Excavations have revealed that the first inhabitants of Mykonos, which is located right across Delos, in the center of the Cyclades complex, were Carians; something that is also mentioned by Herodotus. Phoenicians, Egyptians, Minoans and, finally, Ionians followed next.
Not many things are known about Mykonos during the ancient times. It had always been in the shadow of Delos, which was considered a sacred island, being the birthplace of god Apollo and goddess Artemis. Mykonos did become an important place for supplies and transit; however, it remained a poor island with limited agricultural resources.
During the reign of the Roman Empire, Mykonos came under the control of the Romans and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. At the beginning of the 13th century, Mykonos was occupied by Andrea Ghisi and finally given over to direct Venetian rule, in 1390.
In 1537, Mykonos was attacked by Hayreddin Barbarossa, the infamous admiral of the Ottoman fleet. The Ottomans imposed a system of self-governance and when the nearby island of Tinos fell to the Ottomans in 1718, the Venetians withdrew from the region.
Mykonos prospered as a trading centre until the end of the 18th century.
The inhabitants of Mykonos played an important role during the Greek War of Independence that broke out in 1821. Manto Mavrogenous was a national heroine that invited the leaders of Mykonos to join the revolution and spent all her fortune for the Hellenic cause.
Greece finally became an independent state in 1830. Despite the fact that the economy of Mykonos island was completely destroyed, it managed to reinforce its commercial power later on, thanks to the sailing and merchant activities of the Mykonians. However, the economy declined again during the late 19th century and during the First World War.
Thankfully, the local economy was hugely assisted by tourism. In the 1930s many famous artists, politicians and rich Europeans would spend their vacations in Mykonos, which became a hot spot for travelers from all over the world.
Tourists started coming to Mykonos again after the end of the Second World War, in the 1950s and 1960s—and have not stopped since.
Today, it’ s no wonder that Mykonos is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world!