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


Crete (Gk. Krete, Lat. Creta, Mod. Candia, Turk. Kiaid), an island in the Mediterranean, S. of the Greek Archipelago. It is about 160 miles long, E. to W., and has a breadth of from 6 to 35 miles, with an area of 3,300 square miles. Mountainous in the centre, the chief peak Upsilorites (the ancient Ida) rising to 7,674 feet, it possesses fertile plains and valleys watered by numerous springs which the winter rains swell into torrents. The coasts are indented and cavernous. Olives, oranges, lemons, raisins, wine, and silk are among the chief products, and sponges of the best quality are found off its shores. Crete was a thriving centre of Greek civilisation in pre-Homeric times. Minos, its mythological king, was famed as a law-giver and as the first creator of a navy. Homer speaks of its hundred cities. Brought under the Roman yoke by Metellus, it was conqeiered by the Saracens in 823, bought by the Venetians in 1204, and annexed to Turkey after a long struggle in 1609. A succession of insurrections, followed by cruel persecutions, has marked its history since that period. Two-thirds of the population are Greek Christians, who naturally aspire to independence, and are treated with brutal severity by the Mussulman rulers. In 1841, 1858-9, and 1866-9, violent struggles have convulsed the island, and in 1896 the state of anarchy provoked the war between Turkey and Greece. Candia, Retimo, and Canea are towns.