In 1883 the Ottoman monopoly Régie with
The Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and the
seat in Constantinople, the Commercial
Bulgarian occupations (1912-1913 and
Company of Salonica Ltd. with seat in
1916-1918) temporarily upset the oriental
London and the Oriental Tobacco Trading
tobacco market. The international
Co. with seat in Budapest mark the
competition leads to mixing the fine but
globalization of the tobacco economy.
expensive oriental tobacco with cheap
During World War I (1914-1918) soldiers
varieties. The American blend is born. The
smoke more and more in the battlefield.
Greek-Turkish war (1918-1922) ends with
They become addicted to nicotine and raise
almost 1,500,000 refugees arriving in
the demand. The tobacco workers'
Greece. They improve tobacco cultivation
community grows. Numerous banks
and production. In 1924 more than 4,500
generously cover producers and dealers
tobacco workers are employed in 45
with capital funds. Northern Greece -
tobacco factories in Drama. In the
liberated from the Ottomans in 1913-
meantime smoking has become a global
enjoys great prosperity. In Drama European
habit. The Great Crash of 1929 in America
fashion, imported goods and architecture
shakes again the tobacco market. Tobacco
shape the new urban image. High-rise
workers organize the strongest syndicate.
tobacco factories, luxurious mansions,
Their strike on the 9th of May 1936 ends
schools, theaters, banks and richly
with 11 dead and countless injured. Their
decorated public buildings are testimonies
struggle inspired Yannis Ritsos to write the
of the Golden Age of Tobacco in Greece. The
Epitaph, an eternal piece of poetry. Oriental
20th century marks the shift from tobacco
tobacco keeps starring until the end of
to the cigarette enabling in this way the
World War II.
large scale production. The cigarette
quickly becomes the symbol of a
glamorous, carefree life.