After the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, the Venetians sailed into
Greece, conquering all of the Aegean and the Ionian sea and much of the
mainland. A duchy was founded in the Aegean, with Naxos as its base.
This was a time of diversity, since many islands suffered greatly from
constant pirate attacks and high taxes to be paid to the Venetians,
while others flourished through trade with the Venetians and their
The tension between the Venetians and Ottomans grew stronger, though,
and the constant crusades had created a climate of hostility between the
two powers. Greece's geographical position was attractive as a gate
between East and West, and the Ottomans prepared for an invasion of
The sultan of the Ottoman Empire Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered
Constantinople in 1453 and a few years later Greece was under Ottoman
rule. The Turks drove out the Venetians and with the exception of
Venetian rule of the Peloponnese 1699-1718 Greece was Turkish until the
War of Independence which started in 1821.
The Turkish rule was a rule of fear and tyranny, but there was some
aspects of society where the Greeks were left alone. The orthodox church
was allowed to exist, and certain prominent Greeks held important
positions. To this day, this is a subject of great controversy, since
the church traditionally is considered to have preserved the Greek
language and culture, while others claim that the church actually
benefited from the Ottoman rule by making special agreements in order to
keep the people calm.