HISTORY OF KYTHERA
The island of Kythera is historically much afflicted. It passed through the hands and the ambition of many conquerors and that's because of its key geographical position.
It got many times in the way of maelstrom piratical raids and plundering lived periods of prosperity but also periods of total desolation. Kythera where first inhabited by the Phoenicians a trading people, that established in the island merchant and naval yard that served them in the production of murex (=paint of the glamorous dresses of the ancient times), while they imported the worship of the goddess of love and of pure Eros, Celestial Aphrodite.
The geographical particularity of the island naturally attracted the Laconians who during the flourish of the Mycenaean Civilization (1500-1100) banished the Phoenicians and took over the island. During the Peloponnesian war (431-404) the island was either in the hands of the Athenians or the Spartans until finally went on the Spartans in 387 B.C.
The island was inhabited by Peloponnesian (they established in the north of the island) and Cretan (established in the south part) colonists, only when the Arab pirates were banished from the Mediterranean.
In 1204 the island was taken over by the Venetians and from that point the changes in the authority of the island is very often. Meanwhile the Turks already hit the Eastern Mediterranean and were in war situation with the Venetians.
The Turks took over Monemvasia in 1540 and the Venetians prompted many Monemvasians (amongst them where many Kytherians) to establish in Kythera. A second invasion in the island in 1571 from Turks and Algerians gave them the coup de grace.
The Venetians, the Maniats and the Kytherians battled against the Turks during the siege of Monemvasia in 1715. the Turks dominated only three years in the island (1715-1718) until the Turkish fleet was beaten and the Venetian domination returned in the island.
In 1797 the French took all the Ionian Islands and of course Kythera. In 1798 they got under the siege of the Russians and the Turks. In 1807 the Ionian Islands were taken over once again by the French, while in 1809 the English obtained once again the domination of Kythera (and the Ionian Islands). During the English possession a lot of works were made in the island.
At the end the unification of the Ionian Islands with the rest of Greece happened in 1864 and the anniversary is celebrated every 21st of May.
HISTORY OF KYTHERA