In either 720 or 708 BC, Thasos received a Greek colony from Paros. It was in a war which the Parian colonists waged with the Saians, a Thracian tribe, that the poet Archilochus threw away his shield. The Greeks extended their power to the mainland, where they owned gold mines which were even more valuable than those on the island. From these sources the Thasians drew great wealth, their annual revenues amounting to 200 or even 300 talents. Herodotus, who visited Thasos, says that the best mines on the island were those which had been opened by the Phoenicians on the east side of the island facing Samothrace.
Thasos was important during the Ionian Revolt against Persia. After the capture of Miletus (494 BC) Histiaeus, the Ionian leader, laid siege. The attack failed, but, warned by the danger, the Thasians employed their revenues to build war ships and strengthen their fortifications. This excited the suspicions of the Persians, and Darius compelled them to surrender their ships and pull down their walls. After the defeat of Xerxes the Thasians joined the Delian confederacy; but afterwards, on account of a difference about the mines and marts on the mainland, they revolted.
The Athenians defeated them by sea, and, after a siege that lasted more than two years, took the capital, Thasos, probably in 463 BC, and compelled the Thasians to destroy their walls, surrender their ships, pay an indemnity and an annual contribution (in 449 BC this was 21 talents, from 445 BC about 30 talents), and resign their possessions on the mainland. In 411 BC, at the time of the oligarchical revolution at Athens, Thasos again revolted from Athens and received a Lacedaemonian governor; but in 407 BC the partisans of Lacedaemon were expelled, and the Athenians under Thrasybulus were admitted.
After the Battle of Aegospotami (405 BC), Thasos again fell into the hands of the Lacedaemonians under Lysander who formed a decarchy there; but the Athenians must have recovered it, for it formed one of the subjects of dispute between them and Philip II of Macedonia. In the embroilment between Philip III of Macedonia and the Romans, Thasos submitted to Philip, but received its freedom at the hands of the Romans after the battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BC), and it was still a "free" state in the time of Pliny.
Thasos was part of the Eastern Roman Empire, later known as Byzantine Empire. It was captured by the Turks in 1462. Under the Turks the island was known as Ottoman Turkish: طاشوز Taşöz. A brief revolt against Ottoman rule in 1821, led by Hajiyorgis Metaxas, failed. The island was given by the Sultan Mahmud II to Muhammad Ali of Egypt of as a personal fiefdom in the late 1820s, as a reward for Egyptian intervention in the War of Greek Independence (which failed to prevent the creation of the modern Greek state). Egyptian rule was relatively benign (by some accounts Muhammad Ali had either been born or spent his infancy on Thasos) and the island became prosperous, until 1908, when the New Turk regime asserted Turkish control. On October 20, 1912 during the First Balkan War, a Greek naval detachment claimed Thasos as part of Greece, which it has remained since.
During Axis occupation (1941-1944) Thasos, along with the rest of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, was under Bulgarian control and suffered from hunger and forced recruitment of young men as slave laborers. The Bulgarians planned to annex the territory under their control and closed down schools as a first step towards forced Bulgarization. Under Bulgarian rule the island was called Тасос. Mountainous terrain facilitated small-scale resistance activity. The Greek Civil War affected the island in the form of skirmishes and Communist guerilla attacks until 1950, almost a year after the main hostilities were over on the mainland.
Today, Thasos is a part of the Kavala prefecture and is the southernmost and the easternmost points in the prefecture. Under local government reform in the late 1990s, the entire island became a single municipality. Thasos is served ferry routes to and from Kavala and Keramoti. The latter is a port at the eastern portion of the prefecture, close to Kavala's airport, and has the shortest possible crossing to the island.
Thasos island is located in the northern Aegean sea approximately 7 km from the mainland and 20 km south-east of Kavala. The Island is formed mainly by gneisses, schists and marbles of the Rhodope Massif. Marble sequences, corresponding to the Falacron Marbles intercalated by schists and gneisses, are up to 500m thick and are separated from the underlying gneisses by a transition zone about 300 m thick termed the T-zone consisting of alternances of dolomitic and calcitic marbles intercalated by schists and gneisses.
The rocks have undergone several periods of regional metamorphism, to at least upper amphibolite facies, and there was a subsequent phase of retrograde metamorphism. At least three periods of regional deformation have been identified, the most important being large scale isoclinal folding with axes aligned north-west. The T-zone is deformed and is interpreted by some authors as a regional thrust of pre-major folding age. There are two major high angle fault systems aligned north-west and north-east respectively. A large low-angle thrust cuts the gneiss, schist and marble sequence at the south-west corner of the island, probably indicating an overthrusting of the Serbomacedonian Massif onto the Rodope Massif.
The Late Miocene oil-producing Nestos-Prinos basin is located between Thassos island and the mainland. The floor of the basin is around 1,500 m deep off the Thassos coast(South Kavala ridge; Proedrou, 1988) and up to 4.000-5.000 m in the axial sector between Thassos and the mainland. The basin is filled with Late Miocene-Pliocene sediments, including ubiquitously repeated evaporite layers of rock salt and anhydrite-dolomite which alternate with sandstones, conglomerates, black shales, and uraniferous coal measures (Proedrou, 1979, 1988; Taupitz, 1985). Stratigraphically equivalent rocks on the mainland are clastic sediments with coal beds, marine to brackish fluvial units and travertines.
More recently, mining companies such as Speidel (1905-1912) and Vielle Montagne (1925-1930) exploited the Zn-Pb (calamine) ores which had reported grades over 12% Zn+Pb. In 1905 a metallurgical plant was erected at Limenaria for the calcination of the calamines in vertical and Oxland furnaces to produce ZnO. Later (1926) the calcination plant was rebuilt by Vieille Montagne with Waelz system rotary furnaces. Iron ore mining became important during the years 1954-1964. Several mining companies (Krupp and Apostolopoulos A.E., Chondrodimos S.A.)exploited the iron ore deposits of the island. It is estimated that total mineral production during the period 1905-1964 was about 2 million tonnes of calamine (12% Zn+Pb) and 3 million tonnes of iron ore (44% Fe). After 1964 there is no mining activity on the island.
A new exploration effort was initiated in 1976 by IGME aimed at locating hidden primary base metal mineralization. Core drilling resulted in the discovery at the Marlou prospect, in 1979, of a stratabound primary Zn-Pb deposit at a depth of 200 m. The marble quarrying had a parallel history with the mining activity until the Byzantine period. In the present era, starting about forty years ago, marble quarrying is the only activity concerning the mineral wealth of Thasos.
The highest elevation of Thasos is the Ypsario, at 1,204 m. The main agricultural production on the island are honey and olive oil as well as wine, sheep, goat herding and fishing. Other industries includes lumber and tourism. Mining industry including lead, zinc and marble especially in the Panagia area where one of the mountains near the Thracian Sea has a large marble quarry. A marble quarry in the south has been mined during the ancient times. By far the most important economic activity is tourism. Thasos has a few schools, a lyceum, a gymnasia, a church and a square (plateia).
Towns and villages with over 100 inhabitants are:
Travel: Even the Beaches Are Made of Marble ; the Raw Materials of Modern Civilization Are Scattered across Thasos, as Claudia Pritchard Saw
Apr 13, 2003; Cut like fondant icing and smoothed by the waves, marble slabs have lain for centuries on the water's edge at Cape Vathy on the...