The history of Lemnos until the First World War

The history of Lemnos begins in the 4th millennium BC. with the creation of Poliochni in the north of the island. Its inhabitants were farmers, stockbreeders and with the metalworking, they were afterwards able to turn into an important port opposite Troy.

After the 8th century BC, the Pelasgians, persecuted from Attica, who believed in the Caveira deities, were installed on the island. In fact, they also created a relative sanctuary close to Hephaestia.

In 494 BC, Lemnos was occupied by the Persians and therefore, the Lemnians had to participate, against their will, in the Persian wars on their side. In 477 BC, Lemnos joined the Delian League and Athenian settlers moved to the island. During the Hellenistic period, the island suffered many invasions and was taken over by many and different powerful forces. The Romans occupied Lemnos in 166 BC. The Roman era was a long period of calm and both material and spiritual development for the island.

In the Byzantine era, Lemnos was of the Theme of the Aegean sea. The forests that the island had at that time led to the construction of shipyards and ships for the Byzantine fleet. Lemnos suffered many raids by pirates and during the Fourth Crusade,  it was occupied by the Venetians (1204). The Venetian rule lasted until 1204 when it returned to the Byzantine rule.

Gregory Palamas lived for a few months in Lemnos in 1347, wrote several books, and shepherded spiritually the Lemnians.

After the fall of Constantinople, Lemnos came under the rule of the Venetians until 1479, when it was conquered by the Turks. During the Turkish occupation, Lemnos went into decay, and later on, in 1770,  the Russians tried to occupy the island but without success.

During the Greek Revolution of 1821, Lemnos did not declare revolution, as it was very close to the Straits of the Hellespont, but several Lemnians participated in hostilities in the surrounding islands. In fact, the first arson of an Ottoman ship in Eressos, Lesvos, took place on May 26, 1821, with an artillery belonging to the Lemnian Nikolas Hatzitriantafyllou.

 Lemnos was liberated from the Turkish rule on October 8, 1912, when a naval contingent disembarked from the ships of the Greek fleet and occupied the island. On October 14, 1912, the representatives of the island proclaimed the union with Greece.

The Greek fleet used Moudros bay as a base for operations for them to be very close to the Straits. It was a very important action as leaving Moudros, they were able to defeat the Ottoman fleet in the naval Battle of Elli on 3-16 December 1912 and in the naval Battle of Lemnos on 5-18 January 1913.

Historical events


Learn about the most important historical events, placed in time.