Greek Revolution 1821

Despite the fact that it was far from the base of operations
and a sitting duck for the Turkish fleet, Skiathos was soon on
the side of the Greek Revolution.

The services of the residents of Skiathos, mostly marine ones,
during the uprising of ’21 were significant. In 1770, the island
took part in the Orlov revolt, the naval battle of Çesme under
the leadership of the Russian Admiral Alexei Orlov. The prerevolution moves of the Armatoloi (militia) and the Klepht (Brigands) of Olympus after the Orlov revolt continue in Skiathos and Skopelos from 1806 until 1816.
In 1804, Skiathos had 12 ships of 144 sailors and 48 canons which were given in service of the liberation movement by Lambros Katsonis, raiding the coastline of Turkey and attacking Turkish ships. The grand movement of the Armatoloi captains of Greece, with Nikotsaras and Giannis Stathas in charge, in 1807-1809 - with a base of operations in Skiathos, the beach of Lechouni and the newfound (1794) Monastery of Evangelistria - shook the rotten and crumbling Ottoman empire to its foundations.
Greek Revolution 1821

The operations of the Filiki Eteria (or Society of Friends) of Anthimos Gazis and the Skiathian scholar Epiphanios Dimitriadis, inextricably “tie” the outbreak of the Revolution on the island in May 1821 with the rebel movement at the nearby Pelion, the Euboea opposite and mainland Greece.

After the defeat of the rebel movement in Pelion, Thessaly and Macedonia, the fall of Chalkidiki and the Massacre of Naoussa in 1822, Skiathos became the place that saved and sheltered thousands of refugees of these areas, which came to be known in history as the “Olympians”. The refugees from the villages of Pelion, Olympus, Euboea and Epirus that sought refuge in Sporades are estimated at 30,000 more or less.

In 1823, the Turks attempted to reclaim Skiathos, but they were decimated. People of Skiathos, Thessaly and Macedonia together defended the island against the deadly threat of the Turkish fleet of the Kapudan Pasha in 1823. Led by Karatasos, Gatsos and Cottas, they achieved the great victory of October 9th, 1823, in Bourtzi, Pounta and Ftelia, which prevented another enslavement of the island.

These years were tough and turbulent, since the gathering of that many people in such a small place caused many housing and sustenance problems. Given that many among those people carried weapon, it didn’t take long until anarchy prevailed: the island suffered for years from violent acts and ransacking mainly by the Lab Albanians who remained in Skiathos long after most of the refugees returned to their homes or moved into other more suitable places.

In 1829, the Greek State is established with the signing of the London Protocol. The Demononisia (Demon Islands) aka Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and the isles around them are added to the borders of the liberated Greece, still subject though to the Turks. At that point, the residents of Skiathos, abandoned the medieval town of Kastro on the north of the island to settle again in the port where the ancient seaside town used to be. Here’s what followed that: development of shipbuilding, expanding of olive cultivation which changed the face of the island, the gradual development and prevalence of the capitalistic merchandise-monetary relations and the concomitant charging and attachment of the old prominent skiathian households to the usurer claims, decadence of sailboats and immigration. So, the second half of the 19th century was tough but creative in all sectors. It’s the time when people that made history in the fields of Education and Letters where born: Dionysios Epiphaniadis (the senior), Alexandros Papadiamantis, Alexandros Moraitidis. Followed in the end of the 19th c. and the beginning of the 20th by Georgios Rigas, Ioannis Fragkoulas and Zisis Oikonomou, men that were spiritual leaders for decades.

Following the administrative organisation of the Aegean Islands in provinces, Skiathos became part of the province of Andros Island. In a later administrative plan, Skiathos, Skopelos, Liadromia (Alonnisos’s older name) and Skyros became a separate province. Upon the arrival of Kapodistrias as the first Head of State in Greece, the administrative organisation of the Aegean Islands changed again. According to that last one, the islands along with Psara became the First part of Islands, named “North Sporades”. Kapodistrias also founded in Skiathos the “Hellenic School” and the “Mutual-Teaching School” (when the best and oldest students would teach the rest, a popular concept in Greece at the time), while in 1835 a school building paid by the residents was constructed.

In 1845, the population of the city had significantly increased from 1500 to more than 2000. Indeed, in 1855 is when town planning begins. At the end of the 19th century, Skiathos’ seafaring thrives: It’s the time when a lot of small shipyards were created; distinguished shipwrights utilised the abundant timber of Skiathos to build the fast vessels that led to the Skiathian fleet dominating the Mediterranean Sea in 1877 with 110 sailboats. However, with the arrival of the steamboat, the local industry started to wane.