History of Folegandros


Historians believe that the name Folegandros derived from the son of Minos, the former king of Crete. The claim of historians is supported by the discovery of ancient coins issued by the local municipality revealing the image of Folegandros stamped on the coins. The island of Folegandros served as an asylum for those who were banished from the island of Crete. There is another school of thought regarding the name of the island, believing that the name Folegrandos is derived from a Phoenecian word meaning a rock-strewn land, which is exactly what the island is.

The history of Folegandros starts in the Prehistoric times. The Cares from Asia Minor were the first inhabitants of the island. Then came the Cretans who ruled the island with emperor Folegandros at the helm. After the Cretans, it was the turn of the Dorians to follow. Archaeologists have found evidence of this by way of inscriptions that were unearthed from here. This is perhaps one of the principal reasons why Folegandros did not take part in the 1st Athenian Alliance which was held way back in 478 B.C.


It was in the year 1828, after many fights of the inhabitants, that Folegandros was set free from the Turkish rule and was integrated to the rest of Greece. Folegandros used to be the place of exile for political prisoners from 1900 to 1970. The exiled prisoners were involved in useful works and they established cordial relationship with the local residents. The political prisoners were experts in wood carving and often would participate in the local fairs and festivals of the island. The history of Folegandros counts on many events and findings from the ancient to modern times.