Psara History

Due to the prehistoric graves found on Psara is estimated that the first inhabitants appeared in 3,000 BC. Psara was known by the famous poet Homer with the name Psyrii. After archaeological surveys that were conducted in 1983, it was discovered that the area of Archontiki had developed remarkable Mycenaean settlement during the second millennium BC. The first settlers involved in trade as well as in shipping. From the ancient years the habitants had large naval force at sea and at the end of the 5th century played an important role in communication and commerce.

During the 17th century AD in the deserted island settled people from Euboea, Thessaly and  Epirus. The new residents built a small fort to protect themselves from pirates and developed trade and shipping. The most important piece of history of Psara, which is shown with great pride by locals, is the important contribution of the heroes of the Liberation Struggle of Greece from the Turkish yoke in 1821.

The resistance of Psara started many years before the official start of the Greek Revolution. Actively participated in the Russian-Turkish war in 1770 AD and in order to escape reprisals from the Turks they signed the peace treaty Küçük Kaynarca in 1774. Under this treaty, the habitants were allowed to continue trading with other large cities, but also to equip their vessels with guns, so they can face the pirates. Thus, over time acquired great experience in naval battles and became one of the strongest Greek fleet at the time.

At the beginning of the Revolution brave admirals of the island, including Nikolis (“Nick”) Apostolis, Ioannis (“Jonh”) Varvakis, Konstantinos Nicodimos (“Constantine Nicodemus”), Dimitrios Papanikolis and of course Constantine Kanaris, began with courage and sacrifice to attack the Turkish ships with wildfires. The exploits of the people of Psara who fired many ships had taken mythical dimension! One of the highlights of the Revolution was the burning of the Turkish flagship by Constantine Kanaris outside the port of Chios. This attack angered the Sultan, who ordered the admiral Chorsef Pasha to completely destroy Psara.


The residents Psara rejected the proposal from the Sultan to surrender the island without blood and they got prepared to fight for the ideal of freedom. Then it follows the tragic historical moment of Psara, the holocaust of Mavri Rahi (“Black Ridge”) on the 22th of June 1824. The Ottoman fleet arrived with many boats on the island and they flattened it. Over 20,000 people were killed and about 500 barricaded themselves in the fort of Mavri Rahi, trying to save themselves.

In this tragic moment was written the heroic end of bloodshed when Antonis (“Anthony”) Vratsanos blew up the gunpowder in order to prevent civilians from falling into the hands of the Ottomans. The holocaust of Psara was immortalized by our national poet Dionysios Solomos and became the inspiration for the European artist Eugène Delacroix.

Fewer than 3,000 people, among them and the hero Constantine Kanaris, managed to escape in small boats from the island. Those who were saved, they settled in Euboea, Nafplio, Monemvasia, as well as in Aegina from where they continued their contribution to the Greek Revolution. In 1862, many residents returned to the still enslaved island, which was released by the Greek destroyer Ierax on the 21th of October 1912 and was annexed to the newly established Greek state.

Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest

How to arrive

follow us