Mykonos History

Based on an old myth, Mykonos island was called after Apollo’s son, whose name was Mikonos . On account of his father, God of the Sun, Mykonos has been known as the isle of light. In accordance with one more story, Poseidon, in the course of his fight with the Giants, hurled large stones at them that fell into the sea and created the rugged soil of the isle. The neighbouring isle of Delos is connected to the myth of Leto who fell in love with the father of the gods Zeus. From this relationship Leto had two babies, Apollo and Artemis.

Based on that story Leto was searching for a location in order to deliver her babies, however no one wanted to give her assistance because they were terrified of vengeance from Hera. When finally she arrived on the barren isle of Delos, Leto promised upon the holy waters of Stinx that her child Apollo will never neglect the place that he was born and he will create his initial temple in the island. Therefore, Delos allowed Leto to have her babies here.

An additional myth boasts that Delos used to be a nymph who fell in love with Zeus. To honour Hera as the wife of Zeus, Delos turned in to a star and dropped in to the ocean. Zeus became furious and penalized her causing her to float around the Aegean. As soon as Leto arrived she requested if she could have her babies delivered there. Asteria (the name of the island at that time) accepted Leto with kindness. Apollo showed his appreciation of his birth there by erecting four columns, which became the basis of the island’s sea floor. The isle was named Delos (in ancient Greek “visible”) from that time, because its location was at last stable and the island became visible.

During Mykonos historical past its first residents, were probably people from Karia or Leleges. They were succeeded from the Cretans, the Egyptians and the Phoenicians. Around the 10th Century BC, the Ionians settled on the island .

During the 5th century BC Mykonos joined the Athenian League. When Rome conquered the Greek islands of the Cyclades, Mykonos became a prosperous island due to the fact that now the neighbouring island of Delos was a free harbour. However this prosperity lasted until Mithredates demolished the island of Delos .

Mykonos during the Byzantium era became part of the Achaia province and afterwards part of the Theme of the Cycladic islands. When the Crusaders occupied Byzantium, the Venetians conquered the island and handed it to the family of Gizi that reigned here untill the end of the 14th century. The Turkish pirate Barbarossa took over Mykonos in the 16th century and Mykonos remained under the Turkish rule until 1821 and the Greek Revolution of independence.

The Greek revolution heroine Mando Mavrogenous was from Mykonos. She helped the struggle against the Turks by giving her wealth for the revolution. Mykonos as well as the other Cyclades islands became part of the independent Greek state in 1831. However many people of Mykonos immigrated from the island because it was poor. From the late 50’s tourism grew mainly because of the historic island of Delos. That made tourist and the rest of the world to get to know Mykonos better and finally the island became a world famous holiday destination.