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Chios (Χίος) is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

The population is about 52,290 (census of 2001), with an area of 910 km². The capital is also called Chios or Chora; it is a port and the island's chief town. The island is famous for its scenery and good climate. Its chief export is mastic but it also produces olives, figs, and wine.


Chios was colonized by Ionians but has been occupied by the Persians, part of the Delian League and the Byzantine Empire, before passing through the possession of the Latin emperors of Constantinople, the Genoese and the Ottoman Turks.

During the Turkish occupation, there was a massacre of the islanders after a rebellion in 1822, depicted by Eugène Delacroix in his famous artwork at The Louvre. Chios rejoined the rest of independent Greece after the First Balkan War (1912).

The Turkish massacre of 1822, which annihilated 5/6 of the 120,000 inhabitants of the island, decimated the Mastichohoria, the mastic growing villages in the south of the island. It triggered enormous public outrage in Western Europe, as can be seen in the art of Delacroix, in the writing of Lord Byron and Victor Hugo.

Claims to Fame

  • The Korai Library, in Chios, is one of the most important in Greece, containing 95,000 volumes.
  • Chios claims to be the birthplace of Homer, Hippocrates the mathematician, and Oenopides. Oenopion, a legendary king, is said to have brought winemaking to the island.
  • Chios is home to one of the biggest ship-owning fraternities in Greece, with such shipping families as Livanos, Chandris, Los, Lemos, Pachos, Pateras, Fafalios, Tsakos, Frangos, and Xylas hailing from the island.
  • Some claim Chios is Christopher Columbus's birthplace. Columbus said he was from Genoa, but he never claimed he was from the city of Genoa itself. Chios was a Genoese possession at the time of Columbus birth, and 'Columbus' is a common surname on Chios . Furthermore Columbus appears to have known Chios very well, since he often made references to it in his journals.


Its climate is mainly Mediterranean.


Municipality YPES code Seat Postal code Area code
Agios Minas 5401 Thymiana 821 00 22730-3
Amani 5402 Volissos 821 03 22740-2
Chios 5409 Chios 821 00 22710-2 through 4
Ionia 5403 Kallimasia 821 00 22710-5 through 6
Kampochora 5404 Chalkio 821 00 22710-8
Kardamyla 5405 Kardamyla 823 00 22720-2
Mastichochoria 5406 Pyrgi 821 02 22710-7
Oinousses 5407 Oinousses 821 03 22710-52
Omiroupoli 5408 Vrontados 822 00 22710-9
Psara 5410 Psara 821 04 22740-6

See also: List of settlements in the Chios prefecture

External references