Greek mythology states that this island was inhabited by shepherds who came from Western Greece and were looking for pastures. Because most of them were men, the island was then called Polyandros. This is where the sailors' habit of calling the island Polykadro comes from.
Later it was inhabited by the Cretans under the son of Minos Folegandros. However, from inscriptions found on the island, the first inhabitants must have been Dorians from Santorini of the Aegis family. In the time of ancient Greece, Artemis and Apollo were worshiped on the island.
There are two possible versions for its name: a) it was named after the Minoan prince Folegandros (travellers the Minoans arrived here from North Crete) or b) it comes from the Phoenician word "Phelekgundari" which meant "dry place".
Ancient ruins (mainly Roman) as well as Medieval artifacts have been found everywhere on the island, witnesses of the many nationalities and tribes that inhabited the island in the past. Dorians, Ionians, Athenians, Romans, Venetians and finally the Russians passed through here, who handed it over to Turkish jurisdiction in 1617. It was deserted in 1715 after the landing of the Turkish admiral Janum Hoxha, who plundered it and was repopulated around 1770.
From 1900 to 1970, Folegandros was a place of exile for political prisoners. The political prisoners were monitored by a large number of gendarmes. The exiles had to present themselves daily to the gendarmerie who followed them on their walks and especially when they were swimming. The exiles engaged in manual labor and acquired excellent relations with the inhabitants of the island. They often made very fine works of art, they were particularly fond of woodcarving and often participated in the feasts, feasts and festivals of the island.

Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou