened again. And the rest of them who were "accommodated" in requisitioned houses or who had themselves found a place to put up their families, were also relieved because something would also be provided for them. All the refugees dreamed of a house of their own in the refugees' settlement! At last, the big day of 15th of August 1923 came; it was a Wednesday. What a day for those suffering people! It was a year ago, when those refugees of 1922 came to the homeland, on the day of Virgin Mary who saved them; today, these same people will go to Xirokampos, beyond the torrent Krafsindon, to be witness the foundation stone of the houses that the state is building for them. No more warehouses, no more schools, no more Turkish barracks and tents! It was the afternoon of the 15th of August 1923, 6 p.m. A varied crowd, mainly from Asia Minor, with women and children gathered in the place that had been fixed to put the foundation stone of the first house. The loud voice of Bishop Germanos of Dimitrias echoed: "God be praised". The ceremony began. Everybody was silent and made the sign of the cross, " God save your people". The refugees experienced the sanctity of the moment. It was those people who brought from their homeland, their faith and Christian traditions. After the ceremony of holy water, the Prefect Tsitsilias placed the foundation stone, very excited, and gave the name "NEA IONIA" to the new settlement. The name brought tears of joy and excitement to the eyes of Asia Minor refugees' (Mikrasiates). Although they had left the Ionian land naked and starving, carrying their country in their hearts and souls, they are now full of national pride and hearing the name "NEW IONIA" ringing in their ears for ever. Their New Ionia would become the ark of Asia Minor Hellenism, where refugees from Smyrna, Constantinople, Aivali and Pergamos, Vourli , Proussa , Nikomedia, Pontos, Kappadokia and other places, would confess their Orthodox Christian faith, their Greek conscience and education, in order to create a new city with honest, hard working, creative people, who love God, Life, and their fellow man. Speeches followed and the ceremony closed with wishes and celebrations. It was Wednesday the 15th of August 1923, when the new town had been created with the name of New Ionia of Volos and of Magnesia. On the next day, Thursday 16th of August 1923, "O Tachydromos" carried on its front page the following story:
YESTERDAY'S INAUGURATION OF THE REFUGEES' SETTLEMENT. THE DELIVERED SPEECHES.
"Yesterday afternoon the foundation stone of the refugees settlement was put in place. During the ceremony the Prefect, Mr. Tsitsilias, the authorities of the City of Volos, and a great number of refugees were present. The settlement was given the name "New Ionia", in remembrance of the refugees' origin, Ionia of Asia Minor. Mr. Tsitsilias, Mr. Koukiadis, Mayor of Pagasses (the official name of the city of Volos) and Mr. Vardas, Vice President of Asia Minor Refugee Association, gave memorable speeches. We quote from these speeches below:
THE PREFECT'S SPEECH
"Refugees! The Ionian Greece did not die. It has fallen asleep. It is waiting for you and for the other children of Greece to celebrate its Resurrection. Forget the bitterness that you have tasted, as have all those who love Greece, and be sure that the Government of Revolution, which worked hard for you, will take care to make you happy in your new country".
THE SPEECH OF A REFUGEE
"Without forgetting our fathers' graves, which the barbarians’ foot has stepped on, without forgetting the land which we forced to abandon, without forgetting yesterday's happiness, we shall try to bear patiently our misfortune and offer our new country our best efforts to become capable to serve it, as loyal and honest patriots. The city of Volos will be our own country, and its inhabitants our beloved brothers with whom will shall cooperate and move forward". "THE MAYOR'S SPEECH" Mr. Koukiadis addressed the gathering with these words: "...Your needs will be our needs, your desires our desires, your thoughts our thoughts. First, the Municipality of Pagasses gave a large amount of money for the reconstruction of your settlement as it was morally obliged to do. He will not cease from giving any possible assistance, moral or material, in order to satisfy your needs. … The City of Volos thinks of you as beloved brothers, distinguished citizens, martyrs and victims of Freedom.....” After the ceremony the refugees were shown the location of their yet to be constructed new “homes", while in their ears echoed the speeches of the officials, expressing their sympathy and promising to help. Sure enough, they had to go back to the tobacco warehouses, schools, the Turkish barracks, tents and huts to sleep and dream of a sweet dream: soon before the winter comes, to find themselves under a roof and in walls of their own house, to organize their new life!
