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Hydra (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2015-10-25 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Hydra

The municipality of Hydra (2,719 inhabitants in 2001; 6,443 ha) is mostly made of the island of the same name, one of the Saronic Islands, located in the Aegean Sea between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf, close to the eastern coast of Peloponnese, west of Spetses island.
The municipality was not modified in the 2011 local government reform.

There is evidence of farmers and herders from the second half of the third millennium BCE. The large-scale Dorian invasion of Greece around the 12th Century BCE appears to have resulted in a depopulation of the island. Hydra was repopulated by farmers and herders, perhaps sailing from the mainland port of Ermioni, in the 8th century BCE.
It is clear that Hydra was populated during the Byzantine Era, as vases and coins have been discovered in the area of Episkopi. However, it appears that the island again lost its population during the Latin Empire of Constantinople as the inhabitants fled the pirate depredations. Between 1204-1566 it belonged to Venice. From 1566 to 1821 (nominally 1829), it was part of the Ottoman Empire.

The naval and commercial development of Hydra began in the 17th century. In the 19th century, Hydra was home to some 125 boats and 10,000 sailors. From 1770 onwards, Hydra was the main port of insurrected Greece, with a population peaking at more than 20,000. The wealthy shipowners and corsairs from Hydra strongly supported the insurrection, the most famous of them being the Coundoriofis family.
On 8 September 1822, the joint fleets from Hydra, Psara and Spetses defeated the Ottoman Navy near Spetses.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 February 2015

Flag of Hydra

The municipality uses the historical flag of the island, with the eye of God either in white on blue or in blue on white (photos no longer online).

Olivier Touzeau, 4 February 2015

Historical flag of Hydra

[Flag of Hydra]

Flag of Hydra - Image modified from [k7k97] by Eugene Ipavec, 24 November 2009

According to the book Hellenic flags [k7k97], the flag designed in Hydra during the Greek War of Independence is blue with a red border, a white crescent, cross and spear with a red flag charged with Athena's head flying from the spear; a white anchor upside down, "fouled" by a green snake and a yellow owl biting the snake; and a quarter of a yellow sun, with a blue disc and the eye of God in white, in the upper left corner.
The black writing "Η ΤΑΝ Η ΕΠΙ ΤΑΣ 1821" is added on the crescent.

Bruce Tindall & Pascal Vagnat, 20 May 1995

The motto on the flag, written in Dorian, the Greek dialect spoken by ancient Spartans, means "With it or on it". According to a legend, when a mother in ancient Sparta farewelled her young son who was leaving for war, she gave him his shield and told him the above sentence, which means "Come back bringing it back, or come back on it [dead]". It was a terrible disgrace for an ancient Greek warrior and its relatives to leave his shield on the battlefield, while warriors killed at battle were carried back to their relatives on their shields. Today this sentence is used on several flags of Greek military units.

Stelios Kutrakis, 4 May 1998

Miaoulis' standard

[Miaoulis' flag]

Miaoulis' standard - Image by Ivan Sache, 5 February 2003, after a replica kept by the Historical and Folklore Society of Acharnae

Quoting the Nostos website:

Andreas Miaoulis (1769-1835) was born on the island of Hydra. At the age of 17 he became captain of a commercial ship. During the Napoleonic wars he managed, due to his courageous sea operations, to accumulate considerable wealth. From the second year of the Greek revolution he was appointed Admiral of the Greek fleet. He defeated the Turkish navy near Patra and the Turko-Egyptian navy near Geronda, and on many occasions he was able to provide supplies for Greek cities besieged by the Turks (for instance Missolonghi).

The book Hellenic flags [k7k97] shows Miaoulis' standard as a white flag with a yellow cross. The canton of the flag is blue with a red cross and a white saltire. The date "182"1 is written in black in the middle of the flag. The revolutionary motto "ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Η ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ" (Freedom or Death, the main motto of this war and the current national motto of Greece) is horizontally written, in black, in the lower part of the flag.

Ivan Sache, 5 February 2003