The growth and strength of Naxos during the ancient times is reflected in the monuments of art. The large male and female statues, such as Artemis, the offering of Nikandri atDelos (650 BC) and the kouri found in Thera (last quarter of the 7th century BC). Another fine example of island Ionic order is the “Oikos of the Naxians” at Delos.
In the mid-7th Century BC Naxos had organized an oligarchic society with many rich and powerful nobles. The naval strength of the island emerged in 734 BC, when the fleet collaborated with the fleet of Chalkis, founding colonies in Sicily (Sicilian Naxos).
After the uprising of the people of Naxos against the “Pacheis” (that is the nobles), the authority was taken by the tyrant Ligdamis with the help of his Athenian friend Pisistratus (540 BC). Portara, the huge door of the nave of the sanctuary of Delios Apollo, dates back to the period of tyranny (about 530 BC). When the tyrant was overthrown by the Spartans (524 BC), a period of oligarchy which ended in 510 BC followed. The Democracy of Naxos was besieged in 501 BC, after the instigation of the oligarchs, by the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, assisted by the Persian general Megavatos. The destructive capture of the island in 490 BC by the Persian generals Datis and Tissaphernes, marked the end of the glorious archaic period. The locals participated in the naval Battle of Salamis and in the Battle of Plataea. They also took part in the Delian League and 453 BC Pericles settled here 500 Athenians under the leadership of General Tolmidis.
After the battle of Cheroneia (338 BC), the island was conquered by the Macedonians and much later, by the Ptolemies who brought the Egyptian divinities. At the time of the Roman civil wars it was given by Antony to the Rhodians (41 BC). It was part of the province of the Islands Commander of which was a proconsul who resided in Rhodes.
The existence of early Christian basilicas of the 4th century in Naxos testifies to the continuation of the growth. The archaeological evidence derived from temples which date back from the 7th to the 14th century show that the island had a dominant ecclesiastical, administrative and financial position among the islands of the Cyclades.
After the capture of Constantinople in 1204 by the Crusaders, Marco Sanudo, who was a nephew of the Doge of Venice Marino Dandolo, conquered Naxos. The foundation of the Duchy of the Aegean in 1207 based in the island, defined its history until 1566 when the Cyclades finally passed to the Ottomans. By the end of the 14th century the family of Sanudo ruled and then Naxos passed to the house of Crispo. In 1537 the fleet of the terrible Barbarossa made his appearance in Naxos and John IV Crispo, with no hope of help, is forced to surrender the island to the Turks. After the Turks looted the island became the Crispi tributary to the Sultan for 5000 ducats. From 1566 to 1579 the Duchy of Naxos was given to the Spanish Jew Joseph Nasi who enjoyed the favour of Sultan Selim. He never went to the island, but ran it through the surrogate Francesco Coronelo.
The Turkish occupation of the island lasted until 1821, except the period of the Orloff Movement (1770-1774) when it was captured along with the rest of the Cyclades by the Russian fleet. During the reign of Sultan Ibrahim (1615-1648) with “achtiname” (favouring determination) special privileges were granted to Naxos. Administratively it belongs to Kapudan Pasha, but on the island there was a Turkish Voivode and 6 local “Syndiki”), from Naxos who are elected annually by their fellow countrymen.
During the Greek revolution of 1821 there was a contrast on the island between rich families which showed their origin of the Venetian houses of Sanudo, of Crispo, of Grimaldi and the rising bourgeoisie of the island that joined the liberal ideas of the Struggle. Some people, as testified in historical sources, were involved with the Society of Friends (FilikiEteria). Within the borders of the newly established Greek Kingdom, Naxos enjoyed economic growth through mining Naxian emery which was a prized export product in the markets of Western Europe.