Kythnos island probably took its name from the leader of Dryops and first inhabitant of the island, Kythno, although his existence is doubtful. Another possibility is that its name comes from the stem “kyth”, which derives from the verb “kephtho” (=hide) and refers to the place where one can hide, probably a place with woods, valleys, caves or mines.
Recent excavations at Maroulas area have brought to light findings which prove that the island was inhabited during the Mesolithic Period, that is it may have been the oldest settlement of man on Cyclades.
In the 13th century B.C., according to Herodotus, the Dryops emigrated to the island, traces of whom are the Cyclopean walls and the temples they have left behind. The Ions were the next to inhabit the island. In the “Kinthean Republic”, Aristotle refers to the ideal state those peoples had created.
During the Persian Wars, Kythnos participates with one trireme and soon after it becomes member of the Athenian Alliance. Later it becomes part of the Roman state and afterwards it is included in the “Aegean Theme” by the Byzantines.
During the Venetian domination it is conquered by the noble Marko Sanoudo and it is called “Thermia”, because of its hot (=therma) spring waters. Then it comes under the rule of the Castelli family and later on the family of Gozadini.
It remains under the rule of the family even after the looting of the pirate Barbarossa (1537), because of the peace treaty that was signed between the Turks and the Venetians, while during the Russo-Turkish war it is conquered by the Russians. In 1827 the island is called Kythnos again and takes
part in the fight against the Turks.
During the reign of Othona, rebels and political prisoners were exiled to Kythnos. In 1862 rebels from Syros came to the island to free the prisoners and clashed with the government’s army at the bay of St. Irini. The outcome of the clash was the repression of the rebels and the death of the rebels
Leotsakos, Moraetinis, Scravelis and other exiles.
Today, the people of Kythnos are in tourism business, without having abandoned other occupations such as agriculture and fishing. They offer to the visitor the perfect combination of the Cycladic scenery, the crystal clear waters, the local products (meat, dairy products, fruit, vegetables) and the fresh fish out of their own fishing boats.