Salonica


Salonica
   A cosmopolitan city of the Ottoman Empire, Salonica was peopled by Jews from the Iberian Peninsula; Orthodox Christians, mostly Greeks, some Bulgarians; Ma’mins, Jewish converts to Islam; Vlachs, Christians speaking a Romance language similar to Rumanian; gypsies; and Western Europeans, mostly Italians. The assumptions of racial nationalism, which shaped European thinking in the nineteenth century, did not reflect how the inhabitants saw themselves. Religion dictated their identities and it was through the efforts of a minority of educated elite imbued with the European nationalist creeds that the people were converted and mobilized. The Macedonian struggle in the late nineteenth century, which dominated life in Salonica, began as a religious conflict among its Christians, but turned into a way for nationalists to introduce national identities: Greek, Bulgarian, and even “Macedonian.” This threatened the cosmopolitan identity of the city. Hellenic and Bulgarian nationalists fought over Salonica, but were also divided among themselves.
   In 1871, a few Bulgarians in Salonica left the Greek-speaking Orthodox community and joined the Bulgarian Exarchate. By 1912, they numbered 6,000. Initially, this move was a religious-linguistic inspiration, but with Russian and later Bulgarian government support, it became nationalistic. Irredentist leaders in Sofia clamored for the incorporation of “the Macedonians” into Bulgaria. In 1893, a militant anarchist group was founded in Salonica and proclaimed autonomy for Macedonia. The group was called the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and had the slogan “Macedonia for the Macedonians.” A Bulgarian governor would rule Macedonia from Salonica, all officials would be Bulgarian Slavs, and Bulgarian and Turkish would be the official languages.
   The IMRO conducted terrorist activities against Muslim and Christian officials, assassinating gendarmes, tax-collectors, and other civilian officials. On April 28–29, 1903, its radicals bombed various foreign and Ottoman places in Salonica, resulting in a crackdown by Ottoman soldiers. A few months later, on St. Elias’s day, the IMRO leadership organized an uprising, which only resulted in Ottoman troops killing several thousand peasants in retaliation. The European powers wanted to uphold the status quo but forced the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid to accept European supervision of policing.
   The Greek Patriarchate viewed the Bulgarian Exarchate as a blow to the unity of the Orthodox Christians, but Hellenic nationalists feared that Macedonia was slipping into Bulgarian hands. In the 1904 Ottoman census, there were 648,962 followers of the Patriarchate and 557,734 faithful of the Exarchates in Macedonia, and nearly 250,000 of the former had identified themselves as Bulgarian speakers. Between 1904 and 1908, Hellenized Slavs and Albanians loyal to the Patriarchate beat reluctant peasants, shot Exarchates, and burned “hostile” villages. Greek operations were based in Salonica’s consulate, where a young cadet, Athanasios Souliotis-Nikolaides, organized interrogation and assassination squads. Souliotis even published a brochure in Slavic, which he circulated among the peasantry titled Prophecies of Alexander the Great, to convince them that only Greeks could liberate them from Ottoman rule. In 1907, Souliotis urged the boycotting of Exarchist and Bulgarian businesses, and Greeks were warned not to hire enemy workers. Those that did were shot. The Bulgarians were just as violent as the Greeks in what effectively became a reign of nationalist terror.
   In 1912, Salonica changed masters. Fears that Italy or Albanian rebels might seize parts of it resulted in various bilateral agreements between Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece to attack the Porte . The Greek army, with Crown Prince Constantine at its head, marched into Salonica only hours before the Bulgarians. This event ushered in efforts to make the city Greek. The 1913 census showed how cosmopolitan Salonica really was. The population numbered 157,889, of whom just under 40,000 were listed as Greeks, 45,867 as Muslims, and 61,439 as Jews.
   FURTHER READING:
    Mazower, Mark. Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430–1950 . London: Harper Collins, 2004.
   ANDREKOS VARNAVA

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Salónica — Como nombre de esta ciudad griega han alternado tradicionalmente las formas Salónica y Tesalónica, siendo esta última la más cercana al original griego Thessaloníke. Ambas son válidas, aunque en el uso actual parece haber una tendencia a utilizar …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Salónica — Salónica, golfo de VER Tesalónica …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Salónica — Para otros usos de este término, véase Tesalónica (desambiguación). Θεσσαλονίκη Tesalónica …   Wikipedia Español

  • SALONICA —    or SALONIKI    (122), the Thessalonica of the Scriptures, the second port and city of Turkey in Europe; occupies a bold and rocky site at the head of the Gulf of Salonica, 370 m. SW. of Constantinople; is surrounded by walls, is well laid out …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Salonica — noun Alternative spelling of Salonika …   Wiktionary

  • Salonica — n. Thessalonica, seaport in northeastern Greece on an inlet of the Aegean Sea …   English contemporary dictionary

  • salonica — sa·lon·i·ca …   English syllables

  • Salonica — noun a port city in northeastern Greece on an inlet of the Aegean Sea; second largest city of Greece • Syn: ↑Thessaloniki, ↑Salonika, ↑Thessalonica • Instance Hypernyms: ↑city, ↑metropolis, ↑urban center, ↑port …   Useful english dictionary

  • Salónica, nido de espías — Este artículo o sección sobre películas y arte necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 19 de septiembre de 2008. También… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Salónica, golfo de — ► Entrante del mar Egeo, en Grecia, entre las costas de Tesalia y Calcídica. * * * Golfo del mar Egeo en la costa sudeste de Grecia. Mide 80 km (50 mi) aprox. de largo y 50 km (30 mi) de ancho, separa Ática del Peloponeso y se comunica con el… …   Enciclopedia Universal


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.