After 1825, the Spetses merchant fleet continued to prosper for another twenty years, but then it fell into decline, taking with it the population of the island. The outlook for the island began to improve again with the return of Sotirios Anargyros from the U.S. in the early 20th century. Realising that the future for Spetses lie in tourism, he put his new-found wealth to the best possible use, constructing the road around the island, building the first hotel in the Greek islands (the Possidonion), and replacing the pine-forests of the island which had been depleted to facilitate the boat-building industry. Later he built the College which bears his name, and which for 60 years educated nobility from all over Greece.
During the German Occupation of Greece in the course of the Second World War, the Spetsiots suffered less than inhabitants of other places in Greece. Most people had a chicken or two, grew their own vegetables or fished, and so did not go hungry. There is, however, one notable incident which left its scar on the people of the island. A handful of Greek freedom-fighters were washed up on Spetses and hidden by the islanders in Bekiri's Cave at Anargyri. The German occupiers' informants leaked the news, and the people of Spetses were commanded to gather on the Dapia. There, the men of all ages were separated from the crowd and restrained. Aghast, the remaining islanders were told that unless they handed over the "andartes", the men's lives would be forfeit. The andartes were protected and helped off the island and the valiant men of Spetses gave their lives for the greater good.
The civil war which followed the release of Greece from the German occupation thankfully passed Spetses by to a great degree.
The island continued to produce various persons of note and standing, including Alexandros Diomidis, prime minister of Greece from 1950-1951. The 19th and 20th centuries also saw many noteworthy contributions from Spetses to the world of the arts, including poets Stratigis, Pergialitis, Logothetis, Botassi, and painters Eleni Altamoura, Ioannis Altamoura, I. Koutsis and D. Litsas.
This category was compiled with much help from:
'The Islands of the Argosaronic Gulf' by Betty Kagia, published by Grecocard Publications 1995.
'Undiscovered Spetses' published by 'Road Publications' June 2004
ISBN 960-8189-45-4 'Ανεξερεύνητες Σπέτσες' by Petros Haritatos
Greek Easter Sunday 16 April
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