The History of Symi
The sea has always been a focal element in the life of Simi, which once lived from sponge fishing.
Nowadays ,only memories are left from these glory days ,
Although the sea element always remains in every Symian hart
The island's History begins in ancient times and some of it's ancient names were KARIKI,AIGLI,AND METAPONTIS. The island got it's current name from the Nymph Symi ,who according to mythology married the god of the seas Poseidon ,and brought to life Hthonios who became the leader of the islands inhabitants.
It is Postulated that the island's first inhabitants were the Carians and the leleges. Homer mentions Symi in the Heliade ,for it's participation in the Trojan war with tree ships ,headed by the Symiot King Nireas.`
Having gone through it's own history during the ancient and Byzantine period .(this is when the islands fortress was built),Symi was conquered in 1309 by the Knights of John. This is when a period of prosperity begins for the island with the development of shipping ,sponge commerce ,boat and big other crafts .
The neoclassical mansions ,which remain intact to this DAY,and the most of the islands churches were build in that period. The houses begun to spread outside the castle area and the same time .many of the up to then traditional settlements were abandoned.
Simi was conquered to the Turks in 1522. In an attempt to preserve as many rights as they could ,the Symiots offered gifts to the Sultan and gained in return the grant of many special privileges such as the freedom of religious expression and speech. Great progress was achieved in letters and Grafts and schools such as the Agia Marina Academy were founded 1756-1821
Prosperity in Shipping and commerce gave the Symiots the opportunity to support the national war of independence from the Turkish dominion both by financially supporting in the war and also by financially supporting this national cause.
Unfortunately in 1832 Symi was Found once again under the Turkish dominion which in 1912 was succeeded by the Italian dominion which was particularly harsh on the locals. Once very prosperous , Simi confronted povertly - at time the replacement of sailing with motor ships also occurred ,sponge diving decreased and world war 2 begun resulting in great migration wave of Symiots abroad.
From 1943 when the Italian dominion ceased and onwards ,Symi changed Hands several times between English and Germans, with the English taking over the island for the 3rd time on Septemper 25 1944 date when the island's Castle and its surroundings were blown up
On May 8th 1945 the Germans signed the Treaty of Dodecanese Surrender, with on April 1st 1947 the British Military Command handed over its rights to Greek one
At last,it was on Symi that on March 8th 1948 the protocol of Integration of all Dodecanese islands to the Greek state was Signed.
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