Crete has an extent of 8.331 square kilometres and after Sicily,
Sardinia, Cyprus and the Corsica, it is in first five largest
islands of the Mediterranean.
the period of the Classic Years (500-69 b.C) the Cretes try
to heal their wounds from the European invasion and the island
did not present the blossoming that the rest of Greece did.
The same season the Roman conquer Crete in one day, creating
the first Roman province with its center in Gortyna. After
this, the Arabs build the Handaka in Heraklion. Later, the
Venetians that bought the land of Crete for a very low price.
Finally the Turks where they showed particular interest in
the Handaka that they beseiged for 21 entire years. Crete
was finally released free after the German occupation in 1945
and thereafter, it remains a jewl for our country.
The contribution of Crete in Greece
On the 1st of December 1913, it became an official nomination
of the union of Crete with Greece and the Greek flag raised
on the fortress of Firka in the city of Chania, in the presence
of King Konstantinos and Eleftherios Venizelos. However, still
before Crete is united with Greece, it contributed substantially
in its history. There were many Cretans who fought in Macedonia
during 1902-1908. The Cretans that voluntarily fought are
calculated to be around 3.000. However, perhaps the most important
help of Crete in Greece was with Eleftherios Venizelos. During
the dictatorship of Metaksa, in November of 1936 he visited
Crete with King George. At Chania the mayor of the city, mr
Mountakis, asked from the King to send away the dictator while
at the same time armed Cretans in the Varypetro area, were
ready to arrest the visitors and take them to Therisso. However
this did not happen, since the King's words disorientated
the rebels. In 1938 however in Chania burst out a movement
against Metaksas that had an inglorious end, since there was
not any support from the other parts of Greece. In the failure
also contributed the absence of Eleftherios Venizelos who
had died 2 years before.
The War of 1940
The contribution of Crete during the 1940 war was important.
The 5th division fought courageously and there were many legends
around it. The geographic place of the island has been for
years a great desire for conquerors, so now the Germans wanted
Crete as a base of supplies for the battle in Africa. The
project "Mercury" was layed out, and even if the
English knew, they did nothing about the fortification of
This project was based on a scheduled attack from the air
on the island. The first goal was the airport of Chania in
Maleme where they would be landed the airplanes. On the 20th
of May 1941 the attack in Chania, Rethimno and Heraklion began,
with planes and parachutists. The force of conquerors was
7th division me 16.000 parachutists, the 5th division of infantry,
and 1100 airplanes.
The Cretans were unarmed, as the Dictator Metaksas had denied
the equipment of Cretans from the English. As only help their
agricultural tools, domestic utensiles and a few arms that
were hidden, but mainly their brave soul and the will for
freedom, they resisted for 10 days.
Hitler had not taken into consideration the Cretans, so ,
because of the battle in Crete, the attacks in Malta, Cyprus
and the Middle East were cancelled. The attack in Russia was
also delayed for 10 days. Reprisal from the Germans was horrible.
They killed children, women and old people, and they burned
a lot of villages, one of them was Kandanos that was destroyed
completely. However the Cretans did not cease they fight in
Greece and abroad, while with the help of the English kommandos
they sampotaged and delayed the conquerors, who were not able
to deal with other battles and conquests. The kidnapping of
the German general Kraipe from Spilia near Heraklion on 13
August 1944 from Cretans and English kommandos was also important.
Crete continues to keep an important role not only for Greece
but also for entire Europe, as it possesses a very important
geographic place which for centuries was the desire of its