In the ancient years, the island that today we call “Skyros” had several different names like “The island of Magnites” (i.e. the island of the inhabitants of Magnesia), “Pelasgia” and “Dolopia”. At some point during the ancient times, the word “Skyros” appeared due to the geological composition of the island’s soil which includes gypsum (called “skiros” in Ancient Greek). This name became the dominant name over time.
According to another version, Skyros was named after the grandfather of Theseus who was called Skyrios. However, this is not a widely acknowledged version concerning the island’s name.
During the Roman period (86 B.C. to 395 A.D.), Skyros was not particularly prosperous or powerful. In 165 A.D. the island was struck by a huge plague that killed a large part of the population. In 268 A.D. Skyros was forayed by the Goths, along with Limnos and part of the mainland coast.
Skyros became part of the Byzantine Empire since the beginning of the later and Christians came to the Island and imposed their religion. Unfortunately, they destroyed many ancient temples and statues and created Orthodox churches in their place. Skyros also served as an exile location for personalities that were not welcome in the Byzantine Empire.
During the 9th century A.D., Skyros was repeatedly attacked by pirates a fact that forced Skyrians to leave the island. The only area that was saved was Chora with its powerful fortress. The Saracens used the Sarakiniko Island as a base and constantly attacked Skyros, until 961 A.D.
In 1403, Skyros was conquered by Souleiman. Between 1400n and 1450 A.D. the island was attacked by pirates. In 1453, Skyros was given again to the Venetians voluntarily. In 1471 Skyros became part of the Ottoman Empire but still remained under the Venetian management till 1537, when it was given to Barbarossa with no resistance (with a formal agreement). However, Barbarossa killed many inhabitants and destroyed the island which brought about the intervention of the Ottomans and peace was re-established. After that, Skyros remained relatively autonomous and self-managed, but it had to pay large amounts of taxes to the Ottoman Empire.
In 1650, Grimani conquered Skyros, killed the vast majority of men on the island and the remaining men were used as slaves/rowers on his ships. After that, life at Skyros became more tranquil and better organized.
In 1770, many Skyrians allied with Orloff and attacked the Turkish ships at Tsesmes. In 1790, Labros Katsonis attacked the Turkish ships in Linaria but did not accomplish anything; the Ottomans remained on the island.
From 1809 and on, a particular amount of Skyrian men were obliged to join the Ottoman fleet. The few Ottomans that lived on Skyros left the island after the Russian-Ottoman war.