SHEER LUXURY
I am Eurydice Pappas, journalist at
Tharros*. I will tell you the story of
the Golden Age of Tobacco in
Drama. The unique character of the
oriental tobacco is connected to the
climate and soil of Eastern
Macedonia and Thrace and the
skills of the producers. From 1800
until World War II five varieties of
oriental tobacco are exported to
E u r o p e a n d A m e r i c a . T h e
American Civil War makes demand rise
vertically: in 1873 Drama exports two tons
of tobacco, filling the Sultan's treasury with
taxes. 15.000 tobacco workers are
employed 6-8 months a year with wages
from 5 to 25 piasters**. Female workers are
paid less than men, child labor is a socially
reality. In 1879 the first strike in the
Ottoman Empire is organized by united
tobacco workers: Greek, Turkish,
Bulgarians, Jews and Armenians.
*Drama's local newspaper Tharros (Greek word for courage) was established in 1899.
**5 piasters correspond to 1.2 kg of bread.
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