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The Island has a long history that goes back to the Neolithic times. It is however known for the Minoan civilization that flourished from 2600 to 1100 B.C. The island is full of relics of the Minoan ages the most famous being the palaces at Knossos and Festos.

Neolithic Period (6.000-2.600 BC)
Known history in Crete starts during the Neolithic ages. Recent excavations (especially in Eleftherna) have demonstrated the existence of various small communities during that period.

Minoan Period (2.600-1.100 BC)
The Minoan civilisation is probably the biggest reason Crete is known. The Minoans established a naval empire in the Mediterranean during this period. During this time, art and science flourished. Their civilisation vanished abruptly, the most probable explanation being that the sudden eruption of the volcano in Thira (Thera or Santorini) created huge tidal waves that swept away all traces of civilisation.After that, the invasion of the Achaeans and later the Dorians marked the end of the Minoan period.

Dorians (1.100-67 BC)
The Dorian years were marked by the first appearance of iron tools, and the deterioration of the Minoan Empire to various city-states.

Roman Period - First Byzantine Period (67 BC-824 AD)
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 and is converted to Christianity.

Arab occupation (824 -961 AD)
The Arabs occupied Crete, and founded the city of Chandax (Heraklion). The city was liberated by the Byzantine emperor Nikiforos Fokas at 961 AD. This marked the beginning of the Second Byzantine Period of Crete which ended at 1204.

Second Byzantine Period (961-1204 AD)
Crete becomes again part of the Byzantine empire.

Venetian occupation (1204-1669 AD)
At 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Constantinople falls to the Crusaders. Crete was sold to the Venetians. In the years that followed there were numerous unsuccessful attempts by the Cretans to liberate the island. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks (1453), artists and scholars from all parts of the former Byzantine empire fled to Crete. Arts and science flourished again, with the biggest representative of this renaissance being the painter "El Greco" (Domenicos Theotokopoulos) who was born in Crete but actually spend most of his life in Spain.

Turkish occupation (1669-1898 AD)
Chandax, falls to the Turks in 1669. This occupation lasted until 1878. During these years the Cretans organised numerous revolutions that were always put down by the Turks. Finally, in 1898, with the intervention of the then Great Powers, Crete was declared an autonomous state.

Independent Crete (1898-1913 AD)
Crete remained autonomous until 1913 when it united with Greece.

1913 - today
Crete was the last stand off of the Allied forces in Greece during the Second World War. The Cretans paid dearly (like most of Greece) for their resistance to the Axis forces. Whole villages were burned down (Viannos villages, Kandanos and Anogia being the most known).

Read...: History of Crete
Find related pages...: History of Crete

Related Pages: Introduction to Crete ,

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