Dividing Crete

On 18th March 1897 the Admirals’ Council, after discussions with the various Ambassadors in Constantinople, and with the very reluctant consent of the Porte, announced that commencing on 21 March a blockade would be enforced to prevent Greek flagged ships entering the waters surrounding Crete without them being inspected for contraband The purpose of the blockade was to prevent Greece from shipping more men to the island. In addition, the blockade would stop the arrival of food and supplies for the Greek force already there under Colonel Vassos, and cut off the flow of arms and ammunition to the Cretan Christian Insurgents. In return for the Powers preventing a build up of Greek forces, the Ottoman Empire agreed to cease sending reinforcements to the island and to maintain its troop numbers at their existing levels.

Austro-Hungarian Map of Crete, 1897

Austro-Hungarian Map of Crete, 1897

The first map, from 1897, shows which nations had responsibility for controlling which areas during the early stages of the European naval blockade of Crete.  Germany didn’t take a major part in the blockade since she had only one small warship on station and both Austro-Hungary and Germany withdrew form the Concert of Europe and the Cretan Intervention in March/April 1898.

Chermside map

Map of the island showing the division of the island between the four Powers.

The second map shows the division of the island between the remaining four Powers in April 1898.

From left to right the areas of responsibility are: Selinos: Italian, Rethymnon: Russian, Candia (Iraklion) British and Lassithi; French. The then capital of Crete, Canea, and Suda Bay were  under joint multi-national control.

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