History of Tinos

Originally, Tinos was called Ofiousa (“the one who has snakes” in ancient Greek), because of the many snakes, and also Hydrousa (“the one who has water” in ancient Greek), because there was plenty of water there. The first inhabitants of the island were probably the Phoenicians, followed by the Ionians in the 11th century BC. During the 2nd century BC, Tinos, along with the rest of the islands and mainland Greece, became part of the Roman Empire. During Byzantine times, the inhabitants moved from the seaside areas to the interior of the island, in order to protect themselves from the catastrophic pirate raids, which were a great plague for all Greek islands at that time.

In 1207, Tinos and all the other Greek islands were conquered by the Venetians. The Venetian rule on Tinos lasted longer than on any other Cycladic island. When the island passed from the Venetians to the Turks, the inhabitants were given rights and privileges that were unheard of for other islands under Turkish occupation. During the Ottoman period, the current Chora experienced impressive growth, as the commercial, industrial and shipping activities flourished.

As the Ottoman Empire began to decline, however, Tinos joined the Revolution of 1821 on April 20. On April 30, 1823, the discovery of the holy icon of the Virgin Mary turned Tinos into the Panhellenic religious center it is today. It has also been the birthplace of famous artists, who have made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary art.

The history of Tinos was also marked by the torpedoing of the “Elli” warship in the port of the island in August 1940.

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