Thinking European History and Culture

Middle Ages in Çeşme, İzmir region

The town of Çeşme itself lived its Golden Age in the Middle Ages while Europe lived its Dark Age when a modus vivendi established in the 14th century between the Republic of Genoa, which held Chios (Scio), and the Seignoiry of Aydinids, which controlled the Anatolian mainland, was pursued under the Ottomans, and export and import products between western Europe and Asia were funneled via Çeşme and the ports of the island, only hours away and tributary to Ottomans but still autonomous after 1470.

Chios became part of the Ottoman Empire in an easy campaign led by Piyale Pasha in 1566. In fact the Pasha simply laid anchor in Çeşme and summoned the notables of the island to notify them of the change of authority. After the Ottoman capture and through preference shown by the foreign merchants, the trade hub gradually shifted to İzmir, which until then was touched only tangentially by the caravan routes from the east, and the prominence of the present-day metropolis became more pronounced after the 17th century. In 1770, the Çeşme bay became the location of naval Battle of Chesma between Russian and Ottoman fleets during Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774).