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You are here: For tourism professionals / The Islands / Serifos / History


Serifos has been inhabited since ancient years and it demonstrates a comprehensive historical path. The myth connects Serifos with Perseas, the son of Zeus and Danae, who lived in the island, and still with Odysseus, who  on his return travel to Ithaca came out in Serifos and remained captive of the Cyclops Polyfimos in his terrible cave.Locals still show to visitors, at the Koutalas bay, the rock that Polyfimos threw to Odysseus when he was escaping and sailed from the island, as well as the remnants from huge cyclopean walls.

Serifos is known from antiquity for its mining wealth: lead, silver and other rare ores. The most ancient habitation of the island dates to the 2nd millennium B.C., therefore Serifos was colonized first from the Minoans and later from Mycenaean’s that began exploiting its subsoil. The first residents of Serifos were of “Thessaloaiolic” origin. Later the island was inhabited by Kares, Phoenicians, Cretans and Iones. Then the island faced great development, which was owed mainly to exploitation of iron layers, which made the island known to the ancient world. At the duration of the Persian wars, Serifos was on the side of Athens. In 363 B.C. the Macedonians conquered Serifos. In 266 B.C. the island passes to the hands of the Ptolemy’s of Egypt. In the years that followed, Serifos had the same fate with the rest of Cyclades. In 146 B.C. the Romans dominated in the island and used it as a place of exile. A new historical period begins in 1204, when the Franks  arrived.After many centuries, in the years of Venetian governing-with Ermolao Minotto as the sovereign-mines of the island began to operate. Thus, the economy of Serifos met a big blossoming. In 1537, the Turks conquer Serifos. Serifos was included in the newly established Greek state in 1829, like the rest of Cyclades.

Nevertheless, history of the island of Serifos does not stop in the 19th century. During August of 1916, one of the most notable pages of the Greek Labour party takes place. 2000 miners from the mines that at the time were situated at the island are on strike and along with their families are protesting for a clean 8 hour shift, a raise in wages and most important of all: for health and safety requirements in their working environment that have caused a variety in industrial accidents. The result was fatal as 5 people were killed when suppression of the uprising proved to be more than necessary aggressive. The auster monument in the region of Megalo Livadi was constructed in memory of the strikes' victims as well as of those of industrial accidents in the deepest depths of the Serifos land.