Old Mines in Serifos

The old mines in Megalo Livadi Serifos: The history of Serifos is linked from the ancient times to the mines that exist on the island and which flourished and gave prosperity to the Islanders. In the antiquity, slaves used to work in these mines, until they temporarily closed in the Roman Era. In the Venetian Times, the mines reopened and this small island prospered again. However, due to the frequent attacks of pirates and the suppression of the Ottomans, who later conquered the island, the mines had again to be closed for a long time.

After the end of the Greek Revolution, in 1830, Serifos reopened its mines, which started operating on a big scale. The economy of the island boomed but the working conditions in the mines were awful for the laborers. The safety measures were inadequate and many of the workers died in work accidents. The mining activities were controlled by the German company of the Germans and they exploited the unfortunate mine workers for many years until an ill-fated strike by the suppressed miners broke up.

The labor strike was organized in August 1919 by Constantino Spears, who had good experience in gearing up activities for the rights of the working class population in the mainland. The laborers stopped working and demanded better working conditions and an eight-hour work per day rule. A great fight between the strikers and the police on August 19th, 1919, ended in the death of many strikers.

In retaliation, the laborers and their families stoned the full battalion to death and finally, the Germans conceded and agreed to create the proper working conditions for the miners. As the mining ores finished gradually, so the activities also stopped and presently there are no mining works on the island. However, the residents of Serifos do not forget their fights. In Megalo Livadi, there is a memorial dedicated to the miners who lost their lives in the strike.

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