Skopelos:: HISTORY ::Byzantine Times

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Byzantine Times

BYZANTINE TIMES. During the first Byzantine times, Skopelos seems to have been used as a land of exile. The island is generally referred to very minimally in the sources of that period.

Following the Takeover of Constantinople by the Franks, the island was conquered by Venetians and it became part of the Naxos Dukedom. Then it was taken over by the Imperial House of the Gizis up to 1276, a date when Skopelos comes back under Byzantium. During the Palaiologan period that follows, the island is subjected to raids and suffers disasters from various invaders.

In 1453 Skopelos is taken over by the Venetians, and up to 1538 it avoids Turkish occupancy. Various family names, some place names and many words in the Skopelos dialect are remnants of the Venetian domination to date.

In 1538 AD Skopelos was taken over and destroyed by Hayredin Barbarossa, the Turkish fleet admiral, and then began its Turkish occupancy. The island cannot have been completely deserted, however, as shortly after 1538 there is an increase in the building of churches. In the years of Turkish Occupation, Skopelos maintains its rights that it enjoyed under the Venetians, and it was lucky that there was no permanent Turkish population on the island. Wanderers who visit Skopelos between the 16th and the 19th century talk about a populated town with considerable financial soundness. As of the 18th c., there is remarkable trading activity on the island.

In 1750 the first thieves and armatoloi began to come to the island from Olympus, Chalkidiki and Thessaly. In pre-revolutionary Greece, Skopelos was the den for fighters Nikotsaras and Giannis Stathas. However, in 1810 there were disputes among the locals and the armatoloi of mainland Greece.

During the revolution of 1821, Skopelos took an active part in the fighting; the captains of Skopelos helped their brothers when needed. When the revolution failed in Thessaly and Macedonia, 70.000 souls, men, women and children settled on the island, run down by the diseases and poverty.

Finally Skopelos became part of the first Hellenic State in 1830, whose most northern borders reached the northern Sporades.