A N D R O S

&

the origin of the

MANSOLA  

family name

 

The 'Castle' (Kastro) , part of the Venetian fortress built to overlook the shipping into the older 'Paraporti' harbor , has become the symbol of Andros

 

 

Andros island is situated in the narrowest point of the Aegean Sea , at the center of the Hellenic world trading routes. It played an important strategic role as a naval base in the area 

 

 

Family Name History

Our family name originated from Italy most probably out of the words MANO (al) SOLE (MANO = the hand , SOLE = the sun ;  hands in the sun )  meaning 'the workers' . At present the majority of people with a similar name in the world are named MAZOLA mostly of Italian origin found usually in the archives of Sicily since 1700 AD . An olive oil trade mark Mazola is very common at the European super markets of today. The family name was attributed for the first time in Italy following the profession. The cradle of the family seems to be, however , the region of the Jura mountains where an identical name of a village is existing now similar to the one that became the final settlement of the Greek Mansola family in Andros Greece . This village , in France , in the canton of Saint Claude , department of the Franche Compté , very near to the franco-swisse border, is called LAMOURA . The 'OU' pronounced closer to the French 'U' became finally 'Y' in Greek and having lost its initial pronunciation in modern Greek it is heard as a simple 'I' ( or 'EE' in English ) , although still written with a 'Y'. LAMOURA and LAMYRA are similar words which belong probably to a Celtic dialect and mean , the 'mountain water source'  for which both villages were famous in the past. At present the French village is advertised as a ski resort center , as probably most of the Jura area, while the mineral water source of SARYZA , a bit north of LAMYRA in Greece, has decreased the reputation of the once renown water sources in Lamyra , with their 'thundering echo' while coming out of the mountains

 

The Mansola family were people who followed the Venetian navy as workers to create fortifications and settlements . The Venetians occupied most of the Ionian and Aegean Islands . Marino Dandolo was the governor who took officially the island under his command . When Venice lost influence and Turkey invaded the islands there were some constant skirmishes with the Christian population mostly hidden on the mountains . Around 1770 there was a revolt against Turkey on the mainland and the islands were supported initially by the Russians . It ended up with a treaty imposed by the Russians to the Turks which let , however , the Greeks out of any protection to face alone the Turkish vengeance . One member of the Mansola family was known to have been hanged . The rest fled towards the mainland to the west and inhabited the sea side of the Arcadian territory of the Peloponnese , known as Astros

Many stayed there , others went to the closest large city of Tripolis , the capital city of Peloponnese and an important source of our name at present . During the Greek revolution against the Turks it is known that a school teacher named DROSOS MANSOLAS played an important role participating on the Declaration of Independence on 1/1/1822 in Epidavros , as one of the first parliament members . His name is commemorated in this  list of the 'fathers of the nation' . He was later to become a Minister of a number of national governments. The same person appeared in the triad of the 3rd of September movement for Constitution against king Otto , the first king of the liberated Greece

After around 1830 some Mansola family members returned  back to the liberated ANDROS and they were installed around  the Messaria valley and up to the nearest cliffs which have enough water to support farming .  The village in that area is known as LAMYRA . Our family originated from this branch

 

ANDROS History

Andros was inhabited ever since 3000 BC . Around 1500 BC the Pelasgeans a race of islanders , the first layer of the present greek nation were active on the island . This race is related strongly to the Phoenicians who have inhabited the Eastern Mediterranean , Cyprus , Crete and Rhodos islands and who kept under their influence all the islands in the Aegean Sea . The leader of the first inhabitants was called Arados   whose name was eventually developed to Andros . In 1200 BC the Cretans took over the ruling of the Aegean Sea under a leader known as Andros , named  probably after the island itself . Another explanation is that the brother of King Minos of Creta , Radamanthes gave the island as a gift to the ruler Andreas sun of Evrimachos 

(Note : In modern greek Andras is The Man , it might be that Andros was a term qualifying a brave man or a leader) .