B2.Completion of the first houses. Inauguration. In spite of the promise and willingness of the authorities to complete the settlement before Winter, that promise was not fulfilled. The end of 1923 found the refugees celebrating the new year 1924 in the warehouses and other lodgings. They painfully found out that the promised work could not be completed for various reasons. The delay was due mainly to the changing responsible for the resettlement of refugees. Initially, the work of the resettlement of refugees had been undertaken by the Central Committee of Accommodation, that was constituted by the Ministry of Social Welfare. The authorities, however, soon realized that the work they faced was of colossal dimsnsions and required a lot of money. For this reason the Government addressed itself to the League of Nations (the United Nations of that age) and asked its support in obtaining a loan of 12.300.000 English pounds, on the condition to establish an independent organization to administer this money for the resettlement of the refugees to the exclusion of any other purpose. Thus, on the 29th of September 1923, the COMMITTEE for the RESETTLEMENT of REFUGEES was founded; it took over its duties on the 11th of November 1923. The great philanthropist and friend of Greece Henry Morgenthow (ambassador of the U.S.A. in Turkey before 1922), was named its first President; Vice President was the former commissioner of England in India, Sir John Campbel, while Stephen Deltas was appointed as Treasurer and Pericles Argyropoulos as General Secretary. During 1924, waiting for the funds to become available (they actually came at the end of that year, in December 1924) the Committee used funds received as advance payment from the Bank of England and the National Bank of Greece. It is important to note that Henry Morgenthow visited New Ionia on the 29th of March 1928 and inspected the refugees' settlement, where he talked with them and was informed of their problems. And, as the newspapers commented, he was very pleased with the situation of the refugees in Volos. However, these developments and processes were time consuming and the work for the construction of the houses of New Ionia, which was founded on the 15th of August 1923, was not making much progress. At the beginning of January 1924, a number of houses had been built but some completion work remained to be done. Then a shocking event took place that forced the authorities to act immediately and to give solutions for the accommodation of the refugees in New Ionia. Revealing and shocking are the news published in the newspaper "O Tachydromos" on Friday, the 11th of January 1924: "TYPHUS - DIAGNOSED CASES" "From the beginning of the last month, December 1923, a few cases of typhus were identified in two of the warehouses, where refugees from Odemision and Nikomedia lived. The persons affected were transported to the Achillopoulion Hospital. They were about thirty and their names are the following: (names and age of each were listed) ... Twenty five (25) of them lived in the warehouse Asvesta, near Metamorphosis, while the rest in the warehouse Sakka. They are all refugees except for one whose origin is Volos, a nurse at the Achillopoulion Hospital. The municipality informed us that the refugees who lived in the warehouses, where typhus was found, has now decreased. Many of them were transported to the new settlement and were settled in rooms of which construction was completed. In these rooms window panes were installed and mats were laid on the floor.” Here were, by name, the first settlers of New Ionia to be accommodated! They were those affected by typhus who for the purpose of isolating them, were installed with their families in half-finished rooms in the refugees settlement, far from the city, beyond the torrent Krafsindon. Let us keep in mind the date, the tenth of January 1924, and let us take in our hearts the drama of these families, that were the first to be installed in New Ionia, in "rooms in which window panes were placed and mats were laid on the floor", remembering also In this second article, authored by Kostas Liapis, Series Editor Achilles G. Adamantiades explores further the historical development of Volos focusing on the period from the first occupation of the town by the Turks(circa 1396) until its final liberation in 1881.This historical interval is considered especially in connection with the Castle of Volos, which played a major role in the Ottoman control of the regions of Thessaly and Magnesia. The article offers unique and very interesting glimpses on the background of one of the major urban centers of modern Greece, which has been selected as one of the sites for the Olympic Games of 2004. THE TURKISH OCCUPATION IN THESSALY AND MAGNESIA AND THE ROLE OF THE CASTLE OF VOLOS
