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Homer - Iliad - Book XIII - translation by Alexander Pope
View of Samothrace from the fortress of Imbro
From the road of Tenedos we sailed to Lemnos; passing to the
south of Imbrus, which is situated to the south west of the cape, that is at the entrance of the
Dardanels; this island was sacred to Mercury, and has on it five or six
villages, in two of which there are castles.
Richard Pococke - A Description of the East and Some Other Countries - 1745
Imbro (Gokceada) is a small island located in the north-western corner of the Aegean Sea close to the Gallipoli peninsula.
Because of its strategic position, in 1456 Sultan Mehmet II seized Imbro, soon after having conquered Constantinople. A small bay on the northern coast of the island served as landing site: it was protected by a castle built on the ruins of the ancient Greek acropolis. The castle has a commanding view over Samothrace, a small island dominated by a mountain which reaches 5,000 ft.
Little is known about the island during the Greek and Roman periods: its name could be a reference to the availability of water: as a matter of fact during the War of Candia (1645-1669), the Venetians seized the island to supply their ships with its fresh water (the ships were anchored at the mouth of the Dardanelles).
The castle was strengthened by the Ottomans after 1657, but not enough to prevent the Venetians from briefly seizing the island again in 1698 and from returning to the island in 1717 in the final days of the seventh (and last) Ottoman-Venetian war.
The small cove which was protected by the fortress
Imbro saw more fighting during the 1768-1774 Ottoman-Russian war. Prince Vasili Orlov (or Orloff), was sent by Empress Catherine to the Aegean Sea to lead a revolt of the Greeks. He managed to conquer some Aegean islands including Imbro, which were eventually returned to the Ottomans as part of the peace agreement. More on this war in a page covering Cesme.
In 1915 the island was seized by the Anglo-French navies and it
served as General Headquarters for General Sir Ian Hamilton, who was in command of the mixed force that landed at Gallipoli.
The misfortunes of Imbro did not end with WWI, but continued in the following years when the island was at first given to Greece and later on to Turkey. Its Greek population suffered because of the extremely tense relations between Greece and Turkey and to a great degree they left the island.
Fortresses of the Sultans - Introduction
Fortresses built before 1453:
1 - Anadolu Hisar
2 - Rumeli Hisar
Fortresses built after 1453 and before 1657:
3 - Kale Sultanieh
4 - Kilitbahir
Fortresses built after 1657:
5 - Seddulbahir
6 - Imbro
7 - Tenedo