Underneath Mykonos, according to myth, lie buried the last of the giants who had contested the Olympian gods and were finally destroyed by the rocks hurled by Hercules: the landscape is indeed granitic and boulder-strewn. Despite its infertility, man settled on Mykonos in the 5th millennium BC; settlements have been found at Fteliá in Panormos Bay, and at Kalafáti. There was some continuity through the Early and Middle Cycladic periods, and the recent discovery of a Mycenaean noble's tomb near Chora attests a significant Late Bronze Age presence. In historic times, according to Scylax of Caryanda, the island had two cities, Mykonos on the site of the present Chora, and (?) Panormos on the north coast. The Persian commander, Datis, stopped at Mykonos in 490 BC on his way to Greece. After the Persian Wars the island became an Athenian colony. In ancient Comedy, the figure of the ‘Μυκόνιος γείτων' or ‘the neighbour from Mykonos' was the typical free-loader and uninvited guest. Strabo (Geog. X, 5.9) noted that baldness was prevalent on the island so that bald men were sometimes called ‘Mykoniots': Henry A. V. Post observed the same when he visited in 1828.
At the time that Marco Sanudo established himself as ‘Duke of Naxos' in 1207, Mykonos was taken by the Venetian Ghisi brothers who also held Tinos and the Sporades. The Ghisi line died out in 1390, and Tinos and Mykonos were bequeathed to Venice, who put the administration of the islands up for auction in 1406, with a leased governorship which was renewed every four years; but in 1430 this system gave way to direct rule of the ‘province of Tinos' from Venice, with governors directly appointed for two years. In 1537 Khaireddin Barbarossa took Mykonos. The island remained an Ottoman possession for almost 300 years, apart from an interval in which it was occupied by the Russians between 1770 and 1774. During the struggle for Greek Independence, the islanders repulsed an attack by the Turks in 1822 under the inspired leadership of the heroine Mando Mavrogenous. The island was united with the newly formed Greek State in 1830, after which the traditional skills of the islanders as mariners led Mykonos to prominence as a merchant-naval centre until the advent of the new generation of steamships. The boom in tourism beginning in the 1970s meant that the town tripled in size in the space of a little over two decades.
The acropolis of ancient Mykonos was a meagre hill – the area behind today's Town Hall – projecting from the centre of the west coast of the island, and marking a small harbour to its east. A Byzantine and then Venetian kastro succeeded it, of which scant remains can still be seen at the western extremity by the shore, and in the cellars and lower floors of the buildings in the area.Wikidata ID: Q190210
Info: McGilchrist's Greek Islands
(From McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, © Nigel McGilchrist 2010, excerpted with his gracious permission. Click for the books)