Santorini: A History

Santorini: A History

Santorini is an island in the Aegean Sea and a member of the Cyclades group of islands. If you’re interested in learning more about the interesting history of the island of Santorini, keep reading.

A map of Santorini is seen

Both the geological history of the island and the history of the inhabitants must be considered while studying Santorini’s past. This is a highly unusual tale of an island whose form changed through time and several civilizations that attempted to adapt to it, leaving their imprint on the island as it is today.


The lava that formed Santorini’s island gave rise to its numerous shape changes over time. The island has evolved as a result of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

“Santorini was not always a volcano, and it is not complete.” G. E. Vougioukakis

Santorini’s history began some 5 million years ago when Europe and Africa were still connected to one another. There was only one island called “Aigiida” at the time in what is now known as the Aegean Sea.

Below is a map showing how Greece is organized. The brown tint on top of it denotes “Aigiida,” whereas the darker and lighter shades of blue denote lakes and the ocean, respectively. You can see that things were very different back then.


This terrain eventually started to slowly disintegrate and sink, leaving only a few peaks above sea level. The islands in the Aegean Sea are currently made up of these summits.

Santorini was a tiny island comprised of limestone and schist back then. We can still locate these rocks at:

  • The Prophet Elias Mountain
  • The mountain atop the New Port (Athinios)
  • the mountain close to Emporio Village,
  • The Monolithos Hill

The current layout of Santorini is visible in the background. The rocks from before everything else was constructed can be seen in the south. This is what Santorini looked like prior to its eruption. The current layout of Santorini is visible in the background. The rocks from before everything else was constructed can be seen on the south. Pre-volcanic Santorini looked like this.

When the first volcano formed in the southwest of the island, Santorini’s first volcanic activity begins 2.5 million years ago. Today, you can still discover the “Christiana Islands” here (Picture 2). Later, two other volcanoes erupt close to Akrotiri, and a huge one erupts to the north, not far from Oia.

  • Santorini, therefore, had the shape below roughly 350.000 years ago.
  • 350.000 years ago, a new volcano formed in the north of Santorini.
  • Santorini 350,000 years ago: A new volcano forms in the north.

It’s an interesting fact that when tectonic plates shift, magma rises to the surface, and volcanoes serve as their pathways to the surface. All of these volcanoes were formed along the deep tectonic line that connects Amorgos Island to the Christiana Islands. The reason for all earthquakes in the region is this fault, which is still active today.

We have discussed four Santorini volcanoes thus far. Each of them would explode approximately every 20,000 years. Every eruption would grow the island at the same time as adding a fresh coating of tephra to it. The development of the “Caldera” was the more disastrous result of these eruptions.

The Spanish term “caldera” means “large boiling cauldron.” which is precisely the case. Imagine the volcano’s lava seething inside before blasting into the air and obliterating the crater. The caldera was formed when the volcano’s crater collapsed into the sea without the magma that was supporting all the rocks above it.

  • Santorini 200.000 ago with a large caldera in the middle.
  • 200.000 years ago, Santorini had a large caldera in the center.

Magma continues to boil inside of this cavity until it eventually dries out and forms a new volcano. In a vicious cycle that keeps happening, Santorini’s shape changes several times. In image 5 below, you can see how a new volcano was reactivated:

  • In Santorini, 25.000 years ago, a new, larger volcano is formed.
  • Santorini 25.000 years ago: Creation of a new, larger volcano.

We know that Santorini eventually acquired a rounded shape approximately 2000 BC after a protracted series of geological changes. Its name at the time was “Stroggyli,” and it was inhabited (which Greek means round).

  • 3.700 years ago, Santorini had a circular form and was called “Stroggyli” at the time.
  • 3.700 years ago, Santorini had a circular form and was called “Stroggyli” at the time.

A few years later, in 1640 BC, Santorini had a massive volcanic explosion that wiped out all life on the island. The “Minoan Eruption” is what is known as this.

