Greece: Zakynthos Island Sailing

According to Homer, the island was named for Zakinthos, son of the King of Troy.

Zakynthos was first inhabited in the 16th century BC, by the Achaeans. At various periods in history, it has belonged to Athens, and Sparta, the Macedonians, Romans, Byzantine and Venetians.

The Venetians ruled the island for almost 300 years (1484-1797), and largely influenced their society. The Venetians imposed their own laws on the island, and divided it into three categories; the nobili (nobles), the civili (citizens) and the popolari (common people). The nobles were registered in the Libro d'Oro (golden book).

As with any civilization in time, the common people revolted against their oppression and from 1628 to 1632 there were many bloody battles. The Rebelio ton Popolaron was the first revolt in Europe of that time, but it was suppressed by the Venetians.

In 1797, the French Republicans took over the island, removed the class structure, and gave local mayors the authority to rule the island under the supervision of the French government. The popolari burned the famous Libro d'Oro in the Square of St. Mark, and the Venetian class system was over.

Just a year later, Zakynthos came under the rule of the Russo-Turkish, and in 1800 the Republic of the Ionian Islands was founded as the first independent Greek state. In 1807 the island was sized by the French aristocrats, and in 1809 by the British. Under British rule, Zakynthos was the capital of the Ionian state.


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