Since roughly 1250, the Genoese have been involved in the salt trade both in
Crete, and especially here in Ibiza.1 Thus, we the Puigcerdà family have had some
familiarity with the salt trade on that island to the east for some time now. Though, with
the strength of Venice in the Eastern Mediterranean, Genoa’s influence in Crete’s
salt trade has never been very strong.2 However, the Genoese haven’t been the only
vehicle for connection between Ibiza and Crete; and we Ibicencos are aware of recent
events on Crete. For example, through our Jewish connections on the Island, we have
learned that since the Ottoman take over of Crete from the Venetians in 1669, the
new Muslim rulers have allowed both Jews and Christians in Candia the right to
buy property in order to repopulate the largely disserted city. For our Jewish
friends on Crete, this is quite a change considering their forced concentration into
Jewish quarters under the rule of the Venetians.3 Our Jewish connections on Crete
also bring news of the island’s salt trade, which has also come under the umbrella of
Ottoman influence with their taking of the smaller island of Spinalonga in 1715.4
Along with this, the Ottoman janissaries have a monopoly on the salt trade in
Candia, reaping all the profits for themselves.5 Clearly, the recent conquests by the
Ottomans have brought some changes to Crete and its salt trade.
1 Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2002), ch. 6.
2 “The Importance of Salt,” University of California, Davis, May 1999, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/~gel115/salt.html, accessed 29 March 2016.
3 Molly Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000), 85-86.
4 “Spinalonga,” (6 March 2016) Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinalonga#Ottoman_rule, accessed 29 March 2016.
5 Greene, 103.