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Elafonisi -tragic Events Of 1824


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#1 Yorgos

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 02:43 AM

A couple of days ago a guest member asked a question regarding a sign he saw at Elafonisi. In response to this question, and because I did not want the response to this question to be lost amongst tales of beautiful sunsets, I am providing it in a new thread.

This tragic event happened in April 1824, three years after the commencement of the 1821 rebellion against the Turks in Crete. Turkish troops reinforced a few months earlier by Egyptian troops and under the leadership of the Egyptian Hussein Pasha attacked and destroyed Apokoronas, descended upon Sfakia, destroying and killing everything in their way and then moved over to the Selino district. Refugees had been streaming south trying to escape in Greek, Sfakian and foreign boats that were evacuating all they could. According to the Cretan historian Detorakis, 60,000 refugees were evacuated from the island in the first few months of 1824.

600 mainly older men, women and children had taken refuge on the island of Elafonisi, protected by 40 armed men, waiting for any passing boats to evacuate them to Greece and near by islands. The Turkish fleet had arrived in the area by then and the one Greek boat that was in the area could not approach the island. The Turkish troops when they arrived, they rode on their horses over the low water separating Elaphonisi from the main island and attacked. Most of the refugees were massacred on the spot, many drowned as they tried to swim away but there was nowhere to go to, the one friendly boat that could take them to safety was kept away by the Turkish fleet. There were only 4 survivors that had hidden in a hole and manager to escape later in a Greek boat.

The events above are described vividly by the Cretan historian Vasilios Psylakis in his 1909 History Of Crete, volume 3, page 417 (From the rewritten in modern Greek and reprinted version of 1970).

#2 Dinny

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 09:50 AM

Thank you, Yorgos, for taking your time to tell us about this piece of history. This is a "tourist site" so I will not draw any lines to modern days history, although tales like this make you understand today's Crete much better.

#3 yannis_s

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 02:09 PM

Is ExploreCrete really a "tourist" site? I thought it was a lot more than that... Take a look at the average tourist guide and then compare it to ExploreCrete.
ExploreCrete is the travel guide about real Crete, as I like to say, but its subjects include a lot more than travel information. ExploreCrete started as a personal page with hiking routes on Crete and gradually it has expanded to include a big variety of subjects. I believe its audience is mainly the independent traveler to Crete and every person who has a special bond with Crete and needs an in-depth look to it.
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#4 Dinny

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 08:18 PM

Well, Yannis.... I didn't want to imply that ExploreCrete is an "average tourist site"... what I ment was that maybe it was not the case to go into 'political' discussions even though Yorgos posting made me want to do exactly that! :) I had so many comments that I had to sit on my hands not to post them! :rolleyes:

ExploreCrete is not an "average tourist site".... it is the lifeline to Crete for everybody who love this island!

#5 yannis_s

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 09:12 PM

A political debate about a historical fact in 1824? That would be interesting to see...
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#6 DaveW.

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 02:02 AM

Yorgas,
Thank you for the description of what happened at Elafonisi. It gives a whole new dimension to how I, personally, feel about such a beautiful place.
If you look like your passport picture....you probably need the holiday!

#7 yannis_s

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 10:32 AM

This photo is relevant to what Yorgos has written: http://www.explorecr...afonissi_statue

I remind you that Yorgos Dalidakis is also the author of the excellent articles about the Union of Crete with Greece: http://www.explorecr...reece-union.htm
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#8 Tim

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 11:16 PM

History is not a subject that interested me until relatively recently but now I find that information such as that above makes such a difference to experiencing a particular place. Certainly Elafonisi will never be seen by me in the same light again. A sense of the history of a place also helps understand some of how people think today- I think Dinny may have been thinking along those lines and like her, I don't want to go any further on that point.
That Explorecrete has people who will make such interesting postings about the history and other aspects of 'nontourist' Crete is what makes it stand out as a resource for people seeking the broadest range of information.
Thank you Yorgos ands Yannis - keep it coming.
Tim