Tradition has it that it owes its name to the bushy plant Schino that abounds throughout the island. According to another version, the island got its name from the Venetian lord Schinoza. However, in the past we also meet the island with the names Echinoussa and Panidia.
The island has been inhabited since the prehistoric period and according to the archaeological findings we can conclude that Schinoussa had a part in the creation of the Proto-Cycladic civilization with the neighboring island of Keros as the most important center. During the Byzantine era, Schinoussa developed an important commercial activity, and it seems that it experienced some prosperity, which is evident from the abundant Byzantine ceramic findings and the number of building remains of Byzantine temples. From the end of the 11th century it belonged to the monastery of Panagia Chozoviotissa in Amorgos. Later it joined the Duchy of the Aegean with Marko Sanoudos as its ruler. In 1537, after the occupation of Naxos by Hairedin Barbarossa, the island came under the Ottoman Empire.
In various time periods the small settlements of Schinousa were abandoned by the inhabitants, due to the frequent pirate raids. We do not have enough information to be able to present in more detail the history of Schinousa. The little information we know about the island, regarding medieval times and the period of Ottoman rule, comes from reports of administrative and ecclesiastical officials of neighboring islands, such as Naxos and Amorgos. So it seems that the island was abandoned during most of the Ottoman rule and began to be inhabited again around the middle of the 19th century, when Schinoussa had already joined the Greek state, since its foundation in 1830. The new inhabitants of Schinoussa were mainly Amorgians and engaged in agriculture and animal breeding. In the 20th century, however, the majority of the inhabitants left the island and settled in the capital, looking for a better life.
From 1941 to 1944 Schinoussa followed the fate of the Cyclades, passing into Italian occupation (1941-1943) and then into German occupation, until its liberation in 1944.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou