Paradise Lost : Smyrna 1922
On Saturday 9th September, 1922, the victorious Turkish cavalry rode into Smyrna, the richest and most cosmopolitan city in the Ottoman Empire. Smyrna`s vast wealth had been created by powerful Levantine dynasties – many of them British – that had lived in the city for more than two centuries. They had helped to create a city that was unique in the Islamic world with a large Christian majority. To the Turks, Smyrna had always been the infidel city. Greece`s aim had been to restore a Christian empire in Asia Minor with Smyrna at its heart. The Great Powers, including Britain, had supported Greece`s war on Turkey. Many feared that the victorious Turkish army would now unleash a terrible fury on the infidel inhabitants: conquering Islamic armies had traditionally been granted three days of pillage following the capture of a resisting city. Yet there had been no resistance to the Turks and Smyrna`s Christian population – which included Levantines, Europeans and Americans - were confident the Allied fleet in the bay would protect them.
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