Thematic sections

6.3 The rebellion of Daskalogiannis (1770)

From the very beginning of the ottoman invasion Cretans attempted to react against the conqueror, even not in an organized way. Many of them found shelter inside the three fortresses that still remained under Venetian rule, i.e. Gramvoussa, Suda and Spinalonga. Later (after 1715) they resorted to the mountains and the monasteries. From there, they attacked the enemy during the night. The Turks called them “hain”, which means insidious, traitor. If captured, they suffered tremendous tortures and faced a dreadful death.

In 1770 the first serious attempt of a rebellion against the Turks took place. At the head of the movement was the rich ship-owner from the village of Sfakia Ioannis Vlachos, better known as Daskalogiannis. The rebellion of Daskalogiannis is another incident of the Greek revolt known as “the Orlov Events”, that is the revolt encouraged by tsarina Ekaterina of Russia in which the brothers counts Orlov were involved. Count Fyodor Orlov was an acquaintance of the travelled Ioannis Vlachos, probably because of Emmanuel Benakis of Mani. He found himself in Mani in 1769, ordered by Ekaterina to organize a revolt, in which many rebels from Sfakia took part.

Counting on the Russian aid, Daskalogiannis prepared a revolt in Sfakia, by gathering weapon and supplies. On the other hand, the ottoman authorities have been informed that a Russian fleet sailed from Gibraltar to Suda. The first reaction of the Sfakians was the denial to pay the poll tax in the Easter of 1770. The 2000 revolted fighters moved against the neighboring areas of the county Kydonia, probably in the 4th of April. The Turkish reaction was immediate. 15.000 soldiers sieged Sfakia and attacked the village from three different directions when the rebels refused to surrender. During that summer and the following autumn the besieged resisted bravely. But when the Turks plundered and burned the villages of the county and sold the women and children for slaves (the wife and two daughters of Daskalogiannis as well), they were forced to surrender and to sign a humiliating treaty (17th of March 1771), under the promise for amnesty.

Nevertheless, the Pasha of Candia, breaking the deal, captured Daskalogiannis and made him flay alive. His companions from Sfakia were imprisoned in Kules (probably at the eastern chambers of this very corridor), from where they managed to escape three years later.

The rebellion of Daskalogiannis was the first of a long series that were to follow, proving the continuous struggle of Cretans to regain their freedom.

Same thematic section texts (3)

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6. The Great Castle (Kandiye)
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6.1 Crete during the Ottoman occupation
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6.2 Heraklion during the Ottoman period