By Kostas Liapis Series Editor: Achilles G. Adamantiades The Turks Conquer Thessaly and Magnesia In 1396-1397, the Turks conquer, after a negotiated truce, the largest part of Thessaly, which includes the region of the old Dimitriada. However, that occupation did not last for long because, after the defeat of the Sultan Bayazit by the Mongols of Tamerlane at the battle of Ankara (1402) and after the negotiations of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Palaiologos with the new Sultan Souleiman, the regions of Thessaly and Central Greece, which were under the Turkish occupation, devolved again to the Byzantine Empire. But that liberation of Thessaly from the Turks was proved to be temporary, because, after a few decades, the troops of the new Sultan, Mourat the 2nd, reconquer the Thessalian region. When the Turks, under General Tourahan Bey, reconquer Thessaly and Magnesia in 1423, they show no interest in the almost uninhabited mountainous Pelion; the mountain, with its wild vegetation, absence of productive settlements and lack of substantial arable lands does not present any particular financial interest for the Turks. Therefore, they limit their occupation to the richer, flat and semi-mountainous areas, namely, the basin of Volos, the small plain of Koropi, the rich corner of Zervochia and the arable flat region of Argalasti. Later, they conquer also the fertile plain of Lechonia, after the final expulsion of its Venetian exploiters; that event occurred in 1470. In these areas, the Turks established the families of the Turkish Officials (spahides), to whom they distribute the rich grounds of these productive regions. In these same regions, the Ottomans will transferred, after the removal of the Greek residents, many poor Ottoman families that were earlier installed in the Peloponnese and mostly from the island of Skiathos; these Ottoman settlers will take over the cultivation of the rich lands. It has been said that the transfer of the Ottomans of Skiathos to Pelion took place during the era of Sultan Souleiman the 2nd, on the initiative of the prominent Ottoman Sheik Souvar Bey. He is thought to have been the one that reestablished the almost destroyed old Byzantine Castle of Volos; a Turkish guard settled in that Castle, from the beginning of the Turkish occupation in Thessaly and Magnesia. Sheik Souvar Bey took also care of the construction of the mosque Souloumanie in the Castle. The occupation of Thessaly and Magnesia by the Turks forced most of the few Greek residents, who were even before the Turkish conquest, serfs and working hands of the local or Venetian masters, to gradually abandon their houses and to take refuge, together with their entire families, in Mount Pelion, where sparse incorporations of monastery tenant farmers or free farmers had existed. There, away from the greed and arbitrariness of the Turkish despots, the residents of the coastal zone of Pagasitikos will create their initially shabby houses in regions where there were already installed a few farmers, cattle-breeders, and growers, and will fight hard for their survival, trying to subjugate the forested mountain and its wild nature. These early and shabby habitations, which were founded on the pattern of the first farming community, evolved with time after the arrival and installation on Mount Pelion of fugitives from the rest of the occupied country, in permanent and well organized centers of economic activity and social life. By the end of the 16th century, one encounters on Mount Pelion the first structured and organized communities. So, one and a half century after the conquest of Thessaly and Magnesia by the Turks, the almost uninhabited mountainous Pelion acquires many organized communities, which will later evolve, thanks to the privileges obtained from the Turks, into outstanding, autonomous, and self-governing settlement units. The Administrative and Tax Framework in Thessaly and Magnesia under the Turkish Occupation From the beginning of the Turkish occupation, all of Mount Pelion, which was then known as “the Mountain of Zagora”, belonged to the properties of the Crown. Later and until 1655, the region of the old Mountain of the Centaurs was divided by the Turks, as far as taxation was concerned, in five large parts or in 24 “ziamets” or “timars”; from those 24 timars derives the often used appellation of “24 villages of Pelion”. This means that by 1655 all the large villages of Pelion had been established. It is also historically confirmed that before 1614, a large part of Pelion was conceded by a sultanic firman to the military commander of Constantinople, the Aga Hatzi Moustafa; on his initiative, a new sultanic edict was issued. By this edict, the ownership of the region that belonged to Aga Hatzi Moustafa passed to the Sultana Asma Hanoum (the queen mother) and, as far as taxation was concerned, the rights passed to the “Vakouf” (property foundation) of the two holy towns, Mekka and Medina. However, similar sultanic edicts that determined the administrative and tax status of the villages on Pelion, were issued during the 17th century; consequently, the villages of Pelion were divided in dependent (“Vakouf”) and independent (“Hasia”) villages. The first category, which was dedicated to the holy institutions of the Ottoman government (Pyli), was the most numerous. In that