Khíos

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Khíos

Khíos (khē´ôs) or Chios (kī´ŏs), island (1991 pop. 51,060), c.350 sq mi (910 sq km), E Greece, in the Aegean Sea, just W of Asia Minor. It is mountainous and is famous for its scenic beauty and good climate. The highest point is Mt. Elias (c.4,160 ft/1,270 m). The island produces olives, figs, wine, and mastic and has marble quarries, lignite deposits, and sulfur springs. Sheep and goats are raised. Khíos was colonized by Ionians and later held (494–479 BC) by the Persians. In 479 BC it recovered its independence and joined the Delian League. It rebelled several times against Athenian ascendancy in the league. The island was on good terms with Rome, maintaining its independence until the reign of Vespasian (1st cent. AD). It became part of the Byzantine Empire and later passed (1204) to the Latin emperors of Constantinople and then (1261) to the Genoese. The Ottoman Turks conquered the island in 1566 and held it until the First Balkan War (1912), when it was taken by Greece. A rebellion against Turkish rule resulted (1822) in a ruthless massacre of the population. Khíos claims to be the birthplace of Homer. Khíos, a seaport (1991 pop. 22,894), is the island's chief town and the capital of Khíos prefecture.

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