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Inousses History

The history of Ιnousses is bonded with its strategic geographical location and of course with the sea.

In 1566, Ιnousses along with Chios are occupied by an Ottoman admiral named Piyale Pasha, who gave it as a present to an officer named Parmaksiz Pasha, whose heirs later on, donated the islands to a religious Muslim foundation (Vakoufi).

During the Greek Revolution of 1821, the inhabitants abandoned the island until 1827. Their return marked the beginning of their engaging with the sea, in order to cope with the difficult economic conditions of the era. Tentative steps had already been done since 1822, after the destruction of Chios, when many Ιnousses residents left the island, turning to liberated areas. That was the time that they came into contact with the marine trade. Their involvement was developed so much during the next years that gave the island its great current naval value and made it a leading factor in shipping.

The first settlement on the island was established by residents of Kardamyla, a village in Chios, and shepherds in the first half of the 18th century at the location Kastro. In the early 19th century, houses were built on the east coast of Ιnoussa, at a place called Mandraki, which until then was used simply as a port connecting the island with Chios. The inhabitants managed to grow their town by building churches and creating a fully organized society, which was ruled by elected elders. At that time, the permanent residents of Ιnoussa were about 250 people.

The years that the Crimean War lasted (1853-1856), when the needs for trade were huge, are considered to be the hub of maritime development of Ιnousses. That period most of the residents were involved with the sailing shipping.

In 1864, Saint Nicholas was renovated.

In 1881, Ιnousses suffered by the earthquakes that afflicted the island of Chios.

In November 1912, during the First Balkan War, the islands were annexed to Greece after the Ottoman rule had ended.

In 1914, during the first persecution, many Greeks coming from Asia Minor, mostly from the villages across, settled in Ιnousses until 1918- 1919, when they returned to their houses.

A new wave of refugees came to Ιnousses in August 1922 once again from Asia Minor, after the destruction of Smyrna. The issue of expropriation of private land for refugees was the cause of disturbing the relations between the natives and the refugees since the late 1920’s. Apart from the problems existing, their presence was a catalyst for the development of the local culture and the prevention of stagnation and population decline. It is remarkable that this period, the population of Ιnousses had increased to 2.500 residents by 1928.

In May 1941, the Germans occupied Ιnousses causing serious problems on the island referring to the lack of food. The condition was later on improved thanks to the care of wealthy locals that lived in Athens. Throughout the occupation, Ιnousses had been a ferrying station for both Greek and English in Cesme and from there to the Middle East.

During the Second World War, exactly like in previous military confrontations, many residents of Ιnousses who were sailors were lost at sea operations. The total number of those who drowned in shipwrecks of both sailing and steamships from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th ,is disproportionate to the population of the island. Proof of the shock that the island went through, is the monument of the “Unknown Sailor” that was erected in 1952 on Ιnousses and was the first in Greece.

Soon after the liberation of the island, the locals started to emigrate to Athens in search for work. That time marked the opening of offices and shipping companies owned by Ιnoussians. This emigration was enlarged because of the earthquakes of 1949.

In 1954, the Naval School was established on the island. That helped in keeping the local population halted its decline. Nowadays, the existence of the Naval School combined with the efforts made by many aim to the island’s development as well as to continue its great maritime tradition, keeping alive the hopes of avoiding devastation.

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