The Chios Massacre (1822) and British Humanitarianism

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


My 2018 honours thesis explored British attitudes towards the Greeks prior to and following the 1822 Chios Massacre, where 100,000 Chiots were either killed, enslaved or displaced. The thesis focussed on the ‘classical’ and ‘Christian’ representations of the Greeks by the British, and how the Christian attitude led to Philhellenic intervention in the form of early British Christian-Humanitarianism. Scholars of the Greek War of Independence had previously acknowledged that the massacre was a pivotal moment for British attitudes towards the Greeks in the overall war, although few had elaborated significantly on this shift. This presentation focusses on what the massacre was, and its direct reactions in Britain in both the public and political spheres. It also investigates how, combined with a ‘Christian’ perception of the Greeks, and an ‘Islamic’ and ‘barbarian’ view of the Ottomans, Britain, specifically Philhellenes, intervened. This early humanitarian intervention included fundraising, the formation of pro-Greek committees, the spreading and reading aloud of pamphlets, the housing of Chiot refugees in British homes around Europe, and even the formation of a Chiot diaspora in London. Essentially this presentation argues that the Chios Massacre ‘humanised’ the Greeks to Britain, leading to an early type of Christian-Humanitarian intervention.
Period21 Jun 2019
Event titleLOGOS 13th International Conference on Greek Research
Event typeConference
LocationAdelaide, Australia, South AustraliaShow on map