June 6, 1822: The revenge of the Chios Massacre

Konstantinos Kanaris was a Greek Admiral, patriot, and politician who lived during the period 1790-1877. He achieved prominence due to his heroism in the Greek War of Independence.

In 1822, the Turks massacred 25,000 people in Chios, burning and destroying the island of Chios for 15 days under the command of Turkish Admiral Kara Ali Pasha. This was in retaliation for the support they had given a Greek rebel from Samos, who tried to free Chios.

As revenge for the Turkish massacres on Chios, on the night of June 6, 1822, Kanaris and thirty six men approached the Turkish admiral’s flagship on two boats fitted with explosives; they attached them to the admiral’s ship, lit the fuse, and then withdrew.

2000 Ottoman naval officers, sailors (and their Greek prisoners), were killed instantly. The Admiral had jumped into the water but was killed by a falling spar.

Between 1822 and 1824, Kanaris made three more successful attempts against the Turkish fleet, one in Tenedos in November 1822 and in 1824 at Samos and Mytilene.  He would later say that every time he approached an enemy during the war with a fire ship he would say to himself, “Konstantí, you are going to die.”

June 6, 1822: Revenge of the Chios Massacre 2

In the centre of the Municipal Garden of Chios, is the Monument to Konstantinos Kanaris, where Greeks honour their national hero; he’s actually buried in Athens while his heart is kept in the Naval Museum in Piraeus.