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Periphery: South Aegean
Prefecture: Cyclades

Cyclades, Greece

Serifos (Greek: Σέριφος) is a Greek island municipality in the Aegean Sea, located in the western Cyclades, south of Kythnos and northwest of Sifnos. It is part of the Milos peripheral unit. The area is 75.207 km² and the population was 1,414 at the 2001 census. It is located about 170 km (92 nmi) ESE of Piraeus. When Acrisius was warned by an oracle that his own grandson would kill him, he cast his daughter (Danaë) and her infant son Perseus adrift at sea in a wooden chest. It was the island of Serifos where the vessel had come ashore.

View of Serifos Chora

The Miners' Strike 1916

At the turn of the 20th century, Serifos emerged as a major mining site. The shafts which employed large percentages of the local male population were exploited by the mining company "Gesellschaft Seriphos-Siliasesa" with significant shares owned by the German mineralogist A. Grohmann (died 1905). The working conditions in the mines scored amongst the poorest in Europe and though the exact number of in-site deaths is unspecified, historians estimate it in the thousands. In response to the appalling conditions and the legendary brutality of Groman's foremen, in 1916, the miners organized a strike calling for improvement in conditions and an 8 hour workday. The strike was effectively organized by Constantinos Speras, a local anarchosyndicalist with long experience of labour struggles in the mainland. In response to the strike, Groman asked for the help of the Greek authorities which sent a national guard detachment from a nearby island. Imprisoning Speras and the entire labour leadership, the guard turned its weapons against the striking workers demanding they return to work. When the latter refused, the guard opened fire, killing 4 workers and wounding scores. In response, the bystander wives of the workers took up stones and attacked the forces of repression, killing the entirety of the armed detachment and throwing the bodies in the sea. The freed leadership then proceeded to proclaim the island a workers' council commune, leading to an effort of collective proletarian self-organisation cut short by the arrival of a French warship, whose command made clear to the workers that despite them flying the French flag, the Republic had no jurisdiction to support them against the counterattack of the Greek State. Thus Groman was given once again the control of the mines, having however guaranteed improved working conditions and an 8 hour workday. Speras would return to Athens only to be assassinated years later by Communist Party (KKE) maximalists.[CN]

Miners pose outside the iron-ore mines of Serifos (or Seriphos) Island, Greece
c. 1895(1895)
Archives of the National History Museum (Εθνικό Ιστορικό Μουσείο), Athens, Greece.

A view from the medieval Hora, or capital, of the Greek island Serifos, with Sifnos on the horizon. (*)

Historical population
Year Island population
1981 1,133
1991 1,095
2001 1,414
Serifos by the sea

Division of the municipality

  • Seriphos / Δ.δ. Σερίφου [ 1414 ]
    • Seriphos / η Σέριφος [ 357 ]
    • Avyssalos / ο Αβυσσαλός [ 24 ]
    • Agios Ioannis / ο Άγιος Ιωάννης [ 33 ]
    • Vous (island) / ο Βους (νησίδα) [ 0 ]
    • Galani / η Γαλανή [ 71 ]
    • Ganema / το Γάνεμα [ 13 ]
    • Glaronisio (island) / το Γλαρονήσιο (νησίδα) [ 0 ]
    • Kentarchis / ο Κένταρχος [ 46 ]
    • Koutalas / ο Κουταλάς [ 23 ]
    • Livadion / το Λιβάδιον [ 537 ]
    • Megalon Livadion / το Μεγάλον Λιβάδιον [ 52 ]
    • Megalon Chorion / το Μεγάλον Χωρίον [ 24 ]
    • Moni Evangelistrias (Monastery) / η Μονή Ευαγγελιστρίας [ 1 ]
    • Moni Taxiarchon (Monastery) / η Μονή Ταξιαρχών [ 1 ]
    • Panagia / η Παναγία [ 102 ]
    • Platy Gialos / ο Πλατύ Γιαλός [ 29 ]
    • Ramos / ο Ράμος [ 67 ]
    • Serifopoula (island) / η Σεριφοπούλα (νησίδα) [ 0 ]
    • Sykamia / η Συκαμιά [ 34 ]

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