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HistoryContemporary MacedoniaThe First World War (1914-1918)

The First World War (1914-1918)

The new territorial arrangements
Economy and Society

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Jew amongst the ruins caused by the fire of 1917
Black-and-white photograph of a Jew of Thessaloniki collecting his possessions amongst the ruins caused by the fire, 1917, Thessaloniki, G. Megas archive.

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Jew amongst the ruins caused by the fire of 1917
G. Megas archive, 1917

The outbreak of another war so soon after the liberation from Ottoman rule prevented any attempt at economic and social modernization from taking place. Military campaigns, the Bulgarian occupation of eastern Macedonia and the huge fire that destroyed Thessaloniki in August 1917, created insurmountable obstacles to economic development, despite the radical reform efforts by Venizelos in 1917-18.

Thus the economy, which was almost exclusively based on agriculture, continued to depend on traditional methods of cultivation, carried out either in small holdings owned by families or in chiftliks (large estates left over from the Ottoman era and one of the primary reasons for the impoverished state of the peasants). The main products were wheat, cotton, barley and tobacco.

Heavy industry was located in Thessaloniki, while craft industry elsewhere was limited: tobacco processing in Kavala, furs in Kastoria, textiles in Naousa and Veroia. The living standards in the countryside were low (the per capita income was half that of the rest of Greece) and health conditions were appalling (there were many cases of malaria).

See Also
History - The primary sector (1430-1821)
The secondary sector (1430-1821)
Foreign trade (1430-1821)
Administrative and social developments (1821-1870)
Economic developments (1821-1870)
The primary sector (1821-1870)
Foreign trade (1821-1870)
Administrative and social developments (1870-1913)
Economic Developments (1870-1913)
The primary sector (1870-1913)
Industry (1870-1913)
Foreign trade (1870-1913)
Market organization (1870-1913)


Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.