category belonged the villages of Makrinitsa, Argalasti, Metohi, Bistinika, Siki, Bir, Drakia, Aghios Lavrentios, Aghios Georgios, Pinakates, Visitsa, Lafkos, Promiri, Mouresi, Kissos and Makryrahi. These villages depended on the conqueror and enjoyed particular privileges. Daniel Filippides and Grigorios Konstantas wrote in their “Modern Geography”: “The Turks are not allowed to enter in these villages and impose their brutality”. The villages were self-governed by the village elders (or kotzambasides), who were elected every year on the day of Saint George through democratic procedures by universal suffrage, which nevertheless were not always irreproachable. The elected (usually two) elders assumed, during their one-year service, the responsibility to take care of everything that was happening in town and represented the people of the land in its relations with the Turkish authorities. They were responsible for their actions only to the legal representative of the queen mother (known as the Voevodas of Pelion), to whom they also transferred the residents’ taxes which were collected on the basis of an official list by a tax collector nominated by them. His base was in Argalasti, but later, Makrinitsa became the capital of the independent villages on Pelion and, for a short period of time, also Aghios Georgios. Contrasted to the independent villages, Ano Volos, Katichori, Portaria, Milies, Propan, Labinou, Neochori, Niaou, Tsangarada, Zagora, Pouri and Anilio were privately-owned and did not have any administrative autonomy. These villages depended on military or political timar-holders (saipides), who were usually chieftains (spahides) of Thessaly, Roumeli, Macedonia and Thrace. During the first years of their classification in the category of privately-owned villages, they had to pay heavy taxes. Later on, the administrative and tax status in these villages changed for the better and there were periods of time when the central Turkish authorities treated both categories of villages in almost the same manner. Of course, the Castle of Volos, which was controlled and inhabited exclusively by Turks (as was the village of Lechonia), had nothing to do with the administrative and tax status that was in force in the villages on Mount Pelion, at least until 1840. The Castle, having no administrative power during the first centuries of its occupation by the Turks, became the base of a sub-prefect who was in charge of the administration; he exercised a general and discreet administrative supervision and intervened, at least before the Revolution, only in cases of serious state issues. The Castle of the Old Golos: a Turkish Military Center When Taharan Bey conquers Thessaly and Magnesia, in 1423, he immediately recognizes the strategic importance of the old Byzantine Castle of Golos (today’s Volos). Built, according to one version, by the Emperor Justinian around a low hillock in the Gulf of Pagasitikos (in today’s region of “Palaia”), the old Castle constituted the continuity of a very old life and history; that fact is also proven by the many and different archeological findings that were discovered by the excavations in the region. The archeologists named the region “the Citadel of Iolkos”. When the Turks completed the occupation of the region, they must have demolished all the old fortresses that had been built by the local lords of Thessaly and Magnesia for the protection of their subjects from the pirates. The Turks reconstructed the old Castle and used it, until the end of their military presence in Thessaly and Magnesia, as the only military center in all of Southeastern Thessaly. From the beginning of the Turkish occupation, and after the Christian residents of the Castle had been expelled, the Ottomans installed in the Castle a permanent powerful guard, headed by a Castle Master (Mouhavouz), as well as the Agha of the Castle (the ruler of the Castle), who later ceded his place to the sub-prefect, a policeman, a tax-collector, a harbor-master, a chief customs officer and other officials with their families. They, little by little, built their summer lodgings, in the form of fortified towers (pyrgospita) in the lush green gardens of the today’s Ano Volos. The area of the Castle interior comprised about 13,000 square meters (13 stremmata); its perimeter, as drawn on a plan by the famous Venetian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli, dated 1668, had the shape of a trapeze with its eastern side broken and its angles curved, two of which led up to round towers. The Turks built another 25 towers and between them many ramparts and battlements, over which they placed, for the first time, tens of cannons. In order to ensure the complete defensive capability of the Castle, the Turks opened, at the foot of the rampart, a wide ditch which they filled with water. The northeastern side of the Castle was the most reinforced one as a last resort Acropolis, with the building of a second, interior wall; today, that spot is occupied by the Christian church of Aghioi Theodoroi. Inside the Castle, the Turks built or repaired