According to what is written in the Tour of Pausanias, the island was inhabited in prehistoric times by the Pelasgians, a pre-Hellenic people who came down from Thrace. It is possible, however, that before the settlement of the Pelasgians in Skiathos, the island was inhabited by Keres. It is also possible that they had come to the island of Cretans who we know had occupied the neighboring Peparithos (today's Skopelos). This case is supported by the fact that one of the cult names of the god Dionysus, who was worshiped on the rest of the islands occupied by the Cretans, was "Skianthios", an epithet that resembles the name of the island. Later, they came and settled in Skiathos Chalkideis. The Halkidians were Ionians and it seems that they arrived on the island in the 7th or 6th century in one of their marches to establish colonies in Halkidiki. they built their city on the south-east of the harbor on the hill, so that it dominates the entire large bay and the inner double harbor. It was surrounded by a wall of square marble stones, large and rough, and communicated with the hinterland and the harbor by two gates. This city was inhabited throughout the classical, Hellenistic and Byzantine times until the time when the medieval city, Kastro, was created in the northern part of the island. Skiathos appears again in the historical foreground during the period of the Persian Wars in 480 BC, when the Persian fleet was coming down from Thessaloniki, the Greeks who were waiting for it at Artemisium in Evia were alerted by torches from Skiathos. During the Median period, it seems that Skiathos helped the Greeks and was one of the cities that did not " The Spartans, however, violated the provisions of the peace and soon recaptured Skiathos, stationed a military garrison and imposed heavy taxation. In 378/7 BC when Athens established the Second Athenian alliance, in order to face the expansionist moods of the Spartans, Skiathos once again took its side. In the Second Athenian hegemony, Skiathos remained for about 40 years and during this time its economic situation improved so much that in about the middle of the 4th century BC. century minted copper coins with the representation of the head of Hermes on one side and the pulpit with the word CKIATHI on the other. Later the island was used by the Athenians as a naval station and base for their operations against Philip II of Macedonia. In 338 BC
HELLENIC - ROMAN PERIOD
The Macedonians established an oligarchic government in Skiathos and the island lived undisturbed for many years.
Historically, it appears again from the time of Philip V (238-279 BC) Skiathos in those years suffered a lot because the military operations with the Romans took place in the surrounding areas.
With the start of the Second Macedonian War, in 200/199 BC. Philip orders the destruction of Skiathos and Skopelos so that they do not fall into the hands of the enemy navy and be used against him. In the same year, the Roman fleet and the fleet of Attalus I of Pergamum, who was an ally of Rome, arrive at the island and take as booty what was left of the destroyed and deserted island. Despite all the destruction, the city quickly recovered and after Philip's defeat at Kynos Kefales in 197 BC. the democratic state was restored.
In 146 BC the whole of Greece was enslaved by the Romans and Skiathos followed the same fate. In 42 BC, after the battle of Philippi, the victorious Antony gave Skiathos along with some other islands to the Athenians as thanks for the help they had given him.
BYZANTIUM - VENETIAN RULE
We have little information about Skiathos from the first Byzantine period.
Administratively, it belonged to the province of Thessaly, which was part of the Macedonian subject, and with the spread of Christianity on the island, a bishop's seat was created that belonged to the metropolis of Larissa.
In 758 AD during the reign of Kopronymos, the Byzantine fleet was anchored in the port of Skiathos, which went to help Thessaloniki from the attack of Bulgarians and Slavs. In the 7th AD century Skiathos suffers greatly from the pirate raids of the Saracens in the Aegean.
When the Byzantine Empire was overthrown by the Franks in 12O4 and the Aegean islands were given to the Venetians, Skiathos, Skopelos as well as other islands of the Cyclades were given to the brothers Andreas and Jeremiah Gizi, Venetian businessmen.
The Gizi granted the residents self-government with several privileges that were also valid in the Second Venetian Empire, but they abolished the Orthodox bishopric. For their residence and the security of the city, they built a new castle in Skiathos in the Great Port, the so-called Bourtzi. The Gizi brothers ruled Skiathos until 1259 and their successors for 17 more years, until 1276 when the Byzantine fleet expelled them from the North Sporades.
