CRETE ISLAND

crete_islandThe known history of Crete starts during the Neolithic ages. The beginning of the Minoan Period (2.600-1.100 BC) coincides with the beginning of the Bronze Age.

The Minoans established a naval empire in the Mediterranean during this period. Their civilization vanished abruptly,the most probable explanation being that the sudden eruption of the volcano in Santorini created huge tidal waves that swept away all traces of civilization. After that,the invasion of the Acheans and later the Dorians marked the end of the Minoan period. Crete was occupied at 67 BC by the Romans. Gortys, became the capital of the province of Crete. Crete, becomes part of the Byzantine Empire from 325 AD to 824 AD. The Arab occupation of Crete was a thorn in Byzantium’s side and they often tried to retake it, without success. The unsuccessful campaigns came to end in 961 when the Byzantine General Nikephoros Fokas captured Crete after fierce battles. This marked the beginning of the Second Byzantine Period of Crete, which ended at 1204. At 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Constantinople falls to the Crusaders. Crete was sold to the Venetians. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453), artists and scholars from all parts of the former Byzantine Empire fled to Crete. Chandax (Heraklion), falls to the Turks in 1669. This occupation lasted until 1878. In 1898, with the intervention of the then Great Powers, Crete was declared an autonomousstate. Crete remained autonomous until 1913 when it united with Greece.