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History of Andros

Andros | History of Andros Island Greece

Here is some information concerning the history of Andros Island Greece to read before or after visiting this magnificent land of wild beauty, green landscapes and rich, historic past.

One of the first inhabitants of Andros were the Phoenicians. According to some historians, the capital of Andros was the Phoenician town of Arados which later became Andros.

One of the most important civilizations of the island was developed in Zagora area which reached its peak between 900-700 B.C. During the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods (600 B.C. -199 A.D.) Paleopolis (literally meaning the old city) was the capital of the island. Andros contributed to this period with its spiritual and material wealth and especially its naval strength.

During the Roman period, the island saw a decline with a small rise again during the years of the Adrianos’s Empire. During the years of the first Byzantine Emperor Constantinos, Andros was part of the Empire.

The basis for the prosperity in the area was the silkworm trade which occupied most of the inhabitants who used the top floors of their houses to cultivate the silkworms and to produce fine silk materials which were in demand in the capitals of Greece and in Europe and European businessmen came to the island to make their transactions.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire by the Crusadors in 1204, the Aegean was taken over by the Venetians. The island remained under the Venetian rule until 1566 when it was seized by the Turks. The Venetians, in order to protect the island from the pirates and the Turks, had built castles, towers and lookout posts.

The Turks seize Andros in 1566 but due to privileges which were in force from the beginning of the occupation, the island remained self-governing.

Greek schools in Andros started in the 18th century due to an attempt by the Ottoman regime to be more liberal. In the churches and monasteries the priests and monks taught the Greek language together with the values of western enlightenment and along with this came the spiritual re-birth in the shape of Theophilos Kairis who raised the flag for the National Revolution on the tower of the church of St. George in Andros, on March 10th 1821.

During the second half of the 19th century a new bourgeois class emerged made up from the families of those involved in the wealthy shipping business. Ship captains built themselves up into ship-owners and their ships (mostly with names starting with ANDROS) made the name of Andros famous all over the world.

In the past 20 years, along with the shipping business and the rudimentary farming business came the development of the tourist industry with all its positive and negative aspects and which has peaked in the last ten years.
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