Journey in history

The archaeological data certify human settlement on the island of Mykonos which dates to the late Neolithic period (5th millennium BC) at Ftelia. Also, a vaulted Mycenaean tomb at Aghelika of the 14th to 13th century BC is one of the few that have been discovered in the Cyclades. The ancient town of Mykonos was founded by the Ionians in the 11th century BC and it coincides with the location of the modern Chora. The findings seem to agree with the ancient traditions which considered the residents of Mykonos Ionians who arrived there with their leader Hippocles, son of Neleus and father of Phobios or Phorbios. The latter seems to have given his name to the ancient cape Forvia, which now coincides with Tourlos.

Skylax wrote that Mykonos during the archaic period was “dipolis”, it had two autonomous cities. Their positions are probably located in the region of Palaeokastro and Chora. Ptolemy says that later they became one. After the defeat of the Persians in the battle of Marathon in 490 BC, the Persian general of the Media, Datis (Aeschylus in the “Persians” mentions that the islands were subjugated to them) anchored in Mykonos. In classical times it was part of the Delian League and paid a small amount of tax due to its poor economic situation. It is characteristic that at that time ancient authors made fun of the residents of Mykonos for their poverty and their poor means of living. “Mykonios” in fact was a word used to describe those who go to banquets uninvited!

After the battle of Aegospotami (404 BC) until the naval battle of Cnidos (394 BC), when Spartan dominance in the Aegean after the Peloponnesian war collapsed, Mykonos had become an ally of Sparta. Then again it was close to the Athenians, but the conflict between Sparta and Athens led it to a poor economic situation, forcing it to borrow from the Fund of the Sanctuary of Delos. After the middle of the 3rd century, when Delos began to flourish, Mykonos benefited from it. Many residents supplied the sanctuary of Delos with building materials and products, while a large part of the island (the peninsula of Diakoftis and the estates Dorion and Thaleion) belonged to the temple of Delos. The damage that Delos experienced at that time and subsequent decline dragged Mykonos as well.

In the Ptolemaic period it cut its own currency again and ithad economic growth. During the time of the Roman Empire, it seemed to enjoy some favours and the residents erected a statue of the emperor Hadrian to show their gratitude. In 1207 it came to the hands of the Venetians Andrea and Jeremiah Gizi who were nephews of the Doge Enrico Dandolo, but were still paying tribute to the Duke of Naxos, Marco Sanudo. When George III Gizi died childless in 1390, Mykonos came to the direct jurisdiction of Venice. In 1537 the island met the violent conquest of the Ottoman admiral – pirate Barbarossa. Many of the inhabitants were sold into slavery in the East and some fled to Tinos. In the late 13th century the island was destroyed by the Catalonian Roger De Iliouria. In 1699 Mykonos paid 4000 piastres, the collection of which was trusted to the Great Interpreter Panagiotis Nikousio Mammon. At that time Mykonos developed as a naval centre and people were occupied with shipping. In the port there were many pirates who hid their loot there, bearing their families with them.

The thriving maritime community of the island at the time of the Revolution of 1821 disposed of 22 ships with 130 cannons in the rebellions naval squadron under the leadership of Admiral Tompazis. In 1822, when Kapudan Pasha tried to disembark in Mykonos, he faced the courageous resistance of the people under the leadership of Manto Mavrogenous. The latter, a heroic figure of the Struggle, supported and equipped ships with her personal expenditures and financially contributed to the war against Ibrahim in the Peloponnese. The navy of Mykonos from the late 19th century began to decline due to the migration of residents and the major changes that have occurred with the prevalence of steam powered ships.