Paros has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Like the rest of the Cyclades, it was one of the centers of the Cycladic culture. From an early age it entered into close relations with Crete, which is why one of the names attributed to it is Minois or Minoa. Other names mentioned for the island are Kavarnis, Yria, Panaitia, etc. Its current name is due to Paros who was the leader of the Arcadians who settled on the island.
The oldest traces of social life in Paros were found on the islet of Saliago, between Paros and Antiparos, which was one of the oldest settlements of the prehistoric Aegean (5th - 4th millennium BC).
During the Bronze Age (3200 - 1100 BC), three great civilizations appeared in the Greek area: the Cycladic (3200 - 2000 BC), the Minoan (2000 - 1500 BC) and the Mycenaean (1600 - 1100 BC). Remains of a settlement from the Proto-Cycladic period were found on the hill of the Castle of Parikia. Other notable settlements of the same period were located in various parts of Paros (Kambos, Dryos, Koukounaries, Plastiras, Glyfa, Faragas). During the period of Minoan rule in the Aegean, Paros was a major military and commercial center of the Minoan state and was populated by Cretans. The legend says that the leader of the Cretans who settled the island was Alkaios, who built the first city in the place of today's Parikia and gave it the honorary name Minoa (royal city). As Minoan Crete began to weaken, in mainland Greece the powerful city of Mycenae develops. In Paros, remains of the Mycenaean civilization were discovered on the Koukounaries hill, near Naoussa and on the hill of the castle of Parikia.
Around 1100 BC, a group of Arcadians led by Paros settles on the island and gives it the name of their leader. Later, new settlers arrived, the Ionians. Paros is developing into a great naval power. The marble trade brings wealth to the island. Agriculture and animal husbandry are developing.
Parians colonize in 680 BC. Thassos and exploit the gold deposits of the Thracian coasts. The prosperity of the Parians and the excellent marble of Paros, the lychnite, contribute to the creation of famous sculpture workshops on the island. It flourished in the 7th BC. century and poetry with the main representative being the lyric poet Archilochus, who is considered equal to Homer. Meanwhile, a new power appears in the East, the Persians.
During the Classical period, in 490 BC, the oligarchic power of Paros accepted the Persians on the island and a large part of its army sided with the Persian fleet in the campaigns against Greece. After the defeat of the Persians (480 BC), the Athenian fleet led by Themistocles comes to the island and Paros is forced to become a member of the Athenian alliance. In that period, the famous Parian sculptors Scopas and Agorakritos lived and created. The city of Paros (at the location of today's Parikia) had at that time 50,000 inhabitants and was adorned with magnificent buildings and temples, a theater and a stadium. With the end of the classical period, during the Hellenistic times (323 BC - 167 BC), Paros became an ally of the Macedonians until the death of M. Alexander.
The period between the death of Alexander the Great and the submission of the Hellenistic kingdoms to the Romans is characterized by conflicts and reorganizations. New kingdoms claim the Cyclades. For many years Paros belonged to the sovereignty of the Ptolemies.
During the Roman period (167 BC - 330 AD), Paros and the rest of the Cyclades as well as a large part of mainland Greece were a province of the Roman Empire. Development is halted and the island is used as a place of exile. Christianity spread in Paros as early as the 4th century as evidenced by the remains of early Christian churches and monuments. Then the first church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani was built, by order of Agia Eleni. Since the 10th century, Paros has been at the mercy of pirate raids that cause widespread destruction.
After the capture of Constantinople by the Franks, in 1204, Paros joined the Duchy of the Aegean (1207) and passed successively to various Venetian families. The inhabitants of the island work in the fields like serfs without owning the land while still suffering from pirate raids and looting. Naoussa becomes a base and stronghold of pirates. During the period of Venetian rule, the castles of Parikia, Naoussa and Kefalos (Marpissa) were built.
Finally, the island is captured by the terrible pirate Barbarossa (1537), plundered and deserted and thus ends the period of Venetian rule. The island, destroyed and weakened, is occupied by the Turks (1560). During the Russo-Turkish wars (1770 - 1777) the Russian fleet used the safe bay of Naoussa as a base in order to prevail in the Aegean. In the Greek Revolution of 1821, Paros took an active part and the heroine of the War Manto Mavrogenous acted here.
During the German occupation, Paros went through very difficult times. After the end of the Second World War, for economic reasons, the Parians are forced to migrate first to Piraeus and later abroad. However, in the 1960s, a new period of development began for Paros, with tourism as its main axis.
Source: Municipality of Paros