Scène des massacres de Scio, Eugène Delacroix, Louvre, Paris
31 March 1822: The Chios massacre begins, lasting for the following four months
The Chios Massacre refers to the slaughter of tens of thousands of Greeks on the island of Chios by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence in 1822.
In March 1822, as the Greek revolt gathered strength on the mainland, several hundred armed Greeks from the neighbouring island of Samos landed in Chios. They began the fight for independence from foreign rule and started attacking the Turks, who retreated to the citadel. Many islanders also decided to join the revolution. However, the vast majority of the population had by all accounts done nothing to provoke the massacre and had not joined other Greeks in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire.
Reinforcements in the form of a Turkish fleet under the Kapudan Pasha Nasuhzade Ali Pasha arrived on the island on 22 March. They quickly pillaged and looted the town. On 31 March, orders were given to burn down the town, and over the next four months, an estimated 40,000 Turkish troops arrived. In addition to setting fires, the troops were ordered to kill all infants under three years old, all males 12 years and older, and all females 40 and older, except those willing to convert to Islam.
Approximately 20,000 Chians were killed or starved to death and 23,000 were exiled or sold into slavery.
There was outrage when the events were reported in Europe. French painter Eugène Delacroix created a painting depicting the events that occurred; his painting was named Scene from the Massacres of Chios.