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A Hub of Piracy in the Middle of the Aegean: Syros during the War of Independence

Apostolos Delis - Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for Mediterranean Studies,
Foundation for Research and Technology

 

Abstract

During the Greek War of Independence, Syros became a sort of neutral area, and a market for all kind of transactions related to piracy, smuggling, slave trade and money counterfeit. War refugees from Chios, Psara and the shores of Asia Minor, with previous know-how in shipping and trade, and seafarers from different parts of the Aegean and Ionian seas engaged in all kinds of ‘illicit’ activities in the slowly emerging port-town of future Hermoupolis. The main questions examined here can be summarized in the following: a) Which were the factors and main characteristics of the piracy that spread in the Aegean during the Greek War of Independence? b) Why did Syros become a hub of piratical gatherings and transactions? c) What was the impact on the socio-economic life of the new settlement, as well as on its future perspectives?

 

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