The Amazing Story of the Greek Community of San Andres in Peru

By Stratos Doukakis
– In 1880, during the war between Peru and Chile, the following events occurred in San Andres, a small village on the Pacific coast of Peru.

In a bloody incursion of the Chileans in the San Andres of Peru, the Chileans began the indiscriminate murder of the entire population of the town. Among the Peruvians were seven Greek merchant mariners. During their travels to the west coast of the Americas they had come to like Peru and decided to stay behind in San Andres leaving their ship. Some of them married local Peruvian women and started new families.

When the murderous incursion of the Chileans occurred, all the Greeks gathered in one house, presumably with their in-laws and friends, locked the doors, and in anguish waited out the invasion, not knowing what was in store for them. The Chilean soldiers completely wiped out the residents of San Andres, but did not go near the house with the Greek flag on it!

The descendants of those seven Greek sailors, now of the 6th, 7th and some of the 8th generation, numbering approximately 650, constitute the Greek Community (Colonia Griega) of San Andres Peru. There are approximately 1000 Greeks in Lima Peru. Most of them have never been to Greece. Every year they celebrate/commemorate the day when the lives of their ancestors were spared, but also they celebrate several other Greek days – March 25th, October 28th, Easter, etc.

Names like Komninos, Gikas, Papafavas, Falkonis, and Constantinou are the most common in San Andres. Some of them don’t look Greek in appearance. The grandmother in the wheelchair in the video referenced below certainly does not have Greek looks. But when they hand her the Greek flag to hold prior to hoisting it on the flag pole, she clutches it with such emotion shouting ”mi sangre, mi sangre” (my blood!, my blood!). Watch the video:



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