Earliest inhabitant and first King according to tradition, was Inopion, the son of Dionissos or Thisseus and Ariadne, who came from Crete and
taught the locals how to grow vines.
The name of Chios comes from Chiona, who
was the daughter of Inopion. According to Ion, however, the name comes from Hios,
the son of Neptune, at the birth of whom, too much snow (hioni) fell on the
According to a third option by the historian Isidoros, the name Chios
comes from the Phoenicians and, in Syrian language, it means "mastic".
The island was at times mentioned by other
names as well, which were lost in time, such as Pitioussa (because of its pines), Makris because of its shape (Makri =
long), Aethalea (because of its volcano) and Ofioussa (because of the many
snakes = ofis, on it).
The archeological findings (at Ag. Galas and Emporios)
prove that the island has been inhabited since 6.000 B.C .
About the city of Chios there is some evidence earlier than the first Ionian
colonization when the Ionians from the mainland inhabited Chios around 1000 B.C.
and developed it into one of the greatest cities of the ancient times.
Not only did Chians make a profit by transporting goods from one place to
another, but also by trading on their own agricultural and industrial
production. The unique mastic was not the only source of wealth.
In the 16th
century Chios was a large city, the population of which is estimated at 60.000
-80.000 people not counting the slaves.
When Chios became a member of the Athenean Allience, it was free and
Until the Peloponesian War, there was a five -year period of peace
and growth. The destroyed city was rebuilt and the inhabitants progressed in
navy, commerce, accumulated on the island, which resulted in extreme luxury.
Athineos mentions that the Chians were famous for their ingenuity in cookery and
the Chian cooks were dearly south after. Thoukidides characterizes the Chians as
the "richest among Greeks" and praises the state of their city.
The Peloponesian war followed, during which the Chians fought
at first together with Athenians.
After their defeat in Sicilia, however, they
defected and declared their support of Sparti. Spartians imposed "dekarhia" (ten
tyrants) and a general ruler, so Chios knew again the vices of tyranny and
violence. They lost all their ships, which were now the Spartians. The Chians
regretted their defecting from the Athenians, very bitterly.
decline of Greece since the late 7th century and up to the 10th, affected Chios
as well. After that things are looking up again.
The final occupation of the island by the Genoans in 1346 started a new era.
Since 1566 the new occupants, the Turks, replaced the Genoans. The Turkish
occupation lasted 350 years (1566 -1912).
In 1821, Greece began their revolution against the Ottoman Empire.
years of slavery in their mother land, the Greeks took strength and fought for
At this time Chios did not take any part. They were a
peaceful people that had devoted their lives to the cultivation of MASTIC. This
product was mostly sold to the Sultan and because of this the people were given
more privileges than the rest of Greece and slavery was less difficult.
Regardless of these privileges, the people of Chios stood proud and rebelled
against the Ottoman empire.
In March of 1822, Likourgos Logothetis, of Samos,
led his army of 2,500 men and conquered Turkeys garrison.
When the Sultan heard word of this he ordered his leading commander Kara-Ali and
his fleet, to invade Chios and punish the people of Chios.
7,000 soldiers and slaughtered many of the people of the island. Not only did
the people of Chios suffer from the barbarian army of Kara-Ali but also beard
brutal punishment from the Ottoman army that hit from Asia Minor.
In a short period of time catastrophe had hit the beautiful Agean
island and the residents had either been slaughtered, but had been
taken prisoners and later sold as slaves.
The population of 100,000 Greeks, only
40,000 were able to flee to neighboring islands or mountains. The people that
fled to the mountains soon after were forced to leave the island as well.
end of August the population of Chios was down to 3,000 people.
The news of the barbarian slaughter reached the rest of Greece very quickly and
to neighboring European countries. Only then did the nations around the world
understand the importance and the justification of Greece's independance from
the Ottoman empire.
Since the Greeks were not able to stop the destruction of the island of Chios by
Kara-Ali, they decided to seek revenge against him. To lead the revengeful
mission was brave Constandinos Kanaris, naval commander, from the island of
The enemy fleet, even after having destroyed the island of Chios, was still
anchored in the islands port.
Celebrations for the Muslim holidays had coincided
with the destruction of Chios.
The Ottoman commander and sailors had stayed on
their vessel to begin the holiday celebrations.
More over the disastrous
earthquake in March 1881 turns everything into debris.
On June 4th, 1882, Kanari along with another naval commander and his ship,
Pipino, left from the island of Psara with their fire ships.
Kara-Ali's fleet and Pipino surrounded the lower fleet. After setting anchor and
lighting fire to their ships, they deserted their ships and sailed to shore
safely in small emergency boats.
The enemy ships noticed Pipino's fleet and were there on time to extinguish it.
Although, Kanaris' fleet was in blazes and soon enough the enemy ships had
caught fire and began to explode as fireworks in the sky. This victory took 1600
This encouraging victory gave strength to the Greeks for their independance and
from here on all battles were fought with zeal and conviction for their freedom.
By the time of Balkan battles in 11 of November 1912 Chios is finally free and
connected with the rest of Greek cities.
Chios was again under a foreign occupation in 4 of May 1941 when it was seized
by the Germans.
The German occupation was ended in 10 of September 1944 and
during this period Chian people were heroically resisted.