Earliest inhabitant and first King according to tradition, was Inopion, the son of Dionissos or Thisseus and Ariadne, who came from Crete and taught the locals how to grow vines.
The name of Chios comes from Chioni, who was the daughter of Inopion. According to Ion, howerer, the name comes from Hios, the son of Neptune, at the birth of whom, too much snow (hioni) fell on the island. According to a third option by the historian Isidoros, the name Chios comes from the Phoenicians and, in the Syrian Ianguage, it means “mastic”.
The island was at times mentioned by other names as well, which were lost in time, such as Pitioussa (because of its pines, as Pitis=Pine), Makris because of its shape (Makri=long), Aethalea (because of its ancient volcano) and Ofioussa (because of the many snakes=ofis, on it).The archaeological findings (at Ag. Galas and Emporios) prove that the island has been inhabited since 6.000 B.C. About the city of Chios there is some evidence earlier than the first lonian colonisation when the Ionians from the mainland inhabited Chios around 1000 B.C. and developped it into one of the greatest cities of the ancient times. Not only did Chians make a profit by transporting goods from one place to another, but also by trading on their own agricultural and industrial production.
The unique mastic was not the only source of wealth. In the 6th Cent. Chios was a large city, the population of which is estimated at 60.000-80.000 people, not counting the slaves. When Chios became a member of the Athenian Allience, it was free and self-governed. Until the Peloponesian War, there was a five – year period of peace and growth. The destroyed city was rebuilt and the inhabitants progressed in navy, commerce, industry and the production of wine. Riches accumulated on the island, which resulted in extreme luxury. Charasteristic of the standard of life during that period are the phrases “Chian fun” and “Chian life”.
Athineos mentions that the Chians were famous for their ingenuity in cookery and the Chian cooks were dearly sought after. Thoukidides characterises the Chians as the “richest among Greeks” and praises the State of their city. The Peloponesian war followed, during which the Chians fought at first together with Athenians. After their defeat in Sicilia, however, they defected and declared their support of Sparti. Spartians imposed “dekarhia” (=ten tyrrants) and a General Ruler, so Chios knew again the vices of turrany and violence. They lost all their ships, which were now the Spartians.
The Chians regretted their defe-cting from the Athenians, very bitterly. The financial decline of Greece since the late 7th century and up to the 10th, affected Chios as well. After that, things are looking up again.
The final occupation of the island by the Genoans in 1346 started a new era. Since 1566 the new occu-pants, the Turks, replaced the Genoans. The Turkish occupation lasted 350 years (1566 – 1912).