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The land and the farmers in the medieval Crete

Land in Crete was the main source of wealth during the Byzantine periods. Most of the land was owned by few families and was inherited. These conditions facilitated the enforcement of a variation of a feudal system by the Venetians, adapted to the conditions of the local society. The Venetian occupation begins officially in 1211 with the issuing of the document of "Concession".

According to the new land-ownership regulations, the earth belonged to the State; its disposition and use was decided by the State in order to serve the interests of the colony and of Venice. Most of the land was ceded to the Venetian colonizers who became the squires and feudalists. The local athelings had complete rights over the use of the land but owed allegiance to the state of Venice.

Nevertheless, even one whole century after the beginning of the Venetian occupation many Cretan potentates owned large areas of land. Moreover, land was given to the Catholic church as well as to catholic and orthodox monasteries.