+ Cycladia Travel Guides | History



Chios Island Name

According to tradition the island’s name derives from Hiona, the daughter of Oenopion who was the first settler on the island, grandchild of Minoas, the king of Crete and son of Ariadne and Dionysus (god of the grapevine) who taught the locals how to cultivate vines. Another version of the story says that Chios was named after Hios, son of Poseidon who was given the name Hios because it was snowing (the Greek word for snowing is “hionizei”) when he was born.

Chios Inhabitants
Archeological findings on the island of Chios show that the island was inhabited since the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Some of its ancient inhabitants include the Karians, the Pelasgians and the Leleges as well as the Ionians later on who migrated to Chios from Asia Minor.
Chios Domination
During the naval battle of Salamina Chios was conquered by the Persians and became a member of the first Athenian Confederacy in 179 B.C. The island remained under the control of the Athenians until 356 B.C. and eventually came under the rule of Spartans, the Macedonians and finally the Romans.
Chios Pirate Attacks, the Massacre & Rebirth
After the fall of Constantinople the island of Chios was targeted by many pirate raids. It was firstly captured by the Franks then by the Genoese, the Catalans and finally by Turkish Pirates. After the Greek war of independence in 1821, the Turks invaded the island and killed 30.000 inhabitants and imprisoned another 40.000. This slaughter is known as the Massacre of Chios. On March 22nd 1881 a catastrophic earthquake completely destroyed the island of Chios that was again reborn in 1912.

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