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Samos History Timeline


  • 15th century BC, the first residents

Phoenicians in Samos island


According to Samian history,the first people who inhabited in Samos, probably were the “Phoenicians“, then had followed the “Pelasgians“, which brought in Samos the worship of goddess Hera.

Then followed “Kares“, who lived by piracy, and exterminated by the king Minos of Crete.

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  • 1350-570 BC, Ancaeus, the first king and his heirs

Aggeos the first king of Samos

Ancaeus the first king of Samos

Ancaeus” was the first King of Samos in 1350 BC (the island at that time had the name “Filas”). He had come from Kefalonia after an oracle of Apollo.

After his death, took the throne his third son “Samos”, from which named the island, in one version. They followed a series of kings, from 1176 till 570 BC that took the throne “Aiakos”, the father of next king-tyrant “Polycrates”.

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  • 541 or 537 BC Tyran Polycrates, the golden age for Samos

The Tyran Polycrates, the golden age for Samos

The Tyran Polycrates

The tyrant “Polycrates” overthrew his father “Aiakos”, probably between 541-537 BC he sharing the island with his brothers, which then, he killed one of them, and the other banished.

“Polycrates” was one of the most talented tyrants of the ancient world.
He developed the letters, arts, and made great and remarkably works (the tunnel of Eupalinos, the artificial harbor, fortification wall, the temple of Hera, the citadel, the market, theaters, his palaces, etc.) and created a powerful army and fleet that dominated at the land and sea.

The death of Polycrates was pitiable, inglorious and fraudulently by the Persians. Ιn 522 B.C. probably), Polycrates was brutally murdered, falling into the trap of Orites, satrap of Asia Minor, who hated him, either because he had failed to conquer Samos or because Polycrates had disrespected a Persian ambassador. Orites, knowing Polycrates’ greed, asked him to help him smuggle the treasure of the king of Persia who was in danger, promising to give to Polycrates half of it. Polycrates, despite the advice of his friends and the prophecy of his daughter ( Herodotus says that she had seen a bad dream that foretold the death of her father), went to Sardis, capital of Lydia in Asia Minor, where Orites arrested him, skinned him alive and then crucified him.
It’s not sure of the time that “Polycrates” ruled, other authors mention 40 years, others 20 and others 15, which is the most likely.

Successor of “Polycrates” was his trusty secretary “Maiandrios”. Later, after general slaughter of Samians by the Persians, they put governor for Samos “Syloson”, the brother of Polycrates who had been exiled. At 515 BC becomes governor of Samos, the son of “Syloson”, “Aiakos B’ “.

Related post : Polycrates’ ring

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  • The Persian part of Samian history

The Persians at Samos island

The Persians

In the spring of 492 BC the Persians attempting the first invasion of Greece and brought to Samos 600 ships and thousands of the army, led by “Datis” and “Artaphernes”, for the conquest of Greece. Eventually have been unsuccessful at Marathon by the Athenian army at the battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

The second invasion of the Persians in Greece was in 480-479 BC led by Xerxes which again have been unsuccessful, mainly from 300 Spartan soldiers at the famous battle of Thermopylae.

After the second unsuccessful campaign of Persians, the Athenians and Spartans, were quick to help the “Ionia” and at September 479 BC they carried the naval battle of “Mycale” (south-east of Samos), where Persians defeated and were expelled with the tyrant of Samos “Theomistoras” who was placed by them.

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  • 439 BC the destruction of Samos by Athenians

Athenians navy soldiers at samos island

Athenians navy

After the release of Samos by the Persians, the economic growth of the island, it was great and fast. This did not escape the attention of the Athenians, who sought a pretext to stop this development.

The conflict between Samos and Miletus and the war between them that ended with the victory of Samos, It gave rise to Athenians.

The Athenians asked by both to stop the conflict and to consider the issue, the Samians did not accept and Athenians declared war to Samians.

After that the Athenians fleet, headed by Pericles, besieged the island for nine months, the Samians did not last, and in 439 p. X. surrendered, but with great losses and for the Athenians. Pericles behaved very brutal to the people of Samos.

