The current name of the island comes from the ancient Greek Samos, which means "height near the shore" and was one of its names in antiquity, according to Herodotus.
The name of the island is widely known because of the statue of the winged Victory (Victory of Samothrace), which is today in the Louvre in Paris and dates from 220-190 BC. The statue is thought to have been a vow of the Rhodians to the Great Gods for some maritime victory and was discovered broken into 118 pieces, scattered around their sanctuary, in 1863 by the French archaeologist Charles Champoiseau. s Samothraki has been inhabited since prehistoric times, when the mystical religion of the Kaveri was born that established the island as one of the greatest religious centers of antiquity. Later, during the 7thcentury, the first Greeks of Aeolian origin came to the island. Today's Palaiapoli, in ancient times, was the most important center of the island, which was ruled by a "king", who worshiped Athena as her protector and minted her own silver coin. Then Samothrace came under the rule of the Macedonians and the Romans. Perseus, the last king of Macedonia, chose the island as his last refuge before falling into the hands of the Romans. During the Middle Ages, under the Byzantine Empire, the island was a place of exile, and was often attacked by foreigners, Slavs, Saracens or other pirates. To protect against attacks, the castle of Chora was built as well as the vigil towers in Palaiapoli and Fonia. In the era of the European Renaissance and in recent years, Samothraki experienced serious trials:the century was limited to just 800 inhabitants. The upsurge of the following century was followed by the revolution of 1821, when the Turks massacred the greater part of the revolted inhabitants. But the island managed to regenerate economically and population-wise and in 1912 it was united with Greece. After the ordeal of World War II came the hemorrhaging of immigration. Finally, however, Samothraki once again got back on its feet and today has approximately 2500 inhabitants

Source: Municipality of Samothraki