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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 re-conquered it.

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.


In 1204 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 per year.

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.



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