History of the Island of Crete ☼

Anoula’s travel notebook.
Crete is well-known for being the centre of Europe’s most ancient civilization, the Minoans.

Indeed, its ground is strewn by Minoan ruins from one side of the island to the other side. Some are more preserved than the other ones. The most well-known ruin is, without any doubt, the archaeological site of Knossos, the palace of Minos who, according to the legend, would be Zeus’ son.

Another period, the Venitian Crete, has also left numerous marks on the island today: family names, fortresses, loggias, harbors, fountains… During this period, a famous person appeared, El Greco. He was born in Crete before he left to Venice and then Spain. He has painted a lot of religious icons.

In the XVIIth century, the Ottoman Empire invasion occured, Cretan and Venitian people united themselves to fight the Turkish, but the confrontation was dreadful and destroyed a huge part of the population of Crete.
There also were revolts in 1866-1869, a lot people died at that moment in both rival sides, Muslims as well as Christians, for a very weak political result.
The conquering of Crete lasted until 1913, a long time after that the continental Greece obtained its own independence.
Crete was conquered by the British in October 1940, then the Germans landed on the island in May 1941 (airborne invasion of parachutists and sailplanes) after several bombing raids. After several combats against allied forces, the Nazis stayed on the island without knowing a single minute that Crete could become a strategic place towards Africa.

Since then, because Crete is now part of the European Union, it has received European funds which have greatly helped its touristic development, sometimes at the expense of its soul.


Some notable Historic Dates of Crete >>>