November 3 is a symbolic date for Crete. Today, 122 years have passed since the last Turkish soldier left the island in 1898, which meant the liberation of Crete after 253 years of the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkish troops are leaving Crete. Port of Souda near Chania, 1898.
The photo comes from the resources of britishinterventionincrete.wordpress.com
The Turkish occupation of Crete began in August 1645. Turkish troops basically took control of almost the entire island without any problems. Chania was the first to surrender, then Rethymno was taken. However, the new occupiers of the island had to wait 22 years for the final victory. For that was the time of the siege of Heraklion, which surrendered only after more than two decades of fighting. During this time, the Turks were unable to break the resistance of the city's defenders.
After conquering Crete, the new occupiers began to impose high taxes and forced Islamization on the island's inhabitants. These actions and the lawlessness prevailing among the new rulers eventually led to vehement opposition from the Cretans. It was expressed in the Cretan uprisings against the Turks. In 1770, after one of them, independence was even proclaimed, but the following year the Ottoman army again took control of the island. Another revolt took place in 1821, but just like the previous one, it was suppressed. The next uprising took place in 1866 and it bloody marked the island. It was then, in November 1866, during the siege of Moni Arkadiou Monastery by the Turkish army, the monastery's powder magazine was dramatically blown up, in which 700 Cretan women and children were killed. To this day, it is one of the most important events in the modern history of Crete. It was widely echoed in Europe and was of great importance for the independence of Crete.
Ultimately, it was only the massacre of the Christian population that the Turks committed in Heraklion in 1898 that accelerated the end of the Turkish occupation of Crete. The governments of the European nations supported the island in negotiations with the Turks on the side of the Cretan strivings for freedom. As a consequence of these events, on November 3, 1989, the Sultan's army left the island. Formally, Crete became an autonomous republic under the protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. A substitute for parliament was created with Christian and Muslim deputies, and the function of the High Commissioner of Crete was entrusted to the Greek prince George I.
Several consecutive years showed that the road to true unification with Greece was still a distant prospect. In 1908, Cretan MPs, taking advantage of the turmoil in Turkey, announced a unilateral union with Greece. The previous flag of Cretan autonomy was replaced by a Greek one, and the overriding document regulating all rights was recognized by the Greek constitution. The entire international arena, including Greece, which is a party to this act, however, did not recognize its validity. The Greek state recognized the relationship with Crete only in 1912. The white and blue flag of Greece began to fly over the Firkas fortress in Chania from December 1, 1913, when the official ceremony of concluding the union of Crete with Greece took place.