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Bibliography of Historical Sources about Population for the Region of Sitia, Crete, 16th-19th Centuries

List of key historical sources about the population of the Zakros Valley in Sitia in eastern Crete, from the late 16th through 19th centuries. For each entry, the year and title of the source are given, followed by a brief description, details about the original source of the data, and bibliographic information where this data has been published (if relevant).


1577 – Census by Generale Provedditor Giacomo Foscarini

Description: A Venetian record of population according to territorii (Candia, Canea, Rettimo, and Sittia).

Source: Francesco Barozzi (1577), Descrittione dell’isola di Creta, composta dal Clmo Sgire Franco Barozzi, Bibliotheque Nationale a Paris, Fonds italiens 384. (F° 30v-31r).

Bibliography: Stavrakis 1890:187 (possibly full data), Spanakis 1991:13 (summary).

1583 – Census by Pietro Castrofilaca

Description: A detailed census recording population by village, undertaken between 1581 and 1583 by the “Sindici, Proveditori et avogatori di Commun, Zuanne Gritti et Giulio Garzoni” and by the Ragionato Pietro Castrofilaca.

Source: Libro de Informattion delle cose publiche del Regno de Candia et Isole de Cerigho, Zante, Cefalonia et Corfu, fatto con ogni diligenttia per me Pietro Castrofilaca, Ragionato del Sindicato ecc. (Biblioteca di S. Marco, Manoscritti Italiani, cl. 6, No 156/6005).

Bibliography: Spanakis 1991:13 (summary), Spanakis 1991:708 (Siteia).

1630 – List of villages by Francesco Basilicata

Description: A list of settlements in each eparchy, without population data, submitted to the Capitan Generale del Regno di Candia Pietro Giustiniano.

Source: Francesco Basilicata (1630), Relazione, Biblioteca S. Marco, Mss. Ital. Cl. VI, No 1683/8976.

Bibliography: Spanakis 1969:113-115; Spanakis 1991:14 (summary).

1650 – TT820, mufassal defteri of conquered regions in Crete

Description: Detailed register of the census conducted by Mehmet Pasha for all the conquered regions of Crete. An icmal defteri (TT875) was also compiled, but not consulted. The document records the name of each settlement and a count of the bachelors and hanes (referring to adult tax payers).

Source: TT820, Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi.

Bibliography: Kolovos 2010 (for names and order of the list), AEGREGIS, personal communication (updated numerical data).

1666 – MM7412, maliyeden müdevver poll tax register of Crete

Description: Unpublished poll tax register of Crete read by Giorgos Vidras. Vidras believes the register reproduces data from a lost older census dated to 1659, as the juridical records of Rethymno provide the same number of tax payers for the years 1659 and 1666. The document records the name of each settlement and a total count of the hanes (referring to adult tax payers).

Source: MM7412, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı Devlet Arşivleri Başkanlığı (formerly Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi).

Bibliography: Giorgos Vidras (AEGREGIS), personal communication.

1670/1 – TT825, mufassal defteri of Chandaka and Siteia

Description: Detailed register of the census conducted by Mehmet Efendi by order of Ahmet Pasha immediately following the conquest of Chandaka in 1670-71. TT825 covers the regions of Chandaka and Siteia; TT882 covers Chania and Rethymno. There are also two companion defterler: TT801, the icmal defteri covering all of Crete, and TT980, the poll-tax register covering all of Crete. The documents record the name of each settlement and a variety of information, including the number of poll-tax payers (divided into rich, middle, and poor categories), property ownership, status of land use, and agricultural products.

Source: TT825, Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi.

Bibliography: Kolovos 2010 (for names and order of the list), AEGREGIS, personal communication (updated numerical data).

1832-34 – Egyptian census

Description: Census of families undertaken by Egypt during its occupation of Crete. According to Spanakis (1991:15), the original data is unaccounted for, but the figures have been reproduced in a book published by Dr. Zeinab Esmat Rashed (with Greek translation).

