Folegandros Island Name
According to one theory, the island of Folegandros was given its name from the Phoenicians who observed its rocky formation and thus called the island “phelekgundari”, meaning stony land.
But, as the most predominant speculation quotes, Folegandros was actually named after one of the sons of king Minos, named Folegandros, who led the Minoans out of Crete to the island in order to find refuge because Cretans were persecuted from their homeland at the time.
Based on historical evidence the first inhabitants of Folegandros were the Carians from Asia Minor who were followed by the persecuted Cretans and then by the Dorians. All inhabitants worshipped Artemis and Apollo and, hence, one can still find the remains of a sanctuary of Artemis in Hora.
In the 5th century BC Folegandros was under the domination of Athenians but after their defeat at Chaeronia at 338 B.C. Folegandros was passed over to Macedonians and later to the Ptolemy’s. When the Romans reigned over Greece they used Folegandros as an island of exile.
In 1204 the island was dominated by the Venetians with Marco Sanudo who established the Duchy of Naxos and offered independence in terms of religion to the inhabitants. After Marcos Sanudo the island passed to the Byzantines until the Ottomans gained its possession in 1617.
The Destruction and Rebirth
In 1715 the island of Folegandros was attacked by the Kapoudan Pasha, who sold the island’s inhabitants as slaves. The few inhabitants who were left on the island invited their neighbors from nearby islands to come and settle in Folegandros so as to create a new community. This community flourished in the 18th century thanks to the trade and other commercial services. The island was finally liberated during the Greek revolution in 1821.