The Venetians on Crete

(1204-1669)

After the capture of Constantinople and the partition of the Byzantine empire during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, Crete was acquired by Venice, which held it for the next 450 years under the name of the "Kingdom of Candia".
The period ended when the Ottoman Empire conquered the island in 1669.

Insula Candia olim Creta, Nicolas Visscher, ca. 1678. The Turkish siege of Candia Initially, Crete had been given to Boniface of Montferrat, the leader of the Fourth Crusade. But realising that he did not have the sufficient power to hold the remote island, he signed a treaty with the Venetians and ceded his rights over Crete in exchange for 1.000 silver marks and a some other territorial concessions.

Still, it took some time before the venetians reached a steady control of the island. In 1206 Genoese pirates in the guise of merchants took the capital Chandax and a large part of the island under their control. Their leader Enrico Pescatore, strengthened the fortresses and built new ones in preparation for the expected venetian reaction. In Panormos close to Villa Talea the ruins from one of these fortresses can still be seen.

The Venetians tried to drive out the Genoese in 1207 but failed. The year after they wore more successful, but still it was not until 1217 that a peace treaty was signed between Genoa and Venice leaving the latter in full control of the island.

Life on Crete in the period

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Sights from the period in modern Crete

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