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History of Naxos | Greek Island Naxos History

History of Naxos

Naxos has been inhabited without interruption from the 4th millennium BC to the present. In ancient times Naxos was the largest and the most fertile island in Cyclades, known for its wine and the worship of Dionysos.
As first inhabitants are mentioned people from Thrace. Then Kares, Cretans and Iones came. Kares came around 11th ct B.C., when also the island was named Naxos, form their leader Naxos. (During the Middle Age it was called Naxia and the Axia (Worth)).

Around 536 - 535 B.C., because of civil war between aristocrats and democrats, Peisistratos - tyrant of Athens - enforced in Naxos tyrant Lygdamis. Naxos then reached to the acme of its glory and it dominated Andros and Paros. For a lot of years dominated sea and had an army of almost 8000 men. When Spartans got rid of Lygdamis, the government was in the hands of the rich landholders of the island. A new insurrection had as a result the interference of the tyrant of Militos Aristagoras, giving to Persians the handle. The failure of their campaign against Naxos caused the rebellion in Ionia, causing the start of the Persian War.

In 490 B.C. the Persian generals Datis and Artafernis with 600 triremes burnt the churches and the town of Naxos. After the end of the Persian War, Naxos became member of the Athenian alliance. A rebellion against the alliance had no success. In 453 it was occupied by Athenians. At the beginning Naxos paid to the Athenians a 6 talent tax and later 15 talents. In 338 B.C., after the battle of Chaironeia, it was conquered by the Macedonians and later in the occupation of Ptolemaios, who also imported the Egyptian god worship. In the years of the Roman civil wars, Naxos was under the authority of Rhodes. At the same time, it was a place for the political exiles of Rome.

In Roman times Naxos belonged in the prefecture of the Islands. The commander was proconsul and was situated in Rhodos.After the abolition of the Byzantine Empire from the Crusaders (1204), Naxos was conquered after figths that lasted 5 weeks in Marcos Sanoudos, who became Duke of Naxos and of the Aegean Sea. He built at the highest place of the town, above the greek houses, a palace wit 12 towers, made the port in such a way in order to be suitable for naval yard. He also built a cathedral for the Latin Archbishop; he distributed the best fields to his followers and conquered also the islands of Antiparos, Sifnos, Kimolos, Milos, Folegandros, Ios and Santorini, joining them to his ducat.

Twenty dukes from the house of Sanoudos, Dalekatseri and Krispon ruled successively in Duke Throne of Naxos until 1537. Then, with no obvious cause, Chairedin Barbarosa came to Naxos and John Krispos (12th Duke) gave him the keys of the gates. Turks held Krispos in the ship and raided the town and the palace. He gave his freedom back in exchange for a yearly 5000 golden coins tax.

In 1564, Duke John died and his son Iakovos took the throne, but he was forced by the Turks to leave and in 1566 the Duke of Naxos went to the rich Israeli Joseph Nazi, who was the choice of Sultan Selim. This duke rules, having Spaniard Francisco Koronelo as inspector. After the death of Nazi and Koronelo, Naxos became part of Turkey until 1821, with a break between years 1770 - 1774, when among with other islands of Cyclades was in the hands of Russians. The time of the Venice - Turkey war the Venice fleet took Aegean, having as a consequence Naxians to pay double taxes (in Venice and in Turkey). This lasted until 1699, when Turks by conquerinf Crete became the only leaders in Aegean.

The taxes in Turks were 6000 grosia in 1676 and 10500 in 1700. Naxos had a Turkish commander and six co-commanders, who were elected every year from the inhabitants. On the 21st October 1675 Naxos town was raided by pirate Ougo d' Kreveler. Three years later (26th August 1678) d' Kreveler, with a lot of French and Maniates pirates came to Naxos and captured the commander and his brother Ali Tselempi. They capture also and other Turks, men , women and children and they caused a lot of damage. Naxos suffered a lot, because Turks assumed that the capture of the commander was done after a deal with Naxians.

In 1826 the Austrian admiral Paulugi, attacked with his fleet against Naxos and 700 men conquered the town. According to them the cause was that the residents of Naxos, Kasos and Crete, equipped pirate boats and robbed Austrian cargo ships. Paulugi left three days later after taking a signed paper of obedience from Cretans, while Naxians were safe in the highest mountain of the island.

In May 1941 Naxos was occupied by the Italians and in October 1943 by Germans.
It was freed on the 15th October 1944.


4th millennium BC Neolithic settlements.
3rd millennium BC Cycladic period. Naxos was one of the most important centers of Cycladic civilization, today considered as the oldest civilized culture in Europe. Their main archaeological artifacts are the famous Cycladic statuettes.
8th - 6th century BC A wealthy society is dominant. It participates in the colonization of Naxos of Sicily (734 BC). Imposing and famous votive offerings of Naxiots, such as the Sphinx at Delphi and the Lions of Delos, give evidence of the high development of Naxos and the flowering of great sculpture on the island.
480 BC Naxos fights in the naval battle of Salamis, on the side of the Athenians against the Persians.
41 BC Naxos becomes a Roman Province.
4th century AD -1207 AD Byzantine period.
1207-1564 Venetian occupation.
1564-1821 Turkish occupation.
6 May 1821 The 1821 Rebellion.
3rd of February 1830 Naxos, together with Cyclades, is incorporated into the newly founded Greek State.


HistoryNaxos has been inhabited without interruption from the 4th millennium BC to the present. In ancient times Naxos was the ...  
ActivitiesThe most popular sport in Naxos is windsurfing. Because of the wind of the Aegean Sea (5 - 6 beaufort and sometimes even...  
EntertaimentNaxos is one of the cycladic islands that combine intense and quiet nightlife the same time....  
Naxos BeachesEnjoy the white sand. In Naxos there are a lot of beautiful beaches...  
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Hotel Astir of Naxos, Saint George Beach, Naxos Town, Cyclades, Naxos Island
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