Tinos: History of Tinos

History of Tinos: History of the island of Tinos, Greece, Cyclades

History of Tinos, Greece. Tinos History : information about the History of Tinos.
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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 1934.

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.

The temple of Poseidon and Amfitritis

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 1390.

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.

Monastery of Virgin Mary

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.

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Tinos: History of Tinos