1. Name-Human Geography
Village located on the slopes of the hill, in the valley of Νılüfer çayı, the right affluent of River Ryndakos, 19 km northeast of Michalitsi, 48 km northwest of Prousa (Bursa), 92 km northeast of Balıkesir and 127 northwest of Nikomideia (İzmid).
The village’s name probably derives from the numerous pine trees in the area (“tsamia”, from the Turkish word çam, which means pine-tree), or from a large pine-tree which the first migrants came across, when they first settled in the area. The turkish population used the name Camuja, which is probably a linguistic corruption of the previous name. The name Cam’ca also, probably derives from the contraction of the official name. In the ecclesiastical and ottoman documents the name Çamlica was used; nowadays this name is still in use.
Before the Asia Minor Catastrophe the village numbered approximately 150 families, namely 600 inhabitants,1 who were all greek-orthodox. The village was founded by emigrants who came from the area of Agrafa in Evritania, probably in the late 18th century. The settling population was led to immigration, possibly either because of their involvement in the Orloff Revolution of 1770, or due to the financial difficulties they were facing or, finally, due to Ali Paşa’s policy. According to the local oral tradition, 12 families settled first in the village (probably the number being symbolic). Inhabitants from other areas, such as Roumeli, Thessalia (mostly builders), but also inhabitants from the surrounding villages, settled later on. The neighboring villages Çeşmıyır and Çabasi were also founded by settlers from the Agrafa area. The first inhabitants of the village spoke only greek, while the next generations began to familiarize with the turkish language also.
There were a number of different quarters (mahala) in the village, probably named after some of the first families that settled there (“Tsaouseika, Giannakeika, Chatzigianneika” and other, for example). The endings of the surnames were usually “akis”.
2. Administrative and ecclesiastical dependence - Religion - Education
According to the existing data for the beginning of the 20th century, Çamuca belonged to the kaymakamlık of Michalitsi, which was part of the Balıkesır mutasarrıflık, which was under the jurisdiction of the Bursa (Prousa) vilayet. The village was under the ecclesiastical authority of the Nicomedia diocese, in the district of Apollonias (an exarch of the diocese had his seat in Apollonias).
There was a church, which was built around 1855, and was dedicated to St.Georgios. Close to the village there were also two sacred springs of holy water (agiasma), dedicated to St.Georgios and to St Elissaios. Anyone who was bitten by a rabid dog would take water from the holy water of St Elissaios, and use it to knead flour. There were a boys and a girls elementary school in the village, both housed at the same building, which was probably built in the 1860’s (according to a testimony the erection of the building was concluded in 1870). In the centre of the village, stood an old mosque of 100 square meters, dated before the settlement of the populations from Agrafa.
3. Economy-Settlement in Greece
The inhabitants of Çamuca were engaged in trade exchanges mainly with the village of Michalitsi and Istanbul (Constantinople). The most important agricultural crop of the village were onions, and for this reason the inhabitants of Camuca were called “kremmidades” (“those who have onions”) by the inhabitants of the nearby villages. Sericulture and the production of grain and onion bulbs were significant productive activities as well.
After the Asia Minor Catastrophe, numerous families living in Çamuca settled in Oxilar and Pefkochori of Xanthi, and primarily in the villages of Nigrita district in Serres (Terpni, Paliotros, Dimitritsi, Patriki, Nikokleia and others).