+ Cycladia Travel Guides | History



Aegina Name
According to mythology Aegina was the daughter of the river god Asopos. She was abducted by Zeus and brought to an island close to Attica called Oenoni which later was named after Aegina.
Inhabitance History

The findings mainly in the archaeological site of Kolona indicate that the first inhabitants arrived on Aegina around 3500-3000 B.C. They came from Peloponnese and some of them settled in the area of Kolona making a living from fishing and the rest of the population settled in Mesagros occupying themselves with agriculture. The colonization of Kolona continued even for another thousand years till 2000 B.C with the inhabitants dealing with shipping and trade.

The Myrmidons from Thessaly settled on the island around 1400-1300 B.C in the area Oros were they built the temple of Ellanios Zeus and the Dorians came around 950 B.C.

The years of prosperity

Aegina along with Ermioni, Poros, Epidaurus, Prasies, Athens and Orchomenos they formed the Amfiktionia of Kalavria which started as a religion based alliance and later turned to be more of an economic and political union.

Aegina developed enough to be a shipping and trading power, hence it cut its own coin around 650 B.C. while Kolona had its own Courts and the city was well fortified with surrounding walls. It used two ports, a military one and a commercial one. Its population consisted of 40.000 free citizens and of 400.000 slaves. Around 500 B.C the island reached its peak in terms of prosperity and wealth forming a monopoly in the trade activity of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The decline

In 480 B.C the island took part in the battle of Salamina against the Persian fleet.

In 459 B.C Aegina allied with Korinthos, which was an enemy of Athens and the Athenians attacked the island, defeated their fleet, proceeded to the destruction of the city walls and imposed a tax to the inhabitants. The people of Aegina were forced to move to Peloponnese during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C) and they were brought back to Aegina after the war ended by Lyssandros of Sparta.

After the death of Alexander the Great the island was destroyed by the fleet of the King of Pergamos and in 133 B.C it was granted to the Romans. This led to its decadence.

The population of Aegina increased after 400 A.D when many Peloponnesians found refuge from pirate raids there.

The population was forced to abandon the sea shore due to continuous pirate raids during the 6th century A.D and they built Palaiochora.

Venetian Times
The first Venetian era lasted from 1451 to 1540. In 1537 the Turks burned the island to the ground being in war with the Venetians. The first Turkish era lasted from 1540 to 1684. Then came the second Venetian era during which the island flourished commercially and economically. From 1715 to the Greek revolution in 1821, Aegina did under Turkish domination once again.
Earlier Years
In 1828 the city of Aegina became the first capital of the newly born Greek State with Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias. In 1829 the capital moved to Nafplio.

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