Ios History: Information about the History of Ios
Various ancient writers
refer to Ios in their writings, Stravon, Herodotus, Thoukididis,
Pavsanias, Stefanos the Byzantine, Diodoros, Sikeliotis and others.
Its name originated from
Ios or Andreas , son of Evrimaxos or Anios and grandson of Apollon,
to whom Radamanthos brother of Minoas offered the island as a gift.
The Pelasgians, Kares , the Phoenicians and the Cretans were said
to be the first inhabitants, while during 1000 B.C. the Iones colonized
the island. In excavations in the area of Zagora, traces of a wall
with a gate to the city, similar to the one of the Gate of the Lions
in Micenae, were found. The 2nd half of the 8th century B.C. (750-700
B.C.) was a time of great flourishing for the island.
The Iones, residents of Ios at the time thrived with the exploitation
of iron, commerce and the establishment of colonies in Chalkidiki.
Up until the 6th century B.C., the island was an independent state
and it belonged to the amphictyony of Delos, center for the worshipping
of the Sun god.
From the twelve ancient Greek Gods , Dionysus was worshipped as
their guardian and during their yearly celebrations, they used to
attribute to this god the miracle of changing water into wine. The
residents used to speak the Ionic dialect. The inscription "Zeus
Word" of the 7th century B.C. is thought of as the first written
monument of those times and it was found engraved on a rock in the
area of today's town of Palaiopolis.
During the Classical period a Stadium, theatre, acropolis, marketplace
and a port could be found on the island. During the Persian Wars
the island fell under the Persian rule. It remained under the Persian
rule until the naval battle in Salamina (480 B.C.) when Themistoklis
the winner of this battle, sought to punish the people of Ios
by demanding money. The people of Ios appealed upon indigence
and this was the cause for antipathy between the Athenians and the
During the 1st Athenian Alliance, Ios was force to pay island
tax. During the Peloponnesian War the residents of Ios had to
follow the Athenians to their expeditions. Alkiviadis attacked the
island with no success. When the Spartans arrived as conquerors
, things were not so good, thus the Athenians came again as liberators.
Ios passed over
to Philip and then to Alexander the Great. During 200 B.C.
the Romans conquered the island, plundered it, exiled their
residents to Voiotia and delivered it bare to Attalos, who
afterwards allowed the return of the residents. The only monument
of this era is the cylindrical tower of Saint Peter, which
survives and is 20 meters high and with a the diameter of
its base being 9,70 metes. It has 5 or 6 floors but its higher
compartments have been destroyed. The base of the tower was
built with huge stones or Pelasgic rhythm.
In129 B.C. starts the immediate Roman domination and Ios falls
under the province of Asia. Several bad years follow up until the
period of Adrianos and Traianos. During the 8th and 9th century
it belonged to the complex of the Aegean Sea and thanks to its important
geographical position, in regards to Constantinople, it operated
as the functionary headquarters, but also as a place of the imperial
customs area. During the 9th century A.C. the philosopher or mathematician
Leon came to the island to study next to an unknown to us Wiseman,
rhetoric, philosophy and mathematics.
From 826 A.C. until 908 A.C. the island came to know great turmoil
due to the attacks of the Saracusian pirates from Crete. Nevertheless
the Byzantine fleet saved it. After the fall of Constantinople by
the Crusaders in 1204 A.C., in 1207 Marino Ntantolo, the first tyrant
came to rule and handed over the control of the Aegean to Markos
Sanoudos. From 1384 Pedro Zeno came over as governor. He brought
good days to Naxos. The next dynasty had its origin from Paros and
did not manage to save Ios so it became subject to paying taxes
to the Sultan, as the Hairentin Varvarosa intervened. The people
themselves removed the last tyrant, Jovani Franscesco Somarita from
During the Turkish domination
the island managed to keep some of its privileges. They did not
have the pressure to change their religion, their deeds of ownerships
were recognized and some of the taxes were abolished. The residents
were allowed to wear their local traditional costumes and to preserve
their monasteries. The island went over to the Russian regimen during
the first command (1700-1774) during the Turkish Russian War.
The first data about the
shipping commerce of the Andriotes is given in 1665 by the traveler
named Thevenot, who wrote that they used to transport silk with
boats that they built on their own.
During the 1st Russian-Turkish War (1768-1774) there is great potential
for development, when the Black Sea became accessible to Greek shipping.
From the middle of the 18th century there are documents that affirm
the of purchasing and selling of vessels. Based on a catalogue of
Poukevil (1813), Ios had 40 sailboats, of total capacity 2800
tons, 400 sailors, 800 cannons and it was considered 5th between
the 26 ports of the country.
Maybe this shipping and economic increase was one of the reasons
why the pirates preferred to plunder Ios. The plundering of the
pirates bothered the Turks and they left. This is when the creation
of schools began and in 1621 the reestablishment of the Archbishopric
A little time before
the revolution took place , the environment was ripe in order
for the revolution to take place . The sailors had a liberal
spirit, propaganda had taken place in the schools about the
liberation and Filiki Etaireia made its appearance. Ios
had 37 people active in the Filiki Etairia.
Theofilos Kairis officially
declared the Revolution on May 10th 1821. Money was concentrated
for the equipment of the vessels and many Andriotes mariners
served during the revolution in vessels from Hydra, Spetses,
and Psara. Even the monasteries economically helped the cause.
Following that era, both shipping and investments in agriculture
flourished. Later steamboats appeared and until 1914 its ownership
in steamboats had increased to 60.
Ios also participated in the National battles (1912-1913-1919-1922).
From 1923 until 1927 it had the second in registries harbor after
Piraeus. Unfortunately the island suffered great losses during the
2nd World War. The refusal of the Italians to surrender to the Germans
in 1943, led to bombings and to great destructions to the island.
From time to time the residents turned to immigration to make a
better standard of living. They went to Constantinople, Alexandria
and other cosmopolitan centers. Later some also went to Piraeus
and Athens. They have excelled wherever they went in business and
commercial centers. From the beginning of the 20th century immigration
took place towards U.S.A. and Canada. Today Ios in a center of
attraction for tourists from Greece , Europe and the whole world.