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A principal city in the Ottoman Empire that has belonged to Greece since 1912.

Located at the head of the Gulf of Salonika, Salonika (also known as Salonica or Thessalonika) was captured by the Ottoman sultan Murad I in the late fourteenth century. The city flourished as a trade and cultural center through the seventeenth century and revived in the nineteenth century, becoming an industrial center and the seat of the political and cultural wings of the Young Turk movement. The founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was born in the city in 1881 and attended its military rüşdiye school from 1893 to 1895. In 1901 the modern port was opened, and in 1908 the Committee of Union and Progress launched its revolution there.

Greece captured Salonika from the Ottomans in November 1912, during the First Balkan War. Five years later, a fire destroyed much of the city. Its Jewish community was wiped out under German occupation (19411944). It is the second largest city in contemporary Greece.


Shaw, Stanford J., and Shaw, Ezel Kural. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, vol. 2. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

elizabeth thompson
updated by eric hooglund

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