Based on various researchers, Folegandros got its name from Folegandros, son Minoas, king of Crete. The local administration of the island has the shape of Folegandros on its official municipality stamp. The island used to be a refuge area for those who were hunted down from Crete.
There is of course another version about the name of the island. According to this version, the name was a result of the passing of the Phoenicians from it and the corruption of the Phoenician word "phelekgundari" which means rocky land and this attributes exactly the morphology of the island.
The history of Folegandros,
mentions that the first inhabitants appear to be the Cares
from Asia Minor. The Cretans followed the Cares with their
leader Folegandros. After the Cretans the Dorians followed.
The inscriptions that were found prove this. This is the reason
why Folegandros did not participate in the 1st Athenian Alliance
that took place in 478 B.C., but a bit latter.
On an inscription it is said that the island paid yearly tax
to Athens, two thousand Attican drachmas, instead of one thousand
that Sikinos paid. This meant that it was dependent to Athens
and of course with unfavorable conditions because it did not
join the Athenian Alliance from the beginning. During this
period Artemis and Apollo were worshipped on the island.
The coins that were
found are copper and are dated from the 3rd and 2nd century
B.C. and they portray on the one side the figure of a man,
Folegadros and on the other side a bull. In 338 B.C. Philip
the 2nd, father of Alexander the Great won the Athenians.
After that all of Greece and the islands fell under the rule
of the Macedonian kings. Following that Folegandros went over
to the power of the heirs of Alexander the Great and specifically
that of Ptolemaian of Egypt up until 202 B.C., when the Macedonians
When the Romans became the rulers of Greece during the 1st
century B.C., they used Folegandros and a place of exile.
Unfortunately there is not a lot of information about the
eight hundred years of the Byzantine period. Most probably
the island was in oblivion. The only information that is evident
on the island is that until 1636 religiously it was an exarchate
of the Patriarchy and from then onwards it became part of
the Archbishopry of Sifnos.
after the seizure of Constantinople by the Franks,
the Venetians made their appearance at the Cyclades.
The Venetian Markos Sanoudos conquered the Aegean
islands and established the Ducat of Naxos or the
Archipelagos. Folegandros was also included in this
ducat. Sanoudos governed the islands with modesty
and political mastery. He gave religious freedom
and ensured the trust of his citizens. Admiral Likarios
discontinued the rule of Sanoudos in Folegandros.
Likarios after disagreeing with his co patriots,
allied with emperor Michael VII Palaiologos who
had re-conquered Constantinople from the Latins.
In-charge of the fleet was Miszil, Likarios managed
to detach the island of Ios, Sikinos, Folegandros
and Sifnos from the Ducat of Naxos.
The return of the islands
to the Byzantine did not last long because in 1307 the Spaniard
Giannouli Dakoronia conquered them. Dakoronias held the islands
up until 1464 when the Gozadinians conquered them. During that
period of time many Turkish raids used to take place in Folegandros
and this had as a result the desolation of the island. After
the capture of Constantinople in 1453 the Franks had a difficulty
remaining in the Aegean.
In 1536 a treaty was signed between the Sultan and France having
as their ulterior motive , the dismissal of the Venetians from
the islands. For this reason the Turks used admiral Varvarosa,
only the islands that were not under the Venetian reign survived
from the catastrophe and the plundering of the army of Varvarosa.
Thus Folegandros, Sikinos, Kimolos and Kithnos were spared.
This is the reason that the dynasty of the Gozadinon was maintained
for forty years. In 1617 they were permanently send away by
the Franks and the Turks ruled the island. The island used to
pay taxes to Kapetan Passa , who had the islands under his jurisdiction.
The taxes that had been assigned to Folegandros were 1500 grosses
In 1715 Kapoudan
Passas Tzanoum Hotza, plundered the island and enslaved
almost all the residents as an act of retaliation
for the cooperation of some islanders with the pirates
that pillaged the surrounding islands. During the
Turkish domination there were also consuls of the
Grand Forces on the island of Folegandros.
Thus in 1770 the consul of France was Georgakis Stais
that held both the offices of sovereign and commander.
For four years the Turkish domination was interrupted
in 1770 during the duration of the Russian - Turkish
war. When the treaty was signed between Turkey and
the Empress of Russia Aikaterini, the islands were
given back to Turkey. Folegandros was freed from the
Turks in 1821 and was united with the rest of Greece.
From 1900 until 1970 Folegandros comprised an exile area for political prisoners. The political prisoners were accompanied by a large quantity of police officers. The exiled had to come forward daily to the policemen that were watching them during their walks and especially when they went for a swim. The exiled were involved in handy work and they obtained excellent relations with the residents of the island. Very often they used to make beautiful works of art and they especially got involved in wood carving and often participated in the festivities and the celebrations of the island.