The island continued to change throughout time due to volcanic activity. There were 14 more eruptions between 198 BC and 1950 AD.

It is noteworthy that the “Caldera” was developed after the two volcanoes that are currently in the island’s center were created. The larger “Palia Kameni” was progressively built between 19 and 726 AD, while the smaller “Nea Kameni” was formed later, in 1573.

A third volcano, known as Koloumpos, is located on the northeastern side of Santorini in addition to these two. The last time it erupted was in 1650. It’s underwater, so don’t waste your time looking for it.



Around 3000 BC, Santorini’s earliest settlers came to the island. The fact that these people lived in two- and three-story homes with storage chambers, drainage systems, etc. indicates that their civilization was quite advanced. They raised animals, produced wheat and oil, and painted and fished. Overall, impressive if you stop to think about it. To see the relics of ancient civilization, go to the excavations in Akrotiri.

Akrotiri is known as the “Pompeii of the Aegean” because the entirety of this city was submerged in lava after the volcano’s eruption in 1640 BC.

Here is more information on Akrotiri:

For a period, Santorini was uninhabited. Around 1300 BC, the Phoenicians settled on Santorini and became the island’s subsequent inhabitants. She was given the name “Kallisti,” which is Greek for “the most lovely.”

Spartans eventually made it to Santorini. The island was renamed Thira in honor of the king, who was known as Thiras. To this day, Santorini is still referred to by this name officially. The remains of Ancient Thira contain remnants left by the Spartans.

Franks rename the island Santa Irene when they arrive in 1204 AD, taking the name from a nearby church. The “Santorini” we all use today has its roots in this.

The ownership of Santa Irene then changes once more when, in 1579, it joins the Ottoman Empire. The island was given the Turkish name “Demergic,” which means “windmill,” as the Turks were impressed by the number of windmills they discovered there.

The name “Thira” was reinstated once Greece gained its freedom in 1821, however, Santorini is still the name most people associate with the island.

Italian and German forces invaded Santorini during the Second World War (1941 and 1943 respectively).

More people evacuated Santorini after a volcanic eruption in 1950 and an earthquake six years later in 1956, which left the island in ruins. They began to rebuild gradually in the late 1960s. The airport was built the same year as the new port’s foundation was poured, which slightly increased tourism.

Today, Santorini is one of the top tourist attractions in the world, drawing 2 million travelers there each year to take in the island’s breathtaking natural beauty.



According to Greek philosopher Plato, Atlantis was a spherical island home to gifted individuals of high culture and prosperity. While some claim it is simply fiction, some claim it actually existed. They couldn’t agree on its location, but they can all agree that it was a miniature paradise.

A lot of people believe Santorini to be the Lost Atlantis because of its round form and recent volcanic eruption.

Santorini is undoubtedly a tiny paradise, even though no one has yet been able to conclusively demonstrate that. Regardless of whether it is the Lost Atlantis or not, it is worth seeing for yourself.

This article regarding the Lost Atlantis caught my attention. It is ideal if you want further information about the subject.



I believe you will be shocked if you stop to consider where you are. Over the years, Santorini has undergone tremendous change. It’s always evolving. The shape is determined by the volcanic activity. and what is ahead. People only make adjustments. You can tell this was land by looking at the caldera. And everything submerged. Consider the individuals that came here before you. A long time ago. Consider all the accomplishments they made at the time and how far we have come.

  • It was created by lava. Lava, however, also destroyed it.
  • It is a rare example of wild beauty. a one-of-a-kind.
  • This breathtaking natural beauty is more potent than any civilization.
  • Nature has greater power than any human. Observe it.

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About the Author: Evelyn

Evelyn is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles about business strategy and operations, with a focus on finance. She also published articles on payroll, small business funding, and content marketing. Evelyn also writes about improving company culture, optimizing business social media pages, and choosing appropriate organizational structures for small businesses.

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