Imathia is one of the oldest inhabited regions of Greece. The prehistoric settlement of Nea Nikomedia which dates back to 6,250 BC. and is one of the oldest rural settlements in Greece and all of Europe.
Imathia means "sandy area" (from amathos = sand) and was the name of the plain beyond the Thermaic gulf, when the Kingdom of Macedonia was formed. With this name was declared the area between Aliakmonas and Ludias, which was the core of the kingdom and included, among others, the cities of Edessa or Aiges, the ancient capital and Holy city of Macedonia, Veroia, Kition (today's Naoussa). For a time, the whole of Macedonia was called Imathia.
Homer called Imathia eratini, while Ptolemy mentioned the area among 13 other Macedonian urban centers. Polybius placed Imathia in the country of the Paeons.
In Naoussa, Herodotus places the famous "Gardens of Midas". The area has been inhabited since ancient times by the Brygians, who migrated from Asia to Europe even before the Trojan War.
According to local Macedonian myths, the three children of the mythical king of the region of Veri, his daughters gave their names to the two important cities of Imathia, Veroia and Mieza, while his son Olganos transformed into a river god and gave his name to Arapitsa river.
At the foot of the Pierian mountain range, where Vergina is today, was built Aiges, the old capital of Macedonia. The excavations revealed the palace, the theater where Philip was assassinated and Alexander III the Great was proclaimed king of Macedonia, the Great Tomb and the Royal Necropolis. The Royal Tombs of Vergina, the Tomb of Philip II and their unique finds, are without a doubt monuments of world renown.
Important Macedonian Tombs were also found in the area of Lefkadia in the Municipality of Anthemia, where three important burial monuments are preserved, the Tomb of Krisesos, the Tomb of Lysonos and Kallikleus and the Tomb of Anthemia. In the same area is the ancient city of Mieza (where it has partially come to light with the excavations) and Aristotle's School where Alexander the Great was taught by the great philosopher.
In the Roman years, the region experienced great prosperity and Veria became the seat of the "Macedonian Community" and a religious center.
In 54 AD, the Apostle Paul preaches the new Christian faith in Berea, where the "Step of the Apostle Paul" is preserved, the place where he spoke.
In the Byzantine period, the area experienced great development. Numerous (48 in number) Churches with amazing frescoes - hagiographies are preserved from this era, many of which are in the Byzantine Museum of the city of Veria.
During the Byzantine times, Veria was claimed by Bulgarians, Serbs and Byzantines, while in 1386 it was occupied by the Turks.
The wider area of the prefecture of Imathia, but especially Naoussa, for which there are also some historical testimonies, seems to have been deserted from Roman times until the 15th century, when it will be repopulated during the years of Ottoman rule, showing great prosperity in the field of textiles and of dyeing.
In 1705 the people of Naoussa refused to give their children to the janissary battalions and led by charioteer Zisis Karadimos raised the flag of rebellion.
In 1822 both Veria and Naoussa will revolt against the Turks. After the refusal of the Naussians to hand over their weapons and the city, a fierce siege begins and finally the Turks enter the city, suppressing the revolutionary uprising and drowning it in blood. On the Arapitsa river bridge, in Sdoubanoi, thirteen young women, to avoid dishonor, fell into the waterfall (the well-known "Naoussa Holocaust").
During the Macedonian struggle (1903-1908) Naoussa and Veria were important centers and strongholds of the Macedonian fighters against Turkish and Bulgarian comitatzis.
The region of Imathia was liberated from the Turkish yoke on October 16, 1912, after the victories of the Greek army. The area of the prefecture of Imathia was annexed to the Greek territory by the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913, where it was part of the prefecture of Thessaloniki.
During the German and Italian occupation, it was severely tested by the conquerors, as well as during the civil war, which was a theater of conflict.
In 1946, the prefecture of Imathia was formed, which included the province of the same name as well as the province of Naoussa.