Tinos History: Information about the History of Tinos
Tinos owes it name to Tinos
who was the first settler of the island. Its older names were Ofiousa,
due to its many snakes and Ydrousa due to its abundance of water
on the island.
Poseidon was the protector of the island and based on mythology
it was he that sent a swarm of pelicans to protect it from the many
snakes. The Phoenicians and the Pelasgians were the first inhabitants
of the island and later the Iones inhabited it. The most ancient
elements of its history go back to the Mycenaean era.
Graves of same era were also found. Elements increase from the Geometric
era and after. Xombourgou was the historic center of the island
from the Geometric time up until the 5th century B.C. The rocky
hill at the center of the eastern part of Tinos is presently named
Xombourgo. The excavations that were conducted by professor Nick
Kontoleon showed that a walled town that was possibly constituted
from a settlement of one of the 12 tribes of the island was located
that at south and southwestern base of the rock. We come across
Geometric graves up until the time of Ktikados.
During the 6th century
B.C. the island was dependent to Eretria. When the Athenians extended
their rule to the islands, Tinos during the reign of Pisostratos
acquired the "Pisistratio Aquaduct", a very important project ,
from which this the whole city was getting its water supply until
During the 5th century B.C. the city was moved to its present location.
From the 3rd century B.C. up until the 3rd century A.C. it flourished.
The temple of Poseidon and Amfitritis that were husband and wife
were worshipped as gods of the sea. The temple of Poseidon and Amfitriti
was built west of the present city in the position of Kionia.
In the beginning of the past century excavations took place and
the entrance of the temple, statues, water reservoir and a solar
clock made from white marble were found. The exact date of the construction
of this temple is not known and up to this date. The findings from
the excavations go back to times before the 5th century B.C.
Thanks to the worshiping of Poseidon, Tinos like Delos was an important
religious center. The Poseidonia were religious manifestations in
honor of Poseidon and they were held during the months of January
and February. During the 3rd century B.C. the expansion of the temple
took place and the worshipping of Amfitriti was established, who
was the wife of Poseidon. Poseidon was worshipped in Tinos basically
as a healer. The coins of Tinos resembled Poseidon.
During the Median wars the island succumbed to the Persians. In
490 B.C. the Dilians fled to Tinos for protection. Later the Tinians
fought the Plataies against the Persians. Tinos was part of the
Alliance of Delos and in 386 B.C. it became independent. After that
it went over to Philip up to the Ptolemaious, up until the 2nd century
B.C. when in was incorporated to the Roman government. Until 1204
the available information about Tinos, involved raids and plunderings
of pirates, Arabs and Siracusans.
In 1204 with the
fall of ConstanTinosple from the Franks, the Cyclades went
over to the Venetians. In 1207 Tinos was given to the Gizi
brothers from Mykonos that ruled both the islands up until
This period is called "Gizokratia". Until 1715 Tinos remained
under the direct Venetian rule, with a verbal agreement from
the last dynast George Gizi. The Venetian domination and the
bravery of the Tinians saved Tinos from the Turkish attacks.
Thus Tinos up until 1715 remained the only Christian oasis
within the Turkish dominated Aegean and therefore had some
economic and social development.
It had enough crops not only for its inhabitants of but also
for other inhabitants that used to come from near by areas
to basically find refuge in Tinos as the most independent
island. A sample of the independence that was apparent on
the island is that it is mentioned that even since 1446 it
had its own estate registry.
The sudden change from the Venetian reign to the
Turkish domination was not so tragic as the Tinians maintained some
of there privileges. They had the right to wear their local clothing,
they were not obliged to wear a fez and were allowed to wear red
socks, something that was not allowed anywhere else in Islam. Another
important privilege that the Tinians maintained was the fact that
they had the freedom to build churches and schools. The island had
the pleasure of substantial self-administration and four elected
elders constituted the highest political and administrative authority
of Tinos which was called the Municipality of the island Tinos.
This was when the movement of populations was noticed. From Tinos
to ConstanTinosple , Smyrna and Alexandria and from the rest of Greece
towards Tinos, due to the privileges it enjoyed in relation to other
areas of Greece.
During the Russian Domination in Tinos (1770-74) the construction
of the Orthodox church of Agia Aikaterini was completed. During
that time two legions were formed of 200 men each. The one was made
up from Orthodox and the other from Catholics.
The island had developed into the economic capital of the Cyclades
because of the privileges it enjoyed during the Turkish Domination.
Commerce had developed and it had influenced the clothing of the
locals. It was called the "Small Paris". Consuls and sub-consuls
from France, Russia, England, Denmark and Spain were on the island.
The revolution was
declared on the 31st of March at Pyrgos and at the city of
Tinos on the 20th April 1821. Tinos contributed a lot to the
cause of the independence. Approximately 5000 Tinians served
under the three army corps during the Revolution.
Tinian marines also served in the war ships of Psara, Spetses
and Hydra while many captains offered their vessels for the
revolution. The Tinians that participated with the Filiki
Etairia exceeded the number 12. With the persecutions and
the destructions that took place, many refugees asked for
asylum in Tinos, were they found ample protection. There were
also great Christian contributions. The position of Tinos
gave it the privilege to be able to extract information about
the enemy plans and thus helping in this way with the revolution.
At the end of January of 1823 the icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary)
was found and this was considered as a message for the independence
of the Greeks. Miaoulis, Kanaris, Kolokotronis, Nikitaras and Makrygiannis
worshiped the icon.
Later during the German and the Italian occupation the residents
suffered from hunger. And in this revolution, Tinos played a very
important role. Due to its geographic position between others G.
Papandreou and K. Karamanlis were forwarded to Alexandria. It is
estimated that approximately 4000 volunteers came through the island
and received its hospitality.
One of the largest information and sabotage detachments of the Allies
in the Aegean operated on the island. The damages that the Germans
suffered from the transmition of information from the radio of Tinos
to the Allied Headquarters of the Middle East were very important.
This important contribution of the Tinians to the secret war was
only very recently made known to the public.
The main occupation of the inhabitants today is tourism, but there are still some locals that are still involved with farming and livestock. The history of Tinos is pretty brief because it is not involved with any heroic achievements. The barren ground of the island kept away, many invaders who arrived once and again. Thus they did not disturb the peace of the locals whose lives were already difficult as it was.
Myth has it that Tinos got its name from Tinos, the son of Aniou who was a semi god, the offspring of Apollo and his bride Roious. Another myth mentions that after Hercules killed the giants he threw them on the island where they were petrified and turned into rocks (thus the so many huge rocks on the island). But all these sources are insufficient.
The first inhabitants of the island were Kares. After them the Phoenicians, the Cretans, and the Egyptians inhabited the island. In the end the Ionians inhabited it. After the Persian wars, the first Athenian alTriantarosnce was formed with its headquarters being Delos, were the allies treasury was situated.
Delos influenced Tinos very much, even in matters of religion. They worshipped the God Apollo, but also the other gods of those times, as it is concluded from some coins that were found in the area.