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  • 402 BC the Spartans conquest

The Spartan conquest of Samos

The Spartan conquest

After the defeat of Athens by Sparta during the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans wanted to conquer Samos, because it was the last Athenian fort.

The Spartans besieged the island and the Samians were forced to capitulate and to leave the island with only the clothes they wore.

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  • 352 BC, Athenian’s return

Athenians soldiers at samos island

Athenians soldiers

352 BC Athenians were activated again, releasing from Spartans many city and islands, Samos it was one of these.

The Athenians plundered the island, expelled the oligarchs, and they brought two thousand settlers, the worst of Athens citizens.

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  • 338 BC–131 BC, Macedonians and heirs

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

After the weakening of the Spartans and the Athenians because of the Peloponnesian war, a new great power emerged, the Macedonians.

The King of Macedonia Philip II, wanted to resolve the issue of Samos but busy by the campaigns, did not manage.

The successor, however, his son Alexander the Great, gave solution to the issue of Samos soon, when became a king. By special decision gave Samos to Athenians and later with new decision, gave amnesty to all fugitives, who could return to their homes and reclaim their property.

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  • 70 BC, The Roman Empire

Antonius in samos

Antonius in samos

The Romans in 70 bc they take control of the wider region of Asia Minor and the islands, between them and Samos.  Appoint governor the “Gaius Licinius Ouiro”, who plunders the temple of Hera and other monuments.

Marcus Antonius used Samos as headquarters in his fight against Rome and with his mistress Cleopatra, change Samos in entertainment area and orgies,while rampaging every valuable that was left.

Gaius Octavius impressed from Samos, remained for a long time and became a benefactor for Samos, but and his successor Tiberius, showed the same favor, while Caligula tried to restore the palace of Polycrates, but he did not  because of his death.

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  • 4th -10th AD century, Byzantium

Constans Roman Emperor

Constans successors of Constantine A

After the death of Constantine A’ at 337 AD and the division of the Byzantine empire between the three successors, Samos was given to “Constans” third and youngest son of Constantine A’.
Then the island suffered a lot (like all Mediterranean) from famine, plague their terrifying earthquakes and piracy. The powerful fleet of the Saracen pirates captured more than 36,000 cities, villages, fortresses, and massacred hundreds of thousands Christians.

For fear of the Saracens, the inhabitants of Samos, they built castles on the island for times of danger. Castles like this are “Louloudas” with 250 houses, “Lazaru” castle with 500 houses, the “genoan castle” in Potami and more.

The Aegean relieved by the Saracens in 959-960 by Nikiforos Fokas, who destroyed their fleet and hit their bases in Crete and Cyprus.

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  • 11th- 15th AD century, westerners, Turks, devastation of Samos



Towards the end of the 11th century, new enemies for Byzantine appear from the west and east. The Guiscard Duke of Apulia from Italy, the Seljuk Turks in 1079, the fleet of Venice who caused terrible damage to Samos and other islands from 1124 to 1126.

During the fourth Crusade and the distribution of the Byzantine Empire, Samos along with other islands was given to the Venetians until 1247. In 1346, they will be installed in Samos, Chios and other islands, the Genoese with the trading company “Maona” (from the Arabian word Maounach=trading company).

The Genoese had no forces to guard the island from pirates and so left and went to Chios, where many Samians followed them.

So in 1476 most of Samians immigrated to Chios, few in Asia Minor and so Samos remained deserted residents till 1549 where Kılıc Ali Pasa visited by his fleet the island.

From information that exist, there does not seem to be completely deserted, many remained who found asylum in the mountains.

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  • 16th AD century, reoccupation of Samos, Turkish occupation

Kılıc ali pasa

Kılıc ali pasa

In the summer of 1549, the Turkish fleet with Kılıc Ali Pasa admiral, after battling with ships of western and pirates, moor at Ireon of Samos to rest the crews and repaired ships.

The beauties of Samos, the fertility of the soil, the privileged position,they had captivated  Kılıc Ali Pasa, and when he learned that it was deserted, conceived the idea, to colonized the island exclusively by Orthodox Christians.