Skiathos belonged to the Byzantine state until 1453. Byzantine rule was rather typical because the pirate raids that plagued the Aegean in those years did not let Constantinople effectively impose itself on the islands it had recaptured. Thus, in the middle of the 14th century, the Skiathians, now desperate from the successive raids of both pirates and Turks, abandoned their coastal city and built a new, safer, Castle, in the north of the island on a steep rock that was and natural fortress.
When in 1453 Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks, the Skiathites preferred the Venetian occupation because only Venice could protect them from the Turks. Therefore, they asked the Venetians to occupy the island on the condition that the privileges given to the island by the Gizi would be ratified and the seat of the Orthodox Bishop would be preserved, requests which were accepted. Thus begins the Second Venetian rule in Skiathos, which lasted until 1538. However, the lives of the inhabitants did not improve, the pirate raids continued, and the Venetians oppressed them to such an extent that when the Castle was besieged by Barbarossa in 1538, there were some who in order to be freed from their tyranny, they did not hesitate to surrender it to him.
TURKISH KINGDOM (1538 - 1821)
The Turkish rule of Skiathos begins in 1538 and is formalized in 1540 with the signing of the Venetian-Turkish peace. During this period the island was ruled by a Turkish commander, the Voivode, who was assisted by the aldermen or provosts who were elected every year. annually the inhabitants paid a tax, the haraci. On the island there was also a cadis for judicial cases, an agas for administrative cases, a zampitis for taxation.
The Skiathites were obliged to serve for some time in the Turkish fleet, but later this mandatory term was turned into a monetary contribution to the "Melachikas".
In the middle of the 17th century, in 1660, the Venetian admiral Frangiskos Morozinis occupies the Castle and restores the Venetian rule for the third time, which however did not last long because the Turks recaptured it and continued their rule until the start of the Greek Revolution. Over the years, the Turks living in Skiathos dwindled.
The office of the voevoda (commander) ended up being taken over by the locals, and the other Turkish authorities were mostly non-existent on the island and their services were performed by the aldermen who thus, little by little, acquired more rights. But the inhabitants continued to suffer from piracy.
Despite all the trials, the Skiathites did not forget shipping. Thus, from the beginning of the 11th century they began to build small ships with which they carried out transport and trade in the nearby places and later, with larger ships, they reached Egypt and the Black Sea.
The desire for Freedom was unquenchable for the Skiatians. So in 1770 they participated in the victorious naval battle of Cesme alongside the Russian admiral Alexios Orlof and a little later they offered men and ships to the legendary Greek naval fighter Lambros Katsonis who was operating at that time against the Turks with raids on the Turkish coast and attacks against Turkish ships.
An event of great importance for the island and for all of Greece was the creation of the first Greek Flag with a white cross on a blue background in September 1807 at the Holy Monastery of the Annunciation of the Virgin.
GREEK REVOLUTION 1821
Skiathos, although far from the center of operations and an easy prey for the Turkish fleet, soon supported the Greek Revolution. At that time he had a sufficient number of equipped ships with trained crews from the previous sea races in which he had taken part. Thus the Skiathic ships greatly helped the Race.
At that time, many refugees who were forced to leave their homelands, when the revolutionary movements in these parts failed, found refuge in Skiathos. Approximately 30,000 refugees from the villages of Pelion, Olympus, Evia, Epirus who sought refuge in the Northern Sporades are estimated. The gathering of so many people in such a small place had the consequence of creating housing and food problems and - as there were also armed among them - it did not take long for order to be disrupted and anarchy to prevail. Thus, the island suffered for years from acts of violence and looting by the Liapis, who remained in Skiathos even when most of the refugees returned to their homelands or settled in other places. In 1823 the Turks attempted to recapture it, but were decimated.
Source: Municipality of Skiathos