Multicultural Crete

Most discussions about the European Intervention in Crete refer to two groups on the island: Cretans and Turks; a simplistic catagorisation which omits to account for the fact that most of the ‘Turks’ in question were Cretans and/or or Cretan origin. (In addition, there is census evidence of the presence of relatively small numbers of Jews and Armenians on the island – see National Archive FO925 3193.)

In addition to these ‘regular’ minorities there is pictorial evidence of the presence of other minority groups on the island in 1897.

Tunisian immigrants outside Canea.

A camp of Ben Ghazi immigrants outside the gates of Canea

The original text below the illustration, from Illustrated London News of 6th March 1897, reads: “The Cretan Deputies have made it a special point of concern that these immigrants from Ben Ghazi, Tunis, without any property save tents and rifles, and with no very good reputation, should be expelled from the island. The camp now consists entirely of women and children, the men are said to be absent on business with the regular troops.”

Unfortunately, there’s no information as to why this particular group of people were on the island.

While those shown above appear to be one specific group of immigrants, there is also evidence of more settled minority groups being present, and being apparently integrated into, at least, some the Muslim portion of the population.

The force of example.

The force of example.

The caption, from The Graphic, 3 April 1897, reads: The force of example: Turkish boys in Crete playing at “Going to war with the Greeks.”

 

 

 

 

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