about 100 houses in order to lodge their Ottoman families; they also constructed barracks for the guard, food storehouses, a powder house, public baths and three pumps for supplying water to those who lived in the Castle; the water was flowing through underground earthen pipes from Ano Volos. They must have also constructed a few wells inside the Castle, as well as outside it, mainly on the western side. At least one century after the capture of the Castle, one or two temples of the “new religion”, are constructed according to the archeologist N. Papachatzis. The minaret of one of them (if there were indeed two mosques, which is highly doubtful) survived in a semi-destroyed state to the year 1955, when it collapsed during the earthquakes of that year. It should be mentioned that the Castle communicated with the port and its region through two arched gates. The bigger one was decorated with marble columns and was situated in the middle of the southern side of the wall, communicating directly with the port. The other gate, known as the “Black Gate”, was situated in the middle of the northern side of the wall and communicated with Mount Pelion and the interior of Thessaly. That was in general terms the picture of the Castle during the centuries following its capture and reconstruction by the Turks. It was small but strong and was used by the Ottoman conquerors as the sole military center in Thessaly and Magnesia during the period of the Turkish occupation. The Port of Volos during the First Three Centuries of the Turkish Occupation The Castle, despite its direct contact with a significant port that was suitable for the development of commerce and therefore, a natural gate for the exportation of agricultural products, did not evolve in proportion to its privileged location, because neither did the particular port evolve proportionately to its potential during the first centuries of the Turkish occupation. The slow pace of life that the indolent Turkish administration imposed in the Castle and its region, the frequent prohibitions for exporting wheat which the Turkish administration imposed in periods of shortage or of war, and the general indifference of the Turks toward commerce, had a negative influence on commercial activity and on economic development in the region. During this time, the climate of stagnation is reflected in the Port of Volos where all economic activity is almost completely dead until the middle of the 16th century. The Turkish geographer and seaman Perry-Reich typically describes the decline of the region in 1521, one century after the installation of the Turks in the Castle. In particular, he does not find any town or port in the cove of Pagasitikos, except for the Castle which is in a constant a state of war preparedness! Things start to get better during the second half of the 16th century, as far as the Port of Volos is concerned; the Port begins, little by little, to acquire significance analogous to its location as a transport center. Wheat is transported from the Thessaly interior despite the fact that large wheat quantities are stored in the Castle’s storehouses, which the Turks intend to use in difficult times of the Ottoman Empire – for the supply of Constantinople, in particular- but also for the feeding of the Turkish armed forces. Except for the Greek and foreign (mainly French) merchants, the Jews contributed significantly to the commercial and economic development of the Port of Volos. The Jews are installed, with the permission of the Turks, in an area northeast of the Castle. Having rented most of the shops and storehouses inside and outside the Castle, they became the most active and vital part of the Castle (since Greek people were not allowed to live in it) and the Port, thanks to their commercial acumen. As is written in a document of 1587, the Jews first appear in Volos at the end of the 16th century. It is possible that they were settled near the Castle much earlier. They came from the prosperous Jewish community of the Two Almyri. During the 12th century, that community counted, according to the Spanish Jewish traveler Rabbi Benjamin, about 400 residents. During the following years, the Port of Volos acquires some significance that brings it to international recognition, despite the fact that it has no wharf to speak of. On the 2nd of January 1625, Vailo, a Venetian, from Corfu, composes a confidential report in which he states: “Our confidential emissary, who was sent to gather information about the movements of the Spanish King’s spy in Thessaly reported that Volos is not a town, not even a village, but a big port where many boats approach”. The significance of the port is also presented in another confidential report–thesis of the French diplomat and ambassador of France in Constantinople for 15 years, Sieur De Brèves. His thesis had a Greek-style title: “ Concise essay on the sure ways for the destruction of the Ottoman leaders”. The author sent in his thesis to the French King, Louis XIII. The thesis was published in Paris in 1628 and among other interesting