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History of Limnos

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Limnos is a destination for tranquil holidays, true relaxation and contact with nature. Calm bays, stretched beaches and landscapes with volcanic rocks, interchanging with low hills and traditional settlements with stone houses. The land is fertile and Limnians produce wine, honey and cheese, famous from antiquity for their quality. The island extends over a surface of 477 km2, its coastline is 260 km long and it has 18,000 inhabitants.
The history of Limnos is lost in the ages. According to Mythology, the island hosted Hephaestus’ workshop, who taught its first inhabitants, the Sintians, the art of copper forging. It flourished during the prehistoric era, while in 512 B.C. was occupied by the Persians, to be liberated again after the end of the Persian Wars. Since then, it was successively subdued by the Romans, Venetians and Turks, till its final liberation during the First Balkan War, in 1912. Limnos is connected by ferry with Lavrion, Piraeus and Kavala ports and by air with Athens airport.
Internet web page of Limnos Community – Aghios Evstratios : www.lemnos.gr

History of Lemnos
Homer speaks as if there were one town in the island called Lemnos, but in historical times there was no such place. There were two towns, Myrina (also called Kastro), and Hephaestia which was the chief town. Coins from Hephaestia are found in considerable number, and various types including the goddess Athena with her owl, native religious symbols, the caps of the Dioscuri, Apollo, etc. Few coins of Myrina are known. They belong to the period of Attic occupation, and bear Athenian types. A few coins are also known which bear the name of the whole island, rather than of either city.
A trace of the pre-Greek Lemnian language is found on a 6th century inscription on a funerary stele, the Lemnos stele.
Coming down to a better authenticated period, we find that Lemnos was conquered by Otanes, a general of Darius Hystaspis. But soon (510 BC) it was reconquered by Miltiades the Younger, the tyrant of the Thracian Chersonese. Miltiades later returned to Athens, and Lemnos was an Athenian possession until the Macedonian empire absorbed it.
In 197 BC, the Romans declared it free, but in 166 BC gave it over to Athens which retained nominal possession of it until the whole of Greece was made a province of the Roman Empire in 146 BC. After the division of the empire, Lemnos passed to the Byzantine Empire.
Like other eastern provinces, its possession changed between Greeks, Italians and Turks. In 1476 the Venetians and Greek Byzantines successfully defended Kotschinos against a Turkish siege. But in 1657 Kastro was captured by the Turks after a siege of 36 days. In 1770, Kastro was besieged by Count Orlov. During the Russo-Turkish War, 1806-1812, Admiral Senyavin won the naval Battle of Lemnos off the coast. In 1912, Lemnos became part of Greece during the First Balkan War.

Modern Lemnos
Today the island of Lemnos or Limnos has about 30 villages and settlements. The province includes the island of Agios Efstratios to the southwest which has some exceptional beaches and the only desert in Europe.
Lemnos is a military base of Greece as it stands on a strategically important part of the Aegean Sea. During the First Balkan War, the Naval Battle of Lemnos took place here on January 18, 1913, in which the Ottoman navy sought to thwart Greece's capture of Aegean islands. The Greek fleet under Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis was in the port at Moudros when they received signals that the Turkish fleet was approaching. The Greek fleet decisively defeated the Turkish fleet, which retreated to the Dardanelles and did not go out again throughout the war. The Greek battleship Limnos was named after this battle.
During World War I, the Allies in early 1915 used the island to try to capture the Dardanelles Straits, some 50km away. This was done chiefly by the British and largely through the enthusiasm of Winston Churchill. The harbour at Mudros was put under the control of British Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss, who was ordered to prepare the then largely unused harbour for operations against the Dardanelles.
The harbour was broad enough for British and French warships, but lacked suitable military facilities, which was recognized early on. Troops intended for Gallipoli had to train in Egypt; and the port found it difficult to cope with casualties of the ill-starred Gallipoli campaign. The campaign was called off in evident failure at the close of 1915. Mudros' importance receded, although it remained the Allied base for the blockade of the Dardanelles during the war.
In late October 1918, the armistice between Turkey and the Allies was signed at Mudros.
After the Red Army victory in the Russian Civil War, many Kuban Cossacks, fled the country to avoid persecution from the Bolsheviks. A notable eviction point was the Greek island of Lemnos where 18 thousand Kuban Cossacks have landed, though many would die of starvation and disease. Most left the island after a year.

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