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History




The fifty graves found on the western side of the island in place Archontiki it’s a proof for life on the island back from the Mycenaean period. The rich goods found inside the grave show a wealth settlement. There are also some reports about the island from Homer, called back then Psiriin, but also from other historic Reports have also Homer Psyriin as well as by other historian authors. All this shows that the island was inhabited until 1522 when the sultan Suleiman the B, plundered and captured its residents. Later the island inhabited by Turks, sent by the sultan to guard the Aegean.

 

The ancestors of the present inhabitants came in the 16th-17th century and was enslaved Greeks from Chios and Epirus-Thessaly trying to cross into Mikra Asia came to Psara. The population gradually increased so that the Turks sell their land to Greek and leave. Residents initially were involved in agriculture and farming but soon turned to the sea and began to build ships.

 

The island had a democratic administration, compared to the season. Annually, 40 representatives were elected from all classes of the island, who voted for the four people that constituted the council of elders. The elected members did not have the right of withdrawal and were serving without pay. The new elders took the two stamps from the old. The first, was for the internal and external issues, had the image of the Virgin Mary, and was divided into four pieces so it required plenary session to seal the documents. The second stamp was for maritime issues and had the image of St. Nicholas. This administrative system lasted until 1815, when an epidemic plague created commotion among the population and the elders became dictatorial. However, Psara returned to the old system with the addition of a commander that lasted until 1821.

 

In the 17th century the priests were in charge of the teacher’s role. Almost all the Psarians, except women, could read and write. The monk Gregory Moros founded the first school in 1806, while Varvakis founded a school which operated until the destruction of Psara 1824. After the destruction and relocation of residents the church of the Transfiguration was used as a school. After the liberation in 1912 the Turkish governor was used as a school, until 1928 when it was finished the building, where even today houses the Primary School.

 

The island became known for its participation and its contribution to the liberation struggle of 1821. The residents were already in an uproar before '21 but were forced through a diplomatic way to declare allegiance to the Turks in order to escape retaliation, when peace was signed in 1774. With the outbreak of the revolution, Psarians raised the flag and with Admiral Nicholas Apostolis fighted with courage and self-sacrifice in the struggle for freedom. The Psarian bourloto was fear and terror of the Turkish fleet, culminating in the bombing of the Turkish flagship outside the port of Chios by Constantine Kanaris.

 

Because of this action and its geographical location, Psara soon was attacked by the Turks. Psarians, knowing the plans of the Turkish war were ready for war when the sultan offers its residents to leave the island. They werw denied and asked for help from the Greek fleet, which was delayed. When it arrived a few days later, the island had been already destroyed.

 

On 20nth of June the Turkish armada commanded by Admiral Chorsef Pasha, consisting of 235 ships reached the bay Canalos. The next day, Turkish after unsuccessful tries made a landing on the island with 10,000 soldiers. Thus began the great tragedy. The city had been delivered in flames, the women and children run to save themselves, while warriors battling heroically. At the fort of Black Ridge, Paleokastro there was still war. At night the Greeks helped the women and children to escape in Cyclades. On the third day, resistance was hopeless. Then Dimitris Vratsanos, chairman of the Parliament of Psara told his son Anthonis Vratsanos to blow up the powder keg and so killing Turks and Greeks. The last outbreaks of resistance, at St.Nicholaki and Daskalio were battling heroically until the last minute.

 

The news of the disaster was a blow to the struggle of the nation. The casualties were many as of the 6,500 souls who lived on Psara saved about half.


After the liberation of mainland Greece (1830), the residents who were scattered seeing that they could not go back to the island since it was not released yet, asked the Greek administration to gather them and live together. The place of Eretria was given to them and there they built the New Psara.


Since 1862 the old habitants gradually began to return to their island. Lived isolated under Turkish administration until 21 October 1912 when they were released.

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