History of Sifnos

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In the prehistoric years, Sifnos was uninhabited, as all the Cyclades, being full of forests and rich fauna.This situation began to change at the Neolithic period where islands were inhabited, therefore people started to burn forests in order to create fields and pasture lands.Thus Cycladic landscape was shaped as we know it today.
Sifnos was inhabited from “Proellines” or “Aigaious”(3000-2000B.C.).This period was marked with appreciable mining activity. The very first silver mining of the world (late fourth, top third millennium BC) was founded in the region of Agios Sostis and along with the other mines (gold, copper and iron in the regions of Agios Silvestros, Vorinis, Kapsalou and Ksero Ksulo) – the operations of which are regarded from scientists as a decisive move from the Stone age to the Bronze age, have established Sifnos as one of the richest regions of the Ancient world.
Sifnos became a centre of the early Cycladic culture at an early stage.Arcaeologists brought to light prehistoric graves in Akrotiraki and Pounta. Around 2000-1450 B.C., Sifnos was influenced by the Minoans, the island was named Meropi and the ancient city of Minoa was founded. Today, it is propably in the region of Ellinika. The Mycaenean period followed with citadels in the regions: Profitis Ilias of Troullakiou, Agios Andreas, Agios Nikitas and Kastro.
From 1130-1120 B.C. Iones from Athens were installed in the island with Alkinoras as their leader. It is speculated that in this time came the foundation of “asteos” at the current Kastro and the renaming of the island to Sifnos. From the 8th-5th century B.C., Sifnos met economic blossoming thanks to its mining wealth and had its own currency. Then the city was fortified, a council was founded, a market, a church and fryktories, observatories, “optical telegraphs” for greater protection of the mining wealth.
The eminent treasure of Sifnos was founded in Delphi in 525 B.C. and residents received the honorary distinction of “promanteia”.In 524 B.C. political exiles from Samos came to the island and withdrew by getting the sum of one hundred talanta, an action that shook the economy of the island along with the legendary sinking of the mine coasts of Agios Sostis.
During the Persian wars, locals denied giving “ground and water” and took part in the naval battle of Salamina (480 B.C.) with a battle ship with fifty oars.
After that Sifnos became a member of the A’ and B’ of Athenian alliance. At that period, the Sifnian poet and musician Filoxenidis lived on the island. In 388 B.C. the island came under Macedonian dominance.
From 146 B.C to 324 B.C. Sifnos was under Roman possession. Residues of monuments of the Roman period are marble feretories with sculptural decor that is saved in the Kastro and an altar that is found in the church of Koimisis Theotokou.
At the early Byzantine period, the island belonged to the Byzantine “Province of the islands” with Rhodes as capital, while at the middle Byzantine period it constituted department of ” Subject of the Aegean Seas” with Samos as capital.
At the duration of iconoclasms, due to persecutions, a lot of intellectual persons found shelter in Sifnos and contributed to the island’s intelluctual growth.
From 1207-1262 Sifnos came under the dukes of archipelago, Markos and Aggelos Sanoudos. Later it came back to the sovereignity of Byzantium and in 1307 was conquered and controlled by the dynastic house of dakoronia. In 1464 with the marriage of Marieta Dakoronia and Nikolaos Gozadinos-of the hegemonic house of Kea and Thermia, Sifnos came under the hegemony of Gozadinoi.
In 1537 Chairentin Mbarmbarosa conquered the island for the Ottoman state, while with an exception of small breaks, the Gozadinoi ruled under Turkish suzerainty up to 1617.
At the period of the Ottoman domination the island island was managed by the Turkish Head of Fleet (Kapoudan Pasha). Then along with the communal Greek schools functioned also schools from catholic priests (Tziakomo Dellaroka-Domeniko Dellagrammatika,1625-1634, Frantsesko Mikeloutsi 1647-1649, Bartholomeu Dapolla, Gergio Peri 1660-1664) where Orthodox students also studied.
In 1642 the merchant and delegate of sifnos, Vasileios Logothetis founded the monastery of Panagia Vrysiani, while from 1646 until 1797, Sifnos was the seat of Archdiocese with jurisdiction over eleven islands and seat of the Bishop of Sifnomilos.
From 1687 to 1854, it is a peak period for education in Sifnos. The eminent school of Agios Tafos functioned at that point, known as “Paideftirio Archipelagous” in the church at the entry of Kastro, capital of the island until 1836.More than fifty Sifnians were elected in the position of archipriest.
From 1770 to 1774 Sifnos came under Russian possession.
In the list of the secret society that supported Greek Revolution, we find the following people from Sifnos: Nikolaos Gryparis, Dimitrios Lagos and Georgios Mpaos. In 1821 Nikolaos Chrysogelos (1780-1857) raised the flag of the Revolution in the school of Sifnos and was placed as head of the one hundred and fifty Sifnian warriors that were sent to Peloponnese. There he developed a multiform fighting action. He became minister of Education on the first government of Kapodistrias and was one of public education’s supporters. In 1883 Kamares were established as the official harbour of the island, while in 1914 the unified Municipality of Sifnos that was founded in 1836 was divided into two communities, those of Apollonia and Artemonas. From 1941-1944, the island was under Italian possession.
From 1999 the two communities of Sifnos became unified again and constitute the single Municipality of Sifnos.