Chios is the fifth largest island in Hellas, which has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. It is known for its maritime tradition, due to its geographical position. In the era between the 7th century BC to the 4th century BC the island was in the prime of its strength and prosperity.

According to excavations carried out in various parts of the island, Chios was habitable by 6000 and 2000 BC (Neolithic period and the Bronze Age). According to tradition, the first resident king of the island was Oinopion, son of Dionysus
and Ariadne. The name Chios probably derives from Oinopiona’s daughter Chioni. Another theory is that the name derives from the snow, which according to legend was falling when the son of Poseidon was born on the island of Chios. The island occasionally had other names, such Pityousa, Ethalia, Ofiousa, Makris and Mavronisi.

Gradually, the island became one of the largest wine export points, especially the acclaimed Ariousio wine, which was one
of the most expensive wines in Hellas.

As a consequence of the favorable conditions, there was a flourishing of literature and the arts. It is generally accepted
that the famous epic poet of antiquity Homer, was from Chios and lived in it during the 8th century BC. In Chios was also
established the famous School of Sculpture of Chios where renowned sculptors of the 5th and 6th century BC graduated.

Chians showed great progress in shipping, trade and wine production. Thucydides characterizes Chians as the richest citizens of Hellas and praises the social discipline of the island.
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity, Chios remained under the governance of the Byzantine Empire (4th century-1346). It was then recognized for its important strategic position thus began the fortification and the construction of the Castle of Chios (11th century). During the Byzantine period Nea Moni was also built. This famous monastery, is known for its mosaics and has been designated by Unesco as a World Heritage monument.

In the 14th century, after the 4th Crusade, Chios was initially occupied by the Venetians and the Genoese, a rising power
by that time. For two centuries, the island flourished. The Genoese, though oppressed locals, organized mastic trade in
Chios and brought the cultivation of citrus fruits. It was during that time that most of the famous villages – castles were built. The watchtowers and other fortifications-to this day-give the island a separate temperament. Chios, was also visited from Christopher Columbus, where he stayed for two years (a memo states that it was of Chian origin) seeking experienced sailors and maps as he prepare for the long journey to America.

After the Genoese, Turks invaded Chios in 1566, when the island passed under their possession.The Turkish occupation of
the island lasted for 350 years (1566-1912), but the islanders managed to keep some privileges, thanks to the production of
mastic. During the Hellenic Revolution, after an uprising in 1822,the great massacre of Chios took place. The Turkish
fleet and army burned and destroyed everything for 2 weeks. Renowned artists such as Eugene Delacroix and Victor Hugo were then inspired and depicted through art, the tormenting moments of the Holocaust.

The economic and cultural tradition of the local was interrupted abruptly by the large destructive earthquake in March 1881, who deserted the island once more. Eventually Chios was liberated in 1912 and became part of independent Greece.During the Second World War, Chian fought against the Germans while the island was liberated along with the rest of
Hellas in 1944.

Today the island has a population of about 50,000 inhabitants, of which half live in the city center.

Ημερομηνία δημοσίευσης : 11/07/2013