History of Thassos Island, Greece

Ancient Market, Limenas Village

Thassos Name

Thassos is believed to have been named after Thassos, the son or grandson of Aginoras, the king of Phoenicia. Thassos went to the island in search or Europe and he established himself there as its first king. Other ancient sources claim other names for the island, such as “Hieria”, by her chill summer breeze, “Athria”, by her clear sky, “Coast of Goddess Demetra”, by her fertile ground or “Dasos”, meaning forest in Greek, from the many forests on the island.

History of Thassos

An island, a thousand stories!  When the Phoenicians, in the Neolithic Era, inhabited for the first time in this unique place, may not have imagined that they would be charmed by its beauty and would keep them there forever.  Later, the Thracians, discovered over the landscape of Thassos not only the magic, but the wealth as well; the mines with their abundant deposits, gave them power, but also became subject to claim by the Ionians of Paros.  As a result, the island was occupied in the 7th century, which marked a new era for Thassians, who founded colonies with continuous economic and cultural progress.

The Archaic period in Greece, found Thassos powerful, with highly developed trade!  During the Medic wars the island was conquered by the Persians, while during the Peloponnesian war, Athenians and Spartans had the island within their aspirations.  However, those who gave impetus to Thassos were the Romans!  The mines may have been used up, but nature endowed the place with two other elements of enrichment; marbles and wine.  The Byzantine era, does not seem to have favored Thassos; after the first fall of Constantinople, in 1204, the Doge of Venice Henry Dandolo conquered the “emerland” of the Aegean. 

Later, Thassos incorporated into then state of Thessaloniki, and after the recapture of Constantinople by Michael Palaeologus, became once again a part of Byzantine, where it remained until 1455, however under the hegemony of Francis Genovese Getalouzos, that was grated to him as a gift.  From 1455 and up to 1770, Turkish conquerors put their stamp on Thassos, while in 1770, was the turn of Russians to occupy the island.  The Turkish Egyptian Mehmet Ali, had Thassos under his possession from 1813, while in 1821, in the Greek revolution, Thassians also participated, but without great success. 

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