PhotoAccording to mythology, the king of Crete, Minoas, banished the Karians from the Aegean islands and settled Oinopeonas, who was his grandson, on the island of Chios. He taught the islanders the cultivation of vines and thus the Chian wines have become popular ever since. One tradition says that the daughter of Oinopeonas, Chiona, gave her name to the island, and others claim that Chios is the birthplace of Homer.


PhotoThe first traces of Chian inhabitants are found in the cave, at Agio Gala, at Emborios and at Phana, and are dated back to the Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age. The Persian imperialism inhibited the progress and prosperity of Chios. When the Ionian Revolution burst out, Chios faught decisively, but after the capture of Miletos in 493, followed the complete disaster of the island. During the Median wars, Chios was forced to follow the Persians to the naval battle at Salamina, while during the Peloponnesian war they fought together with the Athenians and were subjugated to them until 356 BC. Later, the island gradually came from Ptolemy the 1st, the Egyptian, under the rule of Seleukides from Pergamos. It was conquered by Philip the 5th and during the Mithridatic wars subjected to the Romans. There is little information about how the island came under the Byzantine rule, but when Byzantium lost its power, the Genoese managed to organize trade with the East dependent on the Chians. Andronikos Palaiologos recaptured the island, which was reconquered in 1346 by Justiniani family. The Genoese occupation this time lasted for 220 years until 1566, when the island came under Turkish rule. During the 18th century, the island of Chios achieved great financial prosperity and a relevant literary and artistic progress. The famous school of Chios was founded and a great number of mansions and churches were built. The population rose to 100,000 and the island was under the rule of the elders of the community. The peaceful Chians were taken by surprise by the Greek revolution in 1821. Nevertheless, the island had great warriors and brave fighters, like the great national "teacher", Adamandios Korais, or the brave Mavrokordatos family. The people were roused by Lykourgos Logothetis, but they had to pay for it. On March 30 1822, Chios was massacred which has been depicted by Delacroix and it roused people's sympathy worldwide. The first refugees started coming back in 1832, when the institution of "Demogerondia" (rule of the elders of the community), was revived. On March 22 1881, the island was ravaged by a tremendous earthquake causing thousands of deaths and incalculable damages. Chios was finally liberated by the Greek army during the Balkan wars and was united with Greece on November 11 1912.