Last modified: 2015-08-15 by ivan sache
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Flag of Spetses - Image by Olmivier Touzeau, 12 January 2015
The municipality of Spetses (4,027 inhabitants in 2001; 2,712 ha) is mostly made of the island of the same name, located off the eastern coast of Peloponnese.
The municipality was not changed with the 2011 local government reform.
The island of Spetses was first occupied during the Mesolithic Age, ~8000 BC. After the peak of the State of Lerna (about 2300 BC), Spetses
experienced a period of decline. Mention of the island of Spetses was made both by Strabo in the 1st century BC and Pausanias in the 2nd century AD, referring to the island as Pitiousa.
The raid by the Goths in the Eastern Roman empire caused a wave of refugees to flee to Spetses, resulting in the re-settlement of the island, focusing on the Old Port, making it one of the three largest cities of Argolis. In the 15th century, the Venetians named the island Spezia ("Spice") for its position on a major traderoute; over time the name was Hellenised to Spetsai.
During the 18th century, during the conquest of the Peloponnese by the Turks and the Venetian expulsion, many Christian Albanians took refuge in Spetses to escape Turkish persecution. Over the years the island developed a significant naval power. The Greek Coalition in cooperation with the
Russians in the Russian-Turkish war in 1768-1774 turned the powerful
merchant fleet of Spetses to a significant power against the Turks during
the so-called Orlofika. In response to these events the Turks destroyed the
only village on the island in 1770. The island was re-occupied in 1774 by
new settlers from Peloponnese after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca that allowed the Russian free movement of ships in the Mediterranean.
From 1821, the island played an important role in the Greek War of Independence and was the home of war heroine Bouboulina. Spetses was the first of the Greek islands that raised the flag of revolution the morning of 3 April 1821. Its fleet of merchant ships played a key role in the struggle, by participating in raids against the Turkish coast and the exclusion of fortresses in the Peloponnese. On 8 September 1822, the joint fleets from Hydra, Psara and Spetses defeated the Ottoman Navy near Spetses. Particularly important after that was the involvement of the Spetsiote fleet in sieges of the fortresses of Nafplion and Monemvasia and naval battles of Samos (1824) and Kafireas (1825).
Olivier Touzeau, 12 January 2005
The municipality of Spetses uses the historical flag of the island, with a blue background instead of white.
Olivier Touzeau, 12 January 2005
Flag of Spetses - Image modified from [k7k97] by Eugene Ipavec, 24 November 2009
According to the book Hellenic flags [k7k97], the flag used in Spetses during the Greek War of Independence is white with a red and white border, a red cross over a big crescent. On the cross' left is a red anchor upside down, "fouled" with a green snake whose tongue is biten by a yellow owl; in the cross' right is a red spear. The whole is flanked by the motto ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Η ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ (Freedom or Death) in red letters.
As explained in the Naval Museum of Hania (Crete), the cross stands for Christendom (Greece), the crescent for Islam (Turkey), the snake for wisdom, knowledge and reason, the anchor for stability, the spear for power and the bird for the help from God.
The combination of these elements probably represents the resurrection of the Greek nation: the cross overpowers the crescent moon. To bring about a successful fight however power (the spear) was required, as well as stability and perseverance (anchor), knowledge and wisdom (snake), and God's help through faith and religion (bird).
Bruce Tindall & Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999
Bouboulina's standard - Image modified from [k7k97] by Eugene Ipavec, 24 November 2009
Quoting the Nostos website:
Bouboulina (1771-1825) came from a rich family from the island of Spetses. This archontissa (lady) of Spetses used her wealth to build a navy and became one of the most famous leading figures in the Greek War of Independence. After the success of the revolution in Peloponnese and Central Greece, the uprising spread in the islands. Spetses was the first of the islands to join the revolution and this was mainly due to Bouboulina's leadership and courage. The example of Spetses was followed by many other islands and therefore the freeing of the Island of Spetses was one of the initial major steps towards victory for the Greeks. Thereafter Boumboulina, with her fleet took part in many naval battles and dominated the Aegean creating problems to the, by far superior, Turkish fleet.
According to the book Hellenic flags [k7k97], Bouboulina used in 1821 a square blue flag with a red border, charged with a golden eagle holding in its claws a white anchor (left) and a phoenix (right). The eagle is surmounted by the white writing "ΜΠΟΥΜΠΟΥΛΙΝΑ ΛΑΣΚΑΡΙΝΑ" ("Bouboulina Laskarina") and surmounts the white writing "13 ΜΑΡΤΙΟΥ 1821" ("13 March 1821").
Nozomi Karyasu & Ivan Sache, 29 November 2009