The development of craft industries and metalworking in Macedonia is linked with the arrival of the Jews from Spain and northern Europe in the 16th century. The presence of the Jews gave a boost to crafts in Thessaloniki, as they possessed the know-how, as well as capital and indispensable contacts with ports around the Mediterranean.
The industry that most attracted the Jews was textiles. The manufacture of woollen garments (called 'abades') in Thessaloniki flourished in the early 16th century, since the army and the farmers absorbed great quantities of them. The wool mills suffered a serious crisis in the 17th century, however, and the quality of the garments declined.
In the following century, European competition significantly curtailed the output of the wool factories and of Halkidiki's metalworks, though there was increased production of linens, silks and cotton fabrics, accompanied by changes in the crop structure and the economic growth of Christian entrepreneurs. Kozani, Kastoria, Siatista, Serres and Drama became established as centers manufacturing textiles, leather, candles and wine. Their potential was nipped in the bud at the start of the 19th century, however, when European products began to pour into Macedonia at a time when the region's cities were being destroyed owing to the Greek War of Independence.