Jul 11
Last Updated on 25 July 2011


From the Neolithic we have inhabitants in Aegina, anyway in this island different people came and settled during those past years. One of those were the Doreans of Epidauros who conquest the island in 950 B.C. and started a archaeological culture based on sea and trading, so important it was that they were who minted the first coins with an image of a turtle and using the silver from North Africa.

But this prosperous empire naturally was not well tolerated by the increasing powerful City-State of Athens, who was even more powerful after the battle of Salamis. At the end the confrontation couldn't be avoided. Aegina had taken a place in the international problems of Athens: that is, Aegina made an alliance with Corinth and Sparta at that time dangerous rivals of Athens. That was the excuse that Athens was looking to conquest and empty this island. And before the Athens' victory in 431 B.C. the island never recovered its last prosperity, so the following centuries it was passing through the hands of many rulers: Pergamus, Roma, Venetia, The Ottomans, and again Venetia and the Turks.

During the Medieval Ages the obscurity took the island. Those were years when the pirates took control of most part of the Mediterranean. That was the reason why the capital was transferred near the actual Aghios Nektarios in the interior of the island. In this called Paliachora was located the capital from the 9th century to the 19th century when it returned to the Aegina's port. At that time the pirates' attacks had disappeared; for example, in 1537 the island was destroyed by Barbarossa, and the few inhabitants that remained turned themselves into pirates.

The 19th century started with the return of the capital to the port and in this beginning of the century the island was a base to the rebel fighters against the Turks and a secure place to the refugees. The Revolutionary Assembly of the Greeks elected Aegina as the first capital of the free Greece (1827-1829) under the presidency of Ioannis Capodistrias, who continued operating from this island, even after the capital was translated to Nafplion, until his assassination here in 1831. These years brought a prosperous cultural, political, economical… life to the island. For example, the first Greek independent coin was minted here in 1829.

With the removal of the capital again the hard days came to the island. The later years of the 19th century were obscure with the inhabitants dedicated to shipping, fishing and agriculture activity. The economic balance was so fragile that during the Second World War a terrible starvation took place, 2000 islanders died. The economic salvation first came through the importation of the Pistachio tree. One of the effects of this new crop was an increase of the lands' prices. This made that the tourism slowly appeared, we have to wait until 1960s so as to find the first tourists and they were more intellectuals and artists than mass tourist. The last took some years more to appear in Aegina.

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