George Finlay (1799-1875) the famous Scottish historian was the grandson of the founder of the trading company ‘James Finlay & Co ‘.
In 1823, he sailed to Greece to fight in its War of Independence from the Ottomans, serving initially on board the ‘Karteria’ (‘Perseverance’) the first steam warship used in war with Captain Frank Hastings. In his involvement with the Greek struggle he worked closely with, and became a friend of, Lord Byron in the last months of the poet’s life.
In early 1825 Finlay first set up house on Aegina, the first capital of the Greek estate, buying a landed farm estate which he named ‘The Red Castle’ (KOKKINO KASTRO), establishing his permanent roots in Greece, developing a field of barley for his horse and stocking his garden with pear and olive trees.
For the remainder of the conflict, Finlay, dedicated himself to easing the plight of the refugees on Aegina.
Finlay never wavered in his desire to serve the Greek people by pressing for financial stability and a government adapted to their needs and historical background.
Finlay wrote many books about the history of the Greek people from the Roman times up to his time among which the most known is the history of the Greek revolution of independence from the Turkish yoke in 1821, also he was the official Athens correspondent of the Times newspaper from 1864 to 1874.
The Red Castle was subsequently purchased by Alexandros Mavrocordatos the most eminent political personality in the War of Independence.
Alexandros Mavrocordatos participated in almost all the constitutional assemblies that took place during the War of Independence (1821-1827) and contributed to the syntax of the first constitution of the new GreekState, later on as Prime Minister in the reigning of King Otto he worked very hard to promote democracy against the monarchy regime of the time.
Alexandros Mavrocordatos spent the last 5 years of his life in the Red Castle in Aegina where he died in 1865.
After his death the Red Castle passed to other famous families of Greece (families of Soutsou and Baltatsi) and finally it was bought by Melas family in 1911, the family of the heroic Pavlos Melas who fought a gorilla war against Boulgarian troops to keep Macedonia a Greek area in the first years of 20th century.
Melas family revived Red Castle estate by planting most of the pistachio trees of today and decorated the area around the main house.
The today’s owners purchased KOKKINO KASTRO (Red Castle) from a younger member of Melas family twenty five years ago and continued its upgrading by planting more pistachios trees, decorating all the buildings and making a huge swimming pool, a tennis court and a relaxing place under the old pine trees thus transforming the whole property into a superb holidays resort.