Samos (called by the Turks Susam-Adassi), an island of the Grecian archipelago, belonging to Turkey, separated from the coast of Asia Minor by the strait of Little Boghaz, and from the island of Nicaria (anc. Icaria) by the Great Boghaz; length, from E. to W., 27 m., greatest breadth 12 m.; area, 213 sq. m.; pop. about 15,000, nearly all Greeks. The chief town is Chora. There are several good harbors on the coast. The interior is traversed by two mountain ranges, one of which attains the height of 4,725 ft. in Mt. Kerkis (anc. Cercetius). Samos was anciently celebrated for its fertility. The olive and vine are cultivated, and grain, silk, cotton, wine, figs, and oil are exported. The minerals include marble, iron, lead, silver, and emery, but are not worked. - The original inhabitants are supposed to have been Carians and Leleges. The Samians planted several colonies on the shores of the Propontis and AEgean, and early in the 6th century B. C. their navy was the most powerful in the Grecian waters. The capital, Samos, near the site of the present town of Chora, was one of the finest cities in the Hellenic world.
Polycrates, who usurped the government about 535 B. C, enriched it with a temple of Juno, artificial moles enclosing the harbor, an aqueduct hewn in solid rock to convey water to the town, and a fortified palace. After his death in 522 the island was subject to Persia for 43 years, when it was liberated by the victory over the fleet of Xerxes at Mycale, and became a member of the Athenian league. It revolted, but was conquered by the Athenians in 439. The Romans made the capital a free city. In the middle ages the island was taken by the Saracens, who were expelled in the 13th century. During the Greek revolution the Samians expelled the Turks, but by the treaty which secured the independence of other parts of Greece Samos remained subject to Turkey, though enjoying special privileges. Since 1835 it has been governed by the Greek family Vogorides. The governor, styled "prince of Samos," pays an annual tribute of about $18,000 to the sultan. The production and population of Samos have been much reduced within a few years.
In February, 1873, an earthquake continuing four days destroyed many lives and much property.