Macedonia, while under the rule of the Ottoman empire, was mainly inhabited by Greeks, Turks and Bulgars. There was also a significant Jewish population in the city of Thessaloniki most of whom arrived there from Spain in the late 15th century. Macedonians [the ethnic Greek population of Macedonia] expected to be liberated and join the newly founded Greek state as a compensation for their sacrifices and contributions to the (Greek) War of Independence. They were led in this effort by the enthusiastic but inexperienced leadership of Emmanuel Pappas, a member of Phillike Etaereia. The Macedonians of Chalcidice revolted in May 1821 and for a brief moment threatened to throw the Turks out of the city of Thessaloniki. Due to their inexperience they were easily suppressed by the Turks by November 1821. The countryside was ravaged and the Greek population of Thessaloniki was massacred and forced to move out of the city.
The second round of the revolt began in February 1822 when the kleftae and armatoloi of mountains Olympos and Vermion along with the inhabitants of the city of Naoussa declared that city free (of the Ottoman rule). The Turks deployed troops brought to Greece from Asia Minor, and by April the revolt was subdued. Naoussa was destroyed, the men were killed, and the women and children were taken as slaves. After this, many Macedonian fighters fled to Southern Greece to continue fighting the Turks alongside the Peloponnesians and the other Greeks.
The failure of the Macedonian revolt is mainly attributable to the inexperience of the rebels and the proximity of the area to Constantinople. Although the revolt failed, it provided great help to the rebels of Southern Greece because it tied a number of Turkish forces in Macedonia. The price paid by the Macedonians was heavy. The previously flourishing greek community of Thessaloniki was destroyed and the Greek population of the city was reduced by around 70%. The Jews took over the leading role among the communities residing in the city. Once more in their long history, Macedonians sacrificed themselves for the common good of all Greeks.
The revolt in Chalcidike
Nevertheless, by early June the rebels had succeeded in reaching the outskirts of Thessaloniki. Their triumph was all too brief, however, for they had to contend with the army commanded by the able Bayram Pasha (and, later, the forces of the fearsome Mehmed Emin Pasha) with virtually no backing from the chieftains of Olympos and western Macedonia.
The advance quickly turned into a series of retreats and was effectively squashed with the Kassandra disaster (October 1821) and Emmanouil Pappas’ flight to Hydra (November 1821). A large number of refugees escaped to the Northern Sporades islands at that time.
The revolt on Olympos and Vermion (1822)
With the exception of the area around Mount Olympos, where the armed chieftains had a long experience in staging uprisings, western Macedonia did not possess the manpower and essential supplies that would have guaranteed a successful revolution.
The efforts of Nikolaos Kasomoulis, the local leader and a member of the ‘Philiki Etaireia’, to find help in southern Greece were of little consequence. The armatoles of Olympos, with no organization whatsoever, along with a token force which had finally arrived from southern Greece, fought for a mere few weeks (from late March to early April 1822). Shortly afterwards, they joined up with the Greek revolutionaries who had already mounted an uprising in Naousa, having taken up battle positions on 19 February.
Despite the town’s reserves of arms and ammunition and despite the efforts of the Naousan notable Zafyrakis Theodosiou and the kapetans Tasos Karatasos and Angelis Gatsos, Naousa was captured on 13 April by Mehmed Emin Pasha. Two thousand Christians were slaughtered, while most of the surviving rebel leaders left to continue the fight in southern Greece.
source for the last two threads:
According to George Finlay, “History of the Greek Revolution”, London, 1971
The Greek War of Independence in Macedonia
“In no part of Greece were the facilities for commencing the Revolution, or for defending the national independence, greater than in the peninsula to east of the Gulf of Thessalonica, called anciently Chalcidice. The population was almost entirely of the Greek race, and its villages enjoyed the title of Free Townships (Eleutherokhoria), on account of their many privileges.”
“The submission of Mount Athos enabled Aboulabad to turn his attention to the Greek population in the mountains between the mouths of the Haliacmon and the Axius. Zaphiraki, the primate of Niaousta, was the most infuential Greek in this district. He was a man of considerable wealth; he had opposed Ali Pasha in intrigue, and held his ground…He now invited Gatsos and Karatassos, the captains of Armatoli at Vodhena and Verria, to meet him. These three chiefs proclaimed the Revolution….
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