things, it states: “It is known that the largest part of the supplies, which are destined to go to Constantinople, comes from Volos. If that region is conquered, Constantinople will collapse because of starvation. A boat will not risk the transport of rice, sugar and other necessary supplies from Egypt, if the passage from Aegean is prohibited”. Despite all the above, the commercial and maritime activity in the Port of Volos was not, during all these years, proportional to its full potential. Consequently, the Turkish market town near the Castle shows no signs of progress or development. This lack of progress must be attributed to the lack of any interest and political will on behalf of the Turkish occypiers. The Turks were not interested in commerce, development, progress, or culture. Pirate and Venetian Raids on the Coastline of Pagasitikos from the 15th to the 17th Century The low interest on the part of the Turks for the development of maritime commerce and the profitable exploitation of the Port of Volos was due, during that particular period of time, to an additional reason. That reason was the intense and destructive action of pirate ships, which, during the 15th and the 16th century, constituted a real scourge for the commercial ships inside and outside the Pagasitikos Gulf. Those pirate ships were coming from a variety of countries, such as South Africa, Spain, Italy and Turkey. For instance, in 1539, a Turkish pirate ship that was commanded by Hereindin Barbarossa, seized the island of Skiathos and used it as a base of operations and sea raids. An official report, written by Venetian diplomatic agents states on the issue of pirate raids against the Port of Volos: “Constantinople, 7 September 1587: a big pirate raid took place against the town of Volos. The pirates caused great damage on the land and the ships that were anchored in the Port of Volos. The pirates captured all the men who were on commercial ships ready to load wheat, including some Jews. The boats that suffered that pirate incursion were French and Venetian. On the other hand, the pirate ships were from Spain, Genoa and Florence”. In addition to the raids by the pirate ships, the Turkish ships and the entire of Pagasitikos Gulf coast under the Turkish occupation, the Port and the Castle of Volos suffered also frequent incursions by the Venetian fleet; Turks and Venetians were, during these years, in a permanent state of confrontation. One of the first incursions took place in 1469 when the Venetian Admiral Nicolo Kanali ravaged the coastline. Another incursion took place in 1647; the Venetian Admiral John the Baptist Grimani gave chase to the Turkish fleet inside the Pagasitikos Gulf.
The Siege and Conquest of the Castle of Volos by Morozini This episode took place during the 25-year war between the Turks and the Venetians (1645-1669). During that period, Crete was the apple of contention. During that war, the most serious episode in the long history of the Castle of Volos took place. Specifically, on the 13th of March 1655, the Castle of Volos receives a violent attack by sea from 25 galleys of the Venetian fleet, which appeared suddenly in front of the Port of Volos; its Admiral was the famous “doge of the seas” Francisco Morozini. What was the purpose of that attack? Vicenzo Coronelli will later give the answer through a chronicle. Coronelli utilized the pictorial and literary notes of the engineers and technicians that accompanied the Venetian war operations and thus gained the reputation as the best and official cartographer and map engraver of the Venetian Republic. Referring to the Morozini expedition against the Castle of Volos,. Coronelli wrote in his book “Description Géographique et Historique de la Morée reconquise par les Venitiens” (Paris, 1686): “The Castle of Volos, which was named by the Latins “Pagasai”, occupied a large area and was supported by archaic walls (these are probably the walls of the old Dimitriada)… The Port of Volos is good and spacious. It is situated in the region of Thessaly that is named Magnesia… behind the Gulf of Golos that Plinios calls Pagasitikos. In this region, the Turks constructed storehouses for war supplies, crackers and flour taken from neighboring provinces, which were extremely fertile. General Morozini, Commander of the Army of the Venetian Republic, after the conquest of Aigina, in 1655, decided to campaign against Volos, in order to take its food supplies, which will relieve his troops for a long time to come. His arrival amazed the residents who did not expect him there. Without delay, he bombarded the Castle and consequently, those inside the Castle became utterly desperate as they had to either flee or fall into bondage. In the meantime, the Venetians brought onshore Colonel Briton who was the leader of the attack. He managed to wedge an explosive missile in the gate that gave onto the Port and ordered his men to go up to the wall by a ladder placed in another location of the Castle wall. Their enemies did not have the strength to resist and tried to save themselves by fleeing and abandoning