History of Serifos island, Greece

The history of Serifos dates back to the first-Cycladic era during the 3rd millennium B.C. Strongly connected to the history of Cyclades and generally Greece, Serifos is even mentioned in the myth of Perseus: according to the Greek mythology, his mother and baby Perseus were exiled from their homeland, Argos in Peloponnese, and eventually landed with their boat in Serifos, where the local king married the mother of Perseus. Another myth also said that Serifos was actually the land of the Cyclops, where king Ulysses landed on his way back to Ithaca.

From the early historical times until very recently, the economy of Serifos was largely based on its mines. In the ancient times, the subsoil of Serifos was famous for its minerals, whose exploitation faded along centuries. During the Roman and Byzantine times, the island was an exile land, while it was also frequently raided by pirates. After the active participation of the locals during the Greek Revolution of 1821, Serifos became part of the Greek State, like the other islands of Cyclades.

In 1861, by order of king Otto of Greece, the mines of Serifos reopened. However, the bad working conditions caused frequent strikes by the side of the mine workers. These strikes were being violently suppressed by the government and in fact three workers will killed during the big strike of 1916 that took place on the island. Finally, in 1925, some rights of the workers were established, until 1965 when the mines of Serifos were closed down for good. Today, many remains of the local mining activity can be seen at the Old Mines in the region of Megalo Livadi.