When he returned to Constantinople, he asked Suleiman Sultan to cede the island, who via imperial definition in 1562, donated Samos island to Kılıc Ali Pasa and his descendants.

Thus began efforts to attract new residents to the island, and was giving unprecedented benefits for that time, as the inhabitants were free from the Turks, will no pay taxes, Samos would be a free port without duties, whoever came could understand as much area wanted, right of establishment were only Orthodox Christians and more.

Kılıc Ali Pasa died in 1587, and in his will, entrusted Samos to the “High Gate” of Turkey. Over the years these privileges for Samos trampled by Turks. Samians reaction which led to war of Independence, in alliance with the revolutionaries of the rest Greece in 1821.

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  • 1821, revolution against Turks

naval battle of Samos

Naval battle of Samos

The message of the revolution gave Captain Lachanas on April 18, 1821 that killed 18 Turkish citizens, and on April 20 a group armed from Mitilinii village went to Chora village to kill the Aga but did not make it, while on May 8, 1821 Lykourgos Logothetis officially declared the revolution of Samos.

Lycurgus immediately began to organize the defense, creating four chiliarch, with captains Constantine Lahana, Constantine Kontaxis , Manolis Brunette and Captain Stamatis Georgiadis from Marathokampos.

The first attempt by the Turks to occupy Samos was from 3 to 8 July 1821. Where Turkish army repeatedly tried to disembark in the south of the island, at region of Pythagoreion, but could not. The most severe battle took place on July 5, 1821 at the “Cape Tzorzi” (east of Pythagoreio), where Turks managed to disembark from the boats but were massacred by Samians and then the cape renamed “Kavos Fonias” (= Cape killer).

The second attempt of Turks  to occupy Samos, was after three years from July 28 to August 6, 1824, where again was unable for the Turkis army to disembark on the island. The decisive battle took place on August 6, where the head of the fleet Chosref Pasha, ordered general attack, leading to suffer incalculable losses from the Greek fleet, forcing them to abandon the effort and fled to Asia Minor.

That date coincides with the feast of the Transfiguration and Lykourgos Logothetis decided to engraved on a marble slab «ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΣΑΜΟΝ ΕΣΩΣΕΝ 6 ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΥ 1824» (=Christ saved Samos in 6 August 1824), in the church of metamorphosis in Pythagorio and celebrated this date every year in Pythagorion till today.

There were and other attempts for occupation of the island by the Turks as on September 6 1824, in the Gulf of Marathokambos and in July 1826 at the north of the island, but could not.

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  • 1834 – 1912 Hegemonic regime (Principality) at Samos

national emblem of hegemonic Samos

The national emblem of hegemonic Samos

The protocol of The Greek National Boarders were established on the 3rd of February in 1830 and it was ruled that Samos would be free but would be Ottoman-Turkish “property” with a representative. After that Samians made the decision to continue their fight completely alone.

In December of 1832 under England, Russia and French pressure, the Ottoman-Turks were obligated to give benefits and rights to Samos. Finally, on 21st of August in 1834 Samos became Hegemony. According to the new laws Samos obtained its autonomy, the island had freedom and its own flag. Passports, governmental and navy documents could be issued by the authorities of the island. The highest governor would be appointed by the Sultan and had to be coreligionistic with Samians and they should pay to the Sultan annual Nautical taxes.

From 1834 until 1912 Samos had 20 governors. From them only two were not Greeks. Stefanos Vogoridis, who was from Bulgaria and was the worse, while Georgios Verovitz who was from Albania was one of the best. The most of them were men with impressive education, they supported and promoted the progress of the island but to the eyes of Samian people they represented the Ottoman-Turkish dominance.

On the 9th of March of 1912 the prince (governor) Andreas Kopasis, who a was sympathizer of the Ottoman- Turks, murdered by Stavros Mbaretis. The last Governor was Grigorios Vegleris in 1912, whose his service was brief, only a few months.

After a revolution, with “Themistoklis Sofoulis” as a leader, send taway the Ottoman-Turkish army and Naval and achieved the unification of Samos with Greece on 11th November 1912.

Related post : The Unification of Samos with Greek country.

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