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Samos island history in a few words
Samos island was once a center of Ionian culture and grandeur, famous for its Samian wines and its magnificent pottery designs. Home to the Ionic Temple of the goddess Hera.
During the great migrations it received an Ionian population tracing back to Epidaurus in Argolis. Samos became one of the twelve members of the Ionian League and by the 7th century BC it had become one of the leading trade centers in Greece. The island’s geographical location facilitated this commercial growth including the importation of textiles from the depths of Asia Minor. The Samians also expanded trade into other foreign markets such as the BlackSea, Egypt, Cyrene (Libya), Corinth, and Chalcis, consequently becoming bitter rivals with Miletus.
Despite the growing power of the Persian Empire because of their alliance with the Egyptians and their powerful fleet, Samos flourished. The Samians also became the first Greeks to reach the Straits of Gibraltar. The feud between Miletus and Samos heightened during the Lelantine War (7th century BC), with Samians now initiated in Greek naval warfare. This conflict was initially a victory for the Milesians who ruled the mid-eastern waterway until the 6th century when Samos conquered her oppressors.
About 535 BC, the existing oligarchy was overthrown by the tyrant Polycrates and Samos reached the peak of prosperity. Its navy ruled and protected the Aegean waters. Samos became a bustling destination with new infrastructure, academic and cultural growth with reputable, prominent citizens.