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History of Ikaria Island



was forced to accept Turkish rule once more a few years later.

Free State of Icaria

It remained part of the Ottoman Empire until July 17, 1912 when the Ikarians expelled a Turkish garrison and thereby achieved independence.

George Spanos (c. 1872–1912) of Evdilos, killed in a Turkish ambush on that July 17, is honored as the hero of the Icarian Revolution. His bust, depicting him defiantly, with bandoliers and rifle in hand, may be seen in the National Resistance Square in Evdilos.

On July 18, 1912, the Free State of Icaria was declared. The neighboring islands of Fournoi Korseon were also liberated and became part of the Free State. Ioannis Malachias was the only president of the short-lived nation.

For five months, it remained an independent state, with its own armed forces, flag, stamps, and anthem. These five months were difficult times. There were food shortages, the people were without regular transportation and postal service, and they were at risk of becoming part of the Italian Aegean Empire. In November 1912, after a delay due to the Balkan Wars, Icaria became part of Greece.

Second World War occupation and starvation

The island suffered tremendous losses in property and lives during the Second World War as the result of the Italian and then German occupation. There are no exact figures on how many people starved, but, in the village of Karavostamo alone, over 100 perished from starvation.

Red Rock

After the ravages of the war the nationalists and communists fought in the Greek Civil War (1945–1947), the Greek government used the island to exile about 13,000 communists. To this date, many of the islanders have remained sympathetic to communism (KKE wins 35–40% of the vote), and, for this reason, Ikaria is referred to by some as the Kokkino Nisi (Red Island) or the Kokkinos Vrahos (Red Rock).

In his analysis, "Rebels and Radicals; Icaria 1600–2000", historian