the passage free to the Christians at those two places. The Pasha who governed the Castle, together with the Agha, retreated to another place of town that was more fortified (possibly, the Citadel of the Castle). But, when they saw that they had lost everything that could be used for their defense, they chose to escape rather than be killed. The expedition was successful, as Morozini had wished. He loaded his boats with more than 4 millions pounds of hardtacks, many war supplies and 27 canons. He put fire on everything that was left behind, storehouses, homes, and mosques and, before leaving, brought down all the walls”. These tragic incidents took place in March 1655; The Cretan Marinos Tzane Bounialis describes these incidents in a chronicle in verse. However, historic facts do not exactly correspond with the descriptions of either the Venetian cartographer or the Cretan versifier, at least as far as the complete destruction of the walls and of other buildings is concerned. This can be proven by the fact that, during the decade of 1660, the Castle of Volos exists in full, with all its canons turned towards the Port. Its walls and all the other “burned out” buildings (houses, mosques, storehouses, etc.) do not give the impression of having been demolished and reconstructed, as Coronelli had written. The Turkish traveler Evligia Tselebi visited the Castle in 1668 and wrote: “The Castle is on the seaside, is five-sided and made of stone. It is very robust and solid. Because this high Castle is founded at the edge of a bay that opens to the White Sea (the traveler means the Aegean Sea), its gate gives to the northeastern direction… But its canons are not very big and the Castle, as it is an old building, has many delapidated parts. Inside its walls, there are houses and a mosque, while at the lower side of the Port, huge storehouses can be found…” The same traveler, when referring to the incursion of the Venetian fleet, which he transposes to the time of his visit to the region (unless he refers to another incursion which has not been recorded), talks about the pillage of food and of any other precious objects inside the Castle, but does not mention any destruction of the walls or of any other buildings by the Venetians. The complete destruction of the Castle, as Coronelli has described it, is refuted by two detailed drawings of the Castle that were made by Coronelli himself. The first one is entitled “Prospetto di Volo” (A view of Volos) and shows the port with its rudimentary wharf, and the Castle with its ramparts and towers, the buildings inside the Castle, the mosque and its minaret, and the shops, storehouses and the huts on the coastline outside the Castle. The second drawing is entitled “Plan della Fort di Volo” (A Map of the Fort of Volos) and constitutes a view of the Castle; it depicts accurately the perimeter of the exterior and the interior wall, the towers, the ramparts, the two gates, the wharf and also the wells that were outside the western side of the Castle. These two engravings made of copper by Coronelli, constitute unique documents describing the Castle in the middle of the 17th century and are included in many more recent research publications; the first and older publication is the one of the Dutchman Oliv. Dapper, in 1703. These two engravings in which Coronelli and his collaborators reflected the plans of surveyors and others technicians who participated in the incursion against the Castle on March 1655, prove that the Castle was not completely destroyed. The Most Important Events of the 18th Century in the Region of Thessaly and Magnesia and in the Castle of Volos After the incursion of Morozini, the renovated Castle of Volos continued its stagnated course and its role as the only Turkish military center in the region of Thessaly and Magnesia up until the end of the 17th century (and even after), with no other dramatic events happening. The chronicler of Volos, Athos Trigonis, emphasizes that “The Turks repaired (therefore, did not have to reconstruct) the destroyed Castle. Thus the little Castle continued its undistinguished and uneventful life. It was so insignificant indeed that today we have no more than some obscure information about its evolution from the middle of the 17th until the end of the 18th century”. From the beginning of the 18th century and while the Castle of Volos continues its quiet life, a real cosmogony takes place in the self-administered villages on Mount Pelion, which was the result of a new demographic explosion; thousands of new residents enter this favored area of Thessaly and Magnesia. The basic reason for that inflow was the significant privileges that shielded the villages of Pelion from the Turkish conquerors and that were in force until the Revolution of 1821 spread to Pelion. The privileges were so significant that, in combination with the other incentives, mainly the existence of rich and unexploited lands, that they constituted strong points of attraction for a large number of oppressed slaves from all parts of the enslaved country. The largest flows