Louis Tikas

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Louis Tikas was a Greek-American labour organiser.

Tikas was born Spantidakis ca. 1884 in the village of Lutra on the island of Crete and migrated to the United States in 1906. Like many Cretans, Tikas took a job in the coal mines of the western US, in his case the town of Ludlow, Colorado. As the conditions in the mines worsened, Tikas organised his fellow miners and their families - some 1,200 persons - into a union that went on strike demanding better working conditions. American industrialist, John David Rockefeller, who owned the mines, called in the Colorado National Guard supplying them with the latest Gatling machine guns and paying their expenses. The National Guardsmen, on Monday, April 20, 1914 which was the day after Greek Easter, attacked the camps of the strikers. When Tikas met with Lt. Carl Linderfelt to arrange a truce, the latter hit him over the head with the butt of his rifle and had him shot dead by his troops.

The troops then proceeded to burn down the miners' tent city killing 25 persons in the process. When the strikers were finally able to re-enter the burnt-out camp, they found the unburied corpse of Tikas.

Tikas was laid to rest on April 27, 1914, in a funeral attended by hundreds of his fellow miners.