History of Ikaria Text
History of Ikaria
The island where people forget to die.
Ottoman Era, Free State of Ikaria, Second World War
The island is called Nikaria by its inhabitants.
Icaria, also spelled Ikaria, is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It derived its name from Icarus, the son of Daedalus in Greek mythology, who fell into the sea nearby.
The island’s natural resources attracted settlers as early as 7.000 B.C. It is known that in the 8th century BC Ikaria was inhabited by people from the city of Miletus in Asia Minor. In the 5th century BC it already boasted three major cities, Inoe, Thermae and Drakanos, which were part of the Delian League. After a shot domination by Samos, it fell under Roman rule in the 2nd century BC. The Romans were succeeded by the Byzantines who used it as a place for exile. After three centuries of Western European rule, it was invaded by the Ottoman Turks in 1521 AD. During the Ottoman period the Ikarians were living in rather primitive conditions, isolated from the commerce and life in the eastern Aegean Sea. In the early 1900s and as the Ottoman Empire were losing its power, the proud and harsh people of Ikaria disarmed the minor Turkish garrison and declared their independence. Along with their neighboring island of Fourni, they went on founding the Free State of Ikaria in 1912, which survived for just four months before it was united with the Greek state in November of 1912. The island suffered a lot during the Second World War and the Greek Civil War that followed. The right-wing Greek state send over thirteen thousand communists into exile to Ikaria from 1945 till 1949. The island’s fate changed in the 1970s when the government and locals invested in tourism and agriculture.
Today, Ikaria is considered one of the world’s five “Blue Zones” – places where the population regularly lives to an advanced age. This is due to healthy diets and lifestyles. In 2002 Greek authorities captured Ikarian-born, Christodoulos Xiros, a member of Revolutionary Organization 17 November. A 58-year-old professor and economist, Alexandros Giotopoulos, was identified as the group’s leader and was arrested on the nearby island of Lipsi.
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Administrative region: North Aegean
Capital: Agios Kirykos
Population statistics 2011
Area: 254.4 km2 (98 sq mi)
Density: 33 /km2 (86 /sq mi)
Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
Postal code: 833 xx
Local newspapers: Nea Ikaria
Radio station: Radio Ikaria (87.6 FM)