History of Ios Island

Ios island took her name from the Ancient Greek word 'Ia', refering to the flowers that grow in abundance on its surface. Others believe that the name Ios derives from the same Phoenician word, meaning a pile of rocks. Today the inhabitants of the Cycladic Islands call the island Nio, a name deriving from the Byzantine Era.

Ios island since the prehistoric times and due to its naturally protected harbour played a pivotal role as part of the maritime passages towards Crete. The First Cycladic settlement on the hills of Skarkos and other prehistoric smaller settlements found on the island can tell us alot about that period in time.

Ios island then found itself under the influence of the Minoan and consecutively the Mycenaean civilization and culture. A very important marine expert population of the Mediterranean Sea, The Phoenicians, arrived on the island of Ios and stayed there until the 19th century BC. Ios is of Ioanian influence and after a period of time belonged to the Ionian Settlement. From around 534 BC, Ios island started having to pay tax to the Athenians.

During the Classical and Hellenistic Periods Ios' town had a strong and powerful position. Its decline began when the Romans took over and appointed the island for exiles. Its bad name carried on to the Byzantine years. A small derotation commenced during the times of the Duchy of Naxos but the abrupt invasion from the Ottoman Empire interrupted its recovery. Ios island despite a not so powerful naval force was one of the first islands who raised proud the flag of the Greek Revolution in 1821. Ios island took part on the naval battle at Kousantasi on July 9th 1821, on the 2nd National Assembly at Astros in 1823 and its 3rd National Assembly at Troezen in 1827.

In the Modern Greek state Ios island remained a barren island whereas its low-numbered inhabitants struggled to survive from the small sized fertile patches of land, livestock-farming and from some small-time mining. Around the 70s though the island entered into a new era since it became more and more popular as a hot tourist holiday destination amongst the young European travellers. Today Ios holds its reputation high as a holiday spot for young people who want to have fun, has great tourist infrustructure, a well organized marina and a more than well-structured road network. All those elements place Ios Island at a very promising position for this new age.