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In the 18th century there was important economic growth in Santorini –not only because of the agriculture but also to shipping. Many vessels crossed the Aegean carrying goods –it is characteristic that even the monastery of Prophet Elias owned a boat!
Financial growth was remarkable in the 19th century, particularly after the decades that followed national independence until the beginning of the 20th. Shipping had developed too as it carried 7.000 tons of Santorini wine. The owners of the large Theran sail boats were usually their captains and merchants. They sold the wine in Russia and bought wheat which they sold in Trieste or Marseilles, in order to purchase various goods and resell them in the ports of Mediterranean and Greece.
In 1842 Santorini had a fleet of about 150 sail boats of every kind (brigs, schooners etc.) with 1,500 expert member crews. The wealth and prosperity was apparent on the island, since big houses and churches were built at that period.
Most of the sail boats belonged to shipowners from Oia, that pioneered in this sector. Ammoudi and Armeni were in the center of the shipping activity.
Theran shipowners didn't manage to switch to steam boats which only happened after World War I. Both world wars struck severe blows to Theran merchant navy. Naval traditions still lived on during the 20th century but it was far from the magnitude of the power it used to be in the two previous centuries.
Information on the shipping history of Thera you will find in the Maritime Museum of Oia.



After the first World War the importance of the Theran merchant navy rose to the international level. Among the patriarchs of the most distinguished families associated with shipping was Petros M. Nomikos, and his successors Markos and Evangelos Nomikos, Loukas Nomikos from Oia, and his successors Nikolaos and Dimitrios Nomikos and after World War II Aristides Alafouzos also from Oia.

Sources: Nikolaos Psichas/lawyer, "Theran Shipping", from the book "Santorini", by Michael Danezis/1971. Editor in chief Emm. A. Lignos.
"Santorini: Society and Shelter, 15th-20th century", by Dr Dora Monioudi-Gavala/A publication of Lukas and Evangelos Bellonias Foundation.


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