We know you need to know… So, here it is! A piece of Chios history for you right here! Oenopionas, son of the god Dionysus was the one who started it all. Mythology mentions him as the first settler on the island, who named Chios in honor of Chion’s daughter.
During the 1st millennium BC, the Ionians arrived on the island. After intermingling with the old inhabitants and related populations, they created the glorious Archaic culture.
Chios was one of the most important cities of the Ionian Confederation. It belonged to a trading coalition that provided it with strength and prosperity. Plus, it is considered from ancient times the place of origin of Homer and writing of Homeric epics in the 9th century BC century.
Chios was attacked by the Persians in the 5th century and resisted heroically when the Allied Ionic cities had abandoned it. Alexander the Great occupied the island in the 4th century. That was when Chios was occupied by the Romans. The Byzantine period that followed the Roman period marked the construction of important construction, such as the castle of Chios, the New Monastery and many fortifications. However, the Byzantines failed to prevent the occupation of the island by the Venetians in the 13th century AD. And after that, by the Genoese, who had the island in their possession for 200 years. But also, it was during this period, that most of the well-known castles and villas were built.
Finally, no piece of Chios history would be complete if we didn’t mention the Ottomans.
They occupied the island in 1566 but some privileges and freedoms were given to the inhabitants for its merchant navy and mastic production. The proclamation of the Greek Revolution helped Chios revolt against the Ottoman yoke in 1822. The terrible massacre that followed shocked the entire civilized world and caused a stream of philhellenism in Europe. Delacroix’s painting “The Slaughter of Chios” and V. Hugo’s poem “The Hellenopoulos” conceptualize the destruction of Chios. Finally, the Greek army liberated the island on November 11, 1912. Nowadays, it is a part of the new Greek state. But during World War II, the German occupation, and the ensuing civil war created disruption to the economic and social life of Chios. This resulted in the emigration of a significant proportion of the population.
Nonetheless, Chios is still standing gloriously regardless of its complex history! It is an island of life! And all its 50.000 inhabitants reflect exactly that.