Sikinos History

The original name of Sikinos in the ancient times was Oinoe which derives from the word "oinos", meaning wine in Greek. The first reference of this name was made by Solon in 604 BC revealing that Sikinos has been popular for its wine cultivation since the ancient times. However, an interesting story lies behind the current name of the island, Sikinos. Thoas, the king of the island of Lemnos, had to flee from his home island to save himself from the local women. The women in Lemnos had started a revolt against all the males and slaughtered them one by one. Thoas managed to escape by hiding in a trunk. The trunk was drifted all the way to Oinoe. There, Thoas met a nymph and had a son with her whom he named Sikinos. The island was named after this man.

The archaeological and historical remnants found in and around Sikinos show that the island has been inhabited since the Mycenean times. The Ionians were the first to occupy the island, in the 10th century B.C. Following them, the Dorians arrived from the mainland during the 5th century B.C. Sikinos had the same luck with the other Cycladic islands and received many attacks from the pirates. It was ruled by the Venetians and the Turks who conquered the island in 1537. The island suffered a lot during the Turk regime. The people fought bravely against the Turks and as a result, the island got its freedom in the 19th century and became part of the Greek state in 1830.

According to the first census of the island in 1834, Sikinos had 979 inhabitants that time. The next significant milestone in the history of Sikinos occurred during the period 1936-1940, during the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas. More than 1,000 people, the communists, and the socialists were, deported to the Cyclades. Sikinos also bore the brunt of the refugees. The refugees outnumbered the island population. During World War II, the island was under Italian and German occupation. The Greek Civil War and the Marshall Plan changed the face of the island to today's form. Nowadays, although most of the Greek islands developed their own infrastructure and flourished in tourism activities, Sikinos lagged behind because of lack of natural resources and skilled workforce. The Islanders had to cope up with the ensuing poverty. In the census of 2001, Sikinos had only 238 inhabitants.