Source: original unknown.

Bibliography: Pashley 1837(II):308-325 (possible copy of original data from Egyptian census); Rashed 1978:117-131 (copy of Pashley’s tables); Spanakis 1991:16 (summary of Pashley for the eparchies). The same data reported by Pashley also appear in: Victor Raulin (1869) Description physique de l’ile de Crète, Vol. 1, Paris, p. 208.

1858 – Census by Governor General Veli Pasha

Description: A census of the population of Crete. The only portion of the data that were published deal with the nomos of Chania (minus the eparchy of Kisamos). The general data from this census were republished by Nik. Moutsonikolakis and then Nik. Stavrakis.

Source: Veli Pasha (1858) La Vérité sur les Evénements à Candie, Paris (Chania only). Rest of data are unpublished.

Bibliography: Stavrakis 1890:192 (total population of island and summary data for Chania from Veli Pasha (1858)), Spanakis 1991:17 (same).

1881 – Census by General Administration of Crete under Nikolaos Stavrakis

Description: This was the most accurate census to date, conducted under the General Secretary of the General Administration of Crete, Nikolaos Stavrakis.

Source: Stavrakis 1890.

Bibliography: Stavrakis 1890 (Part II); Spanakis 1991:18 (reproduces only Stavrakis’ Table 2, summary of population by eparchies).


AEGREGIS: “The Rural Economy of Crete During Early Modern Period: A GIS Approach (AEGREGIS).” Project based in the Institute for Mediterranean Studies – Foundation for Research and Technology, Hellas.

Kolovos, Elias. 2010. Η Επαρχία Της Σητείας Στα Πρώτα Χρόνια Της Οθωμανικής Κυριαρχίας: Προκαταρκτικές Παρατηρήσεις Με Βάση Τις Οθωμανικές Φορολογικές Απογραφές [The Province of Sitia in the Early Years of Ottoman Domination: Preliminary Observations Based on Ottoman Tax Registers]. In Πεπραγμένα Ι΄ Διεθνούς Κρητολογικού Συνεδρίου (Χανιά, 1-8 Οκτωβρίου 2006), Τόμος Β1: Βυζαντινή και Μεταβυζαντινή περίοδος (Ιστορία), pp. 451–72. Chania: Φιλολογικός Σύλλογος «ο Χρυσόστομος».

Pashley, Robert. 1837. Travels in Crete, 2 vols. London: John Murray.

Rashed, Zeinab Esmat. 1978. Η Κρήτη υπό την Αιγυπτιακήν εξουσίαν, 1830-1840 [Crete under Egyptian Rule, 1830-1840]. Translated by Ευγενίου Μιχαηλίδη. Edited by Στέργιος Γ. Σπανάκης. Ηράκλειο: Σύλλογος Πολιτιστικής Αναπτύξεως Ηρακλείου.

Σπανάκης, Στέργιος Γ. 1969. Μνημεία της Κρητικής Ιστορίας [Monuments of Cretan History], τ. 5, «Έκθεση του Francesco Basilicata», Ηράκλειο: Εκδόσεις «Σφακιανός».

Σπανάκης, Στέργιος Γ. 1991. Πόλεις και χωριά της Κρήτης στο πέρασμα των αιώνων (Μητρώον των οικισμών) [Cities and Villages of Crete over the Centuries (Registry of Settlements)], 2 vols. Heraklio: ¨Γ. Δετοράκης.

Σταυράκης, Νικόλαος. 1890. Στατιστική του πληθυσμού της Κρήτης : Μετά διαφόρων γεωγραφικών, ιστορικών, αρχαιολογικών, εκκλησιαστικών κτλ. ειδήσεων περί της νήσου [Statistics of the Population of Crete: After various geographic, historical, archaeological, ecclesiastical, etc. news about the island]. Αθήνησι: Τυπογραφείον “Παλλιγγενεσία” Ιω. Αγγελοπούλου.