of new immigrants and refugees came from western Thessaly and were installed on Mount Pelion during the 17th century, mainly after the suppression of the revolution of Bishop Dionysios of Triki (today’s city of Trikala), in 1616. They also came from the region of Agrafa after the predatory raid in the region by Liberakis Gerakaris (1696). A similar event also took place during the second half of the 18th century, when new inflows of refugees arrive on Mount Pelion from Northern Epirus after the destruction of Moshopoli (1768-1789) or from Roumeli and Western Thessaly (1770) after the Albanian hordes that were chased from Morea became a real scourge to the occupied population of Central Greece. As a result of the installation of all these thousands of refugees in the villages on Mount Pelion and of their vital contribution to the economic development of the area, a new period of economic growth is observed, which will offer a new dynamic to the self-governed Mount Pelion. Thus, not only an economic, but also a cultural miracle” appears in the villages on Mount Pelion; the villages revive through the rapid evolution of their primitive economy into handcrafts and retail commerce and the appearance of the new and classes of merchants, tradesmen, and seamen. It is a period during which new perspectives open up to the until then closed economy of Mount Pelion; moving now from mere production to the processing of the raw materials, the economy makes the big leap and passes into the area of handcraft production, which is distinguished by the manufacture of silk and heavy woolen cloth. Thanks to the commercial acumen of the native dealers, the new economy extends its reach, as the above-mentioned famous products of Pelion are transported by the “boats of Zagora” and are marketed to all the big ports of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. As the wealth is brought in from foreign ports, the same commercial agents who handle the retail economy import also into Pelion the new ideas of the European Enlightenment and Liberalism. These are ideas that do not take long to transform the villages of Pelion into intellectual and cultural hives, thanks to new schools and a large number of other public works (such as the construction of churches, mansions, squares, fountains, bridges, pavements, etc.) that give to these small, and self-governed democratic societies of Pelion a distinct European dimension. During the same period of the prosperity, the exclusively Turkish Castle of Golos continues its stagnated life, with only small surges of activity at the port; these activities are owed to the Greek and Jewish retailers and merchants of the region, but also to the other foreign merchants (from France, Venice, and Genoa) who were busy with commerce or with the smuggling of cereals from the Thessalian plain, but also with the handling of handcrafts, mainly silk products, threads, and thick woolen clothes from the villages of Portaria and Makrinitsa. The trading of the handcraft products was free; it flourished during the second half of the 18th century, when, from the port of Volos and the other ports on Pelion, the exported silks alone came to 30.000-35.000 okas (this Turkish unit of weight, which was in use in Greece until the 1950s, was equivalent to about 1,28 kilograms) every year, according to the testimony of the Swedish traveler Jacob Bjornstahl (1779). The largest quantities of exported products from the Port of Volos were those of cereals from the Thessalian plain, despite the continuous, explicit, and stern prohibitions for their trading by the Turkish administration. The smuggling of cereals that flourished during the Turkish occupation under the nose of the Turkish officials of the Castle of Volos (who were regularly bribed with hefty sums of money), had spread during the first decades of the 18th century, to the point where the Turkish government felt compelled to appoint, in 1737, a special guard at the Port of Volos in charged of inspecting the boats’ loadings and empowered with the imposition of high fines – reaching up to 25.000 piasters per illegal loading -- to the offending captains and wheat merchants. However, by the granting of special authorizations, the trading of cereals from the Port of Volos was frequently allowed, particularly to foreign merchants. From 1757 and for many years afterwards, a Frenchman named Berthelemy was appointed Vice-Consul of Venice in Volos and was even entitled to collect legal consular fees for the export of cereals. The fact that the granaries of the Castle of Volos were always full, combined with the frequent presence at port of cargo-boats that were loading cereals, constituted a serious provocation for the maritime powers that were in a state of war with the Turks, like the Venetians and the Russians, during the period of 1768-1792. In connection with the particular Russian-Turkish war, two Russian incursions have been reported against the Castle and the Port of Volos. The first took place on November 1771; the Russian fleet seized all cereals stored in the coas