Mykonos History

Prehistoric Mykonos

Mykonos was named after the son of the mythical king of Delos, Anios, who was the descendent of the god Apollo and the nymph Rio.

In the Greek mythology there are two references to Mykonos. The first says that the island was named after a hero called Mykonos, while the second one tells about Hercules. One of his twelve tasks was to fight the Giants and, after killing them, he threw them in the sea where they petrified forming the island of Mykonos.

For a period of time the island was in the shadow of the spiritual and prosperous island of Delos and therefore few things are known about Mykonos in the Ancient Times.

The excavations revealed that the first inhabitants of Mykonos were the Carians. They were succeeded by the Egyptians and the Minoan Cretans. The coin depictions suggest that the island’s patron god was Dionyssos. It was during that era when the Cycladic Civilization flourished on the island. After the Cretans came the Ionians.

Ancient Mykonos

During Antiquity, Mykonos was part of the Athenian Alliance together will all the island from the Aegean Sea. In the Hellenistic Era the island was neutral. It had its own currency and was rather prosperous. In 146 B.C. the island was conquered by the Romans, who started another period of prosperity. However, it was stopped by Mithridatis, who conquered Delos and Mykonos.

Medieval Mykonos

In 1207 the Venetians conquered the island. Until 1390 it was governed by the Gyzi brothers. Later, in 1537, pirate Barbarossa occupied and looted the island. In the same year, the Turks conquered the island and during their occupation Mykonos grew to be a great navy force.

War of Independence – Manto Mavrogenous

During the War of Independence (1821 – 1828), Mykonos owns a significant number of war ships all handled by experienced seamen. It was during this war that many people were distinguished for their bravery. One of them is Manto (Mandalena or Magdalena) Mavrogenous. She was born in Trieste in 1796. Her grandfather, Dimitrios Mavrogenous, was dragoman of the fleet and governor in Valahia and Moldavia. She donated her whole fortune to the War and she also equipped and manned two war ships at her own expense and sent them to Euboea, to investigate the people there. She stimulated the Mykonians to get rid of the Turkish occupancy. She participated in battles and handled expeditions in Europe. In the end, she died very poor. As homage, Hora’s central square is named after her. Her bust was erected in the square.

Mykonos in World War 2

Between the First and Second World War, tourism started to appear as an industry.

During the Second World War the people of Mykonos helped the Greek Resistance against the German conquests.

Mykonos today

In the mid 1950s the tourism started to flourish again. Because of the island’s unique architecture, as well as its relative seclusion and its hospitality, the island became a unique travel destination for rich and famous. Today Mykonos it’s one of the most famous vacation islands in the world.

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