European Troops on Crete
In order to guarantee peace and order on the one hand, and to maintain the delicate balances in European diplomacy on the other, European military missions were stationed by prefecture. The Italians assumed responsibility for Chania, the Russians for Rethymnon, the British for Heraklion and the French for Lassithi.

In the town of Heraklion, British troops were barracked on and around the Venetian walls. A military hospital was set up, and the soldiers often organized sports activities, initiating the locals into popular European sports such as football. The officers mingled with the town's elite, and regimental bands frequently entertained the local population in Prince's Square (the present-day Eleftherias Square).

The presence of foreign troops was considered superfluous following the establishment of the Cretan Civil Guard. Large numbers of forces departed in 1907, and in July 1909 the last European soldiers left Crete.





1898  |  1899  |  1900  |  1902  |  1905  |  1906  |  1908  |  1909  |  1910  |  1911  |  1912  |  1913
The British army leaving Heraklion, 1909 (Liana Starida Collection)
Cretan civil guards in Eleftherias Square, 1900 (R. Behaeddin, N. Alikiotis Press, Vikelaia Municipal Library, Heraklion)
A British military band at the "Three Arches" (now Eleftherias Square), 1907 (R. Behaeddin, Vikelaia Municipal Library, Heraklion)
British troops playing sports in the ditch between the Bethlehem and Martinengo Bastions (R. Behaeddin, Vikelaia Municipal Library, Heraklion)
British troops on the western section of the shorefront enceinte in Heraklion, 1898 (E.A. Cavaliero)
Soldiers on autonomous Crete (Historical Museum of Crete, S.C.H.S, Heraklion)
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