In later times it was given the name Hydrousa ( Hydor = Water in greek ) due to the many springs the island possesses which contributed to the proliferation of vegetation . Its underground is linked with the large Euvoia northern island and the snow melting on its mountains travels below the sea bottom and exits on Andros mountains . This is why Andros is different from the usually dry Aegean islands . The name Gavros was also attributed once to the island or to a small inhabited area on it , the closest harbor to the greek mainland that bears the name Gavrion to our days 

The Ionian race , greeks mainly living on the coast of Asia Minor , invaded the island around 1000 BC . Foundlings of the Geometric times were located in Zagora . A gate similar to the one with the Lions found in Micynae was discovered there . The Ionians made this island a strong naval base and as population thrived they expanded into colonies at Chalkidiki . People from Andros colonised Stagira the mother town of Aristotle .The town were most of the Hellenistic period ruins were found was Palaiopolis and flourished between 700-200 BC . A proof that the position of the island was an important cross-road of the sea routes of the Aegean Sea

The ancient God of Dionysos was selected as the protector of the island combining the life in green , the trees and the wine . The first written sign discovered in Palaiopolis is dated back to 700 BC 

 Around 500 BC the island was invaded by Persians who dominated the area of Asia Minor but were later chased away by the Athenian Democracy and Themistocles . Andros became a member of the Athenian Naval Alliance holding  a key position in the middle of the Aegean Sea  . Due to its local wealth , however , was heavy taxed and moved over to the Spartan side initially but later returned back to the Athenian influence when the Democracy recovered  . 

Statue of Artemis in the archeological museum of Andros

In 200 BC the Romans met resistance from the Andriotes . They ruined the island , exiled the inhabitants and offered the depleted Andros to Attalos . He later allowed some people to return back 

In Middle Ages the Neoplatonic philosopher Proklos was teaching there and Michael Psellos founded an Academy during the Byzantine period . In that period Andros becomes known as a producer of silk thread that provided most of the big cities of the Byzantine Empire and Europe and a center of trade and customs responsible for the Cyclades . Attacked by the Saracens pirates in 826 AD was then saved by the Byzantine fleet who put a strong protection on the island 

During the 1st Crusade in 1204 AD the Venetians under Marino Dandolo occupied most of the Aegean islands and Andros came under the governing of Marco Sanudo  who built the existing castle (Kastro) and other naval fortifications . From 1384 the governor was Pedro Zeno but was not able to save the island from new pirate attacks as he became interested more in Naxos . The last venetian ruler Giovanni Francesco Somarita was overthrown by Andriotes .  The Turks later took over and Andros was invaded by the Turk-Algerian pirate Hureydin Barbarossa in 1566 about , 100 years after the fall of the Byzantine Empire 

On the Turk-Russian wars between 1768-1774 Andros joins the anti-Turkish movement only to face later a period of turkish vengeance and turmoil . It developed later however to a naval shipping center because the peace treaty at the end of this conflict were Turks lost allowed ships to sail freely under a russian flag . Many greeks hoisted this flag and expanded their shipping range . Andros flourished as a ship owing island reported officially to have in 1813 : 40 sailboats, of total capacity 2800 tons, 400 sailors, 800 cannons and it was considered 5th between the 26 ports of the country.

The shipping allowed the minds to develop and soon Andriotes joined the forces of greek uprising against the Turks . Some 30 members of the first secret organisation for the revolution known as Filiki Etaireia ( in greek , the Association of Friends ) were from Andros . 

On May the 10th 1821 the priest and philosopher Theofilos Kairis is the leader of the local insurgents against the Turks who finally attached Andros to the new greek state  . The island contributed with ships , men and money from the monasteries . Kairis was the most significant spiritual child of Andros . He was later chased for his social views but is today considered as one of the most important greek philosophers of the meta-revolutionary times . His statue and square with the same name are found in the center of Chora , the capital city .

The old harbour of 'Paraporti' during the greek revolution

Due to its location most of men were involved with the sea and the merchant navy,  a tradition that put the basis of the modern greek ship owning power – followed equally well by the near eastern island of Chios . In 1927 Andros was the second harbour in Greece in number of ship  registrations .The name of the island is used in many large ships sailing all over the world owned by ship owners coming from Andros who have contributed as well to the restoration of its historical treasures 

 

The Venetian castle has been adopted as the symbol of the island

 

 

The arc-bridge linking the mainland with the Venetian castle is small but stands there for a long time against the angry waves 

The castle at sunrise

In front of Kastro a statue representing the seaman returning home symbolises a whole period of life and tradition to Andros where practically 90% of people made their living sailing on  the seven seas 

BATSI . One of the most important transport harbour in Andros of today

The church of Agia Thalassini , the 'Madona of the Sea' on the old Paraporti  dock of 'Plakoura' protecting the seamen 

 

 

The Andros City Chora as seen from the northern hills

A beloved 'theme' for painting of 

our father Nikolaos Mansolas

 

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