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From «Pax Ottomanica» to «Pax Europaea»

The growth and decline of a Greek village’s micro-economy

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Dimitrios Konstadakopulos

The macroeconomic development of south-eastern Europe has been profoundly affected not only by the region’s major historical events – for example, liberation from the Ottoman Empire, the outbreak of civil wars, and the birth of new nations – but also by global events, such as the world-wide conflicts of the twentieth century, and the recent transnational processes of globalisation and European integration. The rationale of this book is to employ a comprehensive micro-history – that is, the history of one particular community: in this case, the village of Tsamantas, in north-western Greece – as a means of providing a detailed picture that will permit extrapolation to a wider context. Situated in one of the most isolated parts of the region of Epirus, Tsamantas has a complex history and a rich folk culture. At times, it has been a textbook example of how decision-making within a community can impact upon the success of the local economy. Its inhabitants have been rational problem-solvers, with a sense of what is in their family’s best interests, rather than passive victims of circumstance, and their choices at critical points in the village’s history have resulted either in growth or decline. The author focuses his groundbreaking analysis on these choices, drawing upon publications, archived materials, and illuminating oral accounts of local events.
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Chapter 6: The Delimitation of the Greek–Albanian Border, and its Impact on Tsamantas

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← 170 | 171 → CHAPTER 6

The Delimitation of the Greek–Albanian Border, and its Impact on Tsamantas

The land that constitutes the modern Greek region of Epirus was for many centuries the greater part (about 80%) of a wider region controlled by the Ottomans and likewise known as Epirus. This wider region – nowadays known as ‘historic’ or ‘classical’ Epirus – also encompassed territory to the north of the modern region, where the ethnicity and language of a large proportion of the population was referred to as ‘Albanian’. These people cherished hopes of someday living in their own country, and they assumed that this new nation of Albania would include much – or even all – of historic Epirus, despite the fact that ethnically they were in the minority in all but its northern part. However, with Greece determined to claim the region for itself, and even the Slavs wanting a share of it, it was apparent that the issue could never be resolved satisfactorily for all concerned. Even so, no one at the time would have guessed that the eventual outcome would be the cause of such intense human suffering over so many decades.

At the start of the twentieth century, the geopolitical situation in Europe was largely controlled by its six leading powers: Austria–Hungary, Germany and Italy (together known as the Triple Alliance) and Britain, France and Russia (the Triple Entente). In 1912, the London-based ambassadors of these so-called ‘great powers’ were charged with securing peace...

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