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Kea: History



Its name is attributed to the hero Keo from Nafpaktos, who came in the island on the 12th century B.C. The name Tzia was given to the island during the Venetian domination. Kea played an important role in the blossoming of Cycladic culture and was the birthplace of many known persons of ancient Greece, such as the poets Simonidis and Vakchylidis, Erasistratous, Prodikos, etc.

In the archaic years, Kea was famous for its political system but also for the custom of “koneiazesthai”, according to which all citizens who passed 70 years of age had to commit suicide with hemlock because their intellectual and bodily forces were not anymore useful to the state.

Four city-states constituted Kea: Ioulida, Korissos, Karthaia and Poiiessa. They maintained their administrative and political autonomy and collaborated usually on issues of exterior policy.

The region around Ioulida and the south-eastern utmost of the island thrived in the Byzantine period. In the dues of the19th and in the beginning of the 20th century, the island met economic growth, initially as a station of supplies of coal for the steam boats and later thanks to its unique Greek factory of production of enamelled utensils, which functioned from 1927 up to 1957 and was the largest in the Mediterranean.
Kea Map
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