Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chios (mod. Chio or Scio), an island lying about 7 miles distant from the coast of Asia Minor, and opposite to the peninsula that divides the Gulf of Smyrna from that of Ephesus (Scala Nova). It is crescent-shaped, with the concave side facing W. Its length is 32 miles, and its greatest breadth 18 miles, the area being about 400 square miles. The northern half is mountainous, but all the valleys and the more level ground to the south are exceedingly fertile, producing wine, fruit, cheese, figs, and gum mastic in abundance. From the free growth of the latter product the Turks call Scio Saki Adassi, or Isle of Mastics. It is one of the most favoured spots in the Greek Archipelago. The primitive Pelasgian race was early supplanted here by Ionian settlers, and Chios claims along with many other localities to have given birth to Homer. Among its distinguished sons were Ion, the tragedian; Theopompus, the historian; and Bupalus and Anthermus, the sculptors. It was the first state in Greece where domestic slavery, as distinct from serfdom, prevailed. Early possessed of a navy, the island was for a time forced to send a contingent to the Persian fleet, but after the defeat of Xerxes, attached itself to Athens, remaining on the whole faithful, with the exception of two revolts, until the establishment of Lacedecmonian supremacy. Later on Chios became part of the dominions of Alexander, passing next to the kings of Pergamus, and becoming the ally of Rome in the war against Philip. In revenge for assistance furnished to Mithridates it was made a province of Rome, and followed the fate of the Eastern Empire. Held successively by the Venetians, the Crusaders, and the Byzantine Emperors, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, it was in the hands of the Genoese from 1329 until its final conquest by the Turks in 1594. It continued to prosper until 1821, when an attempted revolt against the Mohammedan yoke led to the massacre of some 40,000 inhabitants, a blow from which it has never recovered, especially as in 1881 nearly 8,000 more were destroyed by an earthquake.