History of Paros island

Paros has been inhabited since the 4th millennium BC. and experienced periods of great economic and artistic prosperity, but also periods of plunder, intense violence, decline and obscurity. The first traces of life on Paros can be found on the islet of Saliago, between Paros and Antiparos, where one of the oldest settlements of the prehistoric Aegean appears. It owes its name to the leader of the Arcadians, Paros, who fled to the island around 1100 BC, when the Dorians attacked Arcadia.

Bronze Age and Minoan Years

Remains of a Proto-Cycladic settlement were found on the hill of the Castle of Parikia, while other notable settlements of this period have been found in Dryos, Koukounaries, Glyfa, Faranga, etc. Paros is one of the few Aegean islands where the Minoan civilization developed.

After all, as the founder of the ancient city of Paros, it seems that Alkaios was of Cretan origin and the first inhabitants were settlers from Crete. That is why the city, in the place of today’s Parikia, was called Minoa, in honor of the king of the Minoan state. This city was one of the most important ports of the Minoan civilization and as the archaeological findings show, it flourished in 3,000 BC.

Geometric era  and Archaic era

Around 1100 BC, when the Dorians attacked Arcadia, local residents fled to the island. Their leader was Paros, who gave his name to the island. The Parians, since ancient times, developed agriculture and trade.

In 8 BC century Paros was a powerful naval power and constituted the administrative and commercial center of the Aegean. Paros develops into a great naval power since the trade of the famous Parian marble brings wealth to the island.

The Parians founded in 680 BC. colony in Thassos and exploited the gold deposits that existed on the coasts of Thrace. Famous sculpture workshops are established on the island.

At the same time, poetry also flourished, with the main representative being the lyric poet Archilochus, who is considered equal to Homer. Afterwards, however, the long-term wars with neighboring Naxos weakened the island, which ceased to be the center of the Aegean.

Classical Era – Persian Wars

At the beginning of the 5th century BC, the Parians allied themselves with the Persians and the island became the base of the Persian fleet in Hellas. In fact, in the battle of Marathon in 490 BC. the Parians fought on the side of the Persians and were defeated.

After their defeat, Themistocles forces Paros to become a member of the Athenian Alliance for which he offers a lot of money as it is one of the richest islands of the Cyclades due to the export of its marble.

At this time, the famous Parian sculptors Agorakritos and Scopas live and create. With the end of the classical period, Paros became an ally of the Macedonians until the death of M. Alexander, while then for several years it passed under the rule of the Ptolemies.

Roman era

Paros and the rest of the Cyclades along with a large part of mainland Greece are a province of the Roman empire with the island going through a period of decline as development is halted due to the heavy taxes imposed by the Romans. During this specific period, in fact, the island was used as a place of exile.

Byzantine era

The Christianization of the Parians began in the 1st century AD. and while the island was still under Roman occupation. In the 4th century the island came under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. It is the period when the famous church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani or Katapoliani was founded on the island by Constantine the Great himself, the first Emperor of Byzantium.

It is about the fulfillment of the wish of his mother, Eleni, to Panagia, when she had passed through an island on her way to Timios Stavros. The Church of Ekatontapyliani, which has stood proudly all these years near the port of Parikia, is one of the most important surviving Byzantine monuments in all of Greece.

The Venetian rule

In 1207, Paros came under the control of the Venetians and became a member of the Aegean duchy, founded by Markos Sanoudos. The inhabitants of the island work in the fields like serfs while still suffering from pirate raids and looting.

Naoussa becomes a base for pirates, while in this period the castles of Parikia, Naoussa and Kefalos are built. Then, from 1389 until 1537, it came under the possession of the Frankish dynasty of Somaripi, who made Paros a commercial center.

Turkish rule

The pirate raids may be intertwined with the history of Paros, but after the capture of the island by the terrible pirate Hareiddin Barbarossa (1537), its desolation followed with the subsequent end of the Venetian rule and the beginning of the Turkish rule on the now destroyed island.

Revolution of 1821

During the Russo-Turkish wars (1770 – 1777) the russian fleet uses the safe bay of Naoussa and the islet of Agia Kali as a base in the Aegean. In fact, after their victory in Cesme, envoys from Paros also went to meet them to congratulate them.

April 24, 1821 is the day the Revolution begins in Paros following a proclamation by Parian Philikos Panagiotis Dimitrakopoulos. Dimitrakopoulos covers at his own expense the sending of Parian fighters to Hydra and from there to the Peloponnese.

The heroine of the Greek Revolution, Manto Mavrogenos, lives and works on the island, who allocated all her wealth to the struggle of the Greek Revolution. For this reason, in fact, Ioannis Kapodistrias awarded her – an honor unique to a woman – the position of honorary lieutenant general and granted her a central house in Nafplion, although she herself died penniless in Paros. In 1830, according to the Treaty of London, Paros, like all the islands of the Cyclades, was annexed to the Greek state.

20th century

With the Asia Minor disaster in 1922, the island received refugees, who integrated and enriched the local society. The island’s development trajectory was interrupted by World War II and the German occupation. On January 14, 1944, the port of Parikia was bombed by allied planes as part of the planned destruction by the British of all the ships that the Germans had ordered to transport their supplies, where civilian casualties were not avoided.

During the period of the Civil War, ELAN of Evia, following the order of the E.A.M., was sent to the island with the aim of disarming the Hierolochi who were operating on the island but were ultimately defeated.

After the end of the Second World War and the Civil War, the Parians are forced to migrate first to Piraeus and later abroad in order to be able. Around 1960, a new period of development begins for Paros, based mainly on tourism.

However, significant money is brought to the local community both by its vineyards, as it begins to produce and export its famous wine around the world, and by its fishing fleet, which is considered the largest in the Cyclades