History of the island of Skiathos

Prehistoric times. According to the 'Travels', by an anonymous writer, Skiathos was inhabited in prehistoric times by Pelasgians, a pre-hellenic tribe. It is possible, though, that before the Pelasgian settlement in Skiathos the island may have been inhabited by Careans.

Early and Classical times. After these ancient settlers, the Sporades were inhabited by the Chalcedeans who built their town on the southeastern side of the harbour. According to historian Herodotus, in 480 B.C., when the Persian fleet was sailing down from Thessaloniki, the Greeks awaiting it at Artemision in Euboea, were warned by lighted torches on Skiathos. During the period of the Delian Alliance, Skiathos had its own democratic and autonomous administration.After the Peloponnesian war, in 414 B.C. Skiathos came under the rule of Sparta. In 386 B.C. Skiathos was officially declared independent but the Spartans violated the peace treaty and soon seized Skiathos again. In 378 B.C. Athens established the 2nd Athenian Alliance and Skiathos once again ranged with Athens. Skiathos was later used by the Athenians as a naval port. In 338. B.C. Skiathos came under Macedonian rule.

Hellenistic and Roman times. The Macedonians established an oligarchic system of government in Skiathos and the island remained undisturbed for many years. In 199 B.C. the Roman fleet arrived on the island. When the Macedonian Kingdom was overthrown in 168 B.C., the Romans granted a degree of freedom to the Greek cities and states. In 42 B.C., after the battle of Philippi the victor, Antony, handed over Skiathos along with some other islands to the Athenians, as a token of gratitude. Skiathos thus re-established its democratic regime.

 

Skiathos Greece greek islandThe Byzantine period and Venetian rule. During the first years of the Byzantine period, Skiathos belonged to the province of Thessaly. During the 7th century Skiathos suffered much Saracen pirate raids in the Aegean. In 204 Skiathos was taken over by the brothers Andrea and Jeremia Ghisi, Venetian merchants. They built a new fortress called Bourtzi in the great harbour for their residence and for the security of town. The Ghisi brothers ruled until 1259, their successors continuing for a further 17 years, until 1276, when the Byzantine fleet drove them out of Skiathos. The island remained within the Byzantine state until 1453. Following the continuos pirate raids, the people of Skiathos abandoned the town and built a new, safer one, the Kastro on the northern side of the island. When Constantinopole fell to the Turks in 1453, Skiathos chose Venetian rule. The Venetian rulers were so harsh that when, in 1538, the fortress was besieged by Barbarossa, the inhabitants, in order to rid themselves of the tyranny of the Venetians, did not hesitate to surrender it to him.

The period of Turkish domination. The Turkish domination began in 1538 when the Turco - Venetian peace treaty was signed. The island was ruled by a Turkish governor who was assisted by the elders of the island. There were also quite a few Turks living on the island at that time In the year 1660, the Venetian admiral Francesco Morosini seized the Kastro and Venetian rule was re-established for the third time. The Turks soon took the Kastro again. The inhabitants continued to suffer pirate raids which still harried them relentlessly.

 

The Greek War of Independence. Skiathos soon joined the ranks of those fighting the independence. At that time, it possessed a good number of fully equipped ships, with trained and experienced crews. When their revolutionary efforts failed, many people found refuge in Skiathos. This influx of population caused problems, as shelter and food became scarce. The island was plagued for years by violence and looting. In 1823 the Turks tried to take the island again but were defeated. In 1829, after the signing of the Protocol of London, the inhabitants of Skiathos abandoned the Kastro and resettled along the harbour, when the ancient town had stood.

 

Skiathos GreeceRecent history. Skiathos became officially independent upon the signing of a new Protocol in 1830. This protocol ceded to the Greek state - apart from other regions - the "Demon Islands", that is Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos. After independence, navigation on Skiathos once more flourished, and continued to grow until 1930. Shipbuilding mostly took space on Skiathos, as in the island's thick forests there was plenty of wild pine, which was used for the large sailing vessels.