History of Milos
Milos is located at the south westernmost end of the Cyclades complex and is the fifth biggest island of this complex. The island extends over a surface of 151 km2, its coastline is 126 km long and it has 4,770 inhabitants. The unusual rock formations, their wonderful colors and the enchanting beaches with white sand and chiseled rocks are due to the volcanic soil of the island.
Milos has rich metal resources. The extraction of obsidian contributed to the economic growth of the island during the ancient times. One of the most ancient mines of the Mediterranean is located here.
Milos and Kimolos used to be one island, but an earthquake split the island into two. The volcanic nature has blessed the island with many bays, and the large, natural harbour made it a perfect place for some of the earliest settlers in Greece. There is evidence that the island was inhabited as far back as the 6th Millennium BC!
Both the Minoans and Mycenaeans had settlements here in the 2nd Millennium BC and the island blossomed because of the good connections with other island, as well as the mainland. Milos produced large quantities of obsidian, a volcanic rock well suited to make weapons from.
Because Milos was such a rich island, the Athenians took an interest in it during Classical years, and the locals were forced to pay annual tributes to Athens. The Romans conquered the island in the 2nd century BC, and even built their own society here.
Milos was one of the first Greek islands to be Christianized, and in the catacombs from the 2nd century the skeletons of over 2000 persons have been found. The catacombs were also used as a hiding place when persecutors of the Christians, avenging Venetians, Turks or pirates attacked the island. Around the same time, the Romans also build a theatre here, which still is used from time to time.
The Venetian Duchy with Naxos as a centre, included Milos as well from the 13th century. In 1537 the Turks took over, and Milos was not liberated until the 19th century after the War of Independence had started in 1821