History of Macedonia 1354-1833

A. Vacalopoulos


IX. The Russo-Turkish war of 1768-1774 and its repercussions upon Macedonia


1. The Russians on Thasos (1770-1774)



The disturbed conditions throughout the mainland of Macedonia and on the island of Thasos grew worse still with the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war (1768-1774), and symptoms of unrest among the Greek population began to show even clearer. The arrival of detachments of the Russian fleet off the southern coast of the Peloponnese in 1770 sparked off a revolt which spread throughout the Morea, but was put down with immense slaughter. Then followed the battle of Çeşme. The destruction of the Turkish fleet brought fresh hope to the subject peoples around the Aegean. Delegates from the islands, either on their own initiative or at the invitation of the Russians, sped to congratulate the victors; and amongst them we find record of representatives of Thasos [1].


As a base for further operations in the Aegean, the Russians chose Náousa, the port of Paros, and there they began to refit their ships. Α special detachment of men [2] was sent to Thasos to obtain the necessary supplies of timber; and the officer (1st class) who was in charge of the operation, Stefan Petrovitch Khmetiovskij, has left us an interesting diary. The Russian officer dropped anchor with a number of vessels in the harbour of ancient Thasos on 10 August 1770, and on the following day he began his appointed task of establishing a naval station in the harbour and a repair-yard on the sea-front.


At the sudden appearance of this Russian squadron, the remain-



1. See P. K. Kontoyiannis, Οἱ Ἕλληνες κατὰ τὸν πρῶτον ἐπὶ Αἰκατερίνης Β' Ρωσοτονρκικὸν πόλεμον (1768-1774), Athens 1903, p. 211.


2. See Kontoyiannis, ibid., p. 229.





ing inhabitants of Liménas fled in terror to their traditional refuge of Panayiá. At Liménas they had been living both inside and outside the precincts of the ancient citadel (one can still see on the site the remains of this later settlement of Turkish times). The majority of the inhabitants seem to have returned to Liménas once they had got over their initial shock. They came into normal contact with the Russians and remained in their native town for quite some years to come, as we can see from a firman which was issued in connection with the inhabitants of Liménas during the reign of Sultan Selim III (1789-1807) [1]. The ancient capital of Thasos was thus inhabited without a break right up till the end of the 18th century.


During the time that the Russian fleet was active in the Aegean (1770-1774), it is reported that the Russians cut down 17.000 trees in the great forests of Thasos [2]. The memory of this massive operation is still current on the island to this day.


When the Russo-Turkish war came to an end in 1774, the inhabitants returned to living under the Turkish yoke.



1. Bakalopoulos, Thasos, pp. 30-31, 100.


2. See Conze, Reise, p. 7, 10. See also Perrot, Mémoires, p. 80. See, too, Mertzios, Μνημεῖα, p. 416.


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