The number ‘100’ is important to Ikarians, not only for those who put 100 candles on their birthday cakes, but also for the island’s independence.
The year 2012 marked the 100th year anniversary of Ikaria’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. In July of 1912, the Free State of Ikaria (Ελευθέρα Πολιτεία Ικαρίας) was declared. Five months afterward, Ikaria was annexed into Greece.
However, a heated question still hovers around the year 2012. Did Ikaria in 1912 sign a 100-year agreement to be part of Greece that was up for renewal? In other words, did Ikaria have the legal right, in 2012, to succeed from Greece and become its own independent state again?
When you are on Ikaria, ask locals about the 2012 question. Their opinions may not line up with ‘official’ statements that peg Ikaria’s current ('permanent') legal status to Greece to the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), rather than to a 100-year contract.
Ikarians are proud of their 100-year independence and also their 5-month free state in 1912. You will we signs like this one around the island. Free State Ikaria flags and souvenirs are also sold in many shops.