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The recorded history of Zakynthos, Zante in teh Greek Islands dates back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic Era, bones and fossils from both eras were discovered in the Bay of Laganas.
There was a large earthquake in Zakynthos in 1953 destroying much of the architecture of Zante Island
The big earthquake in 1953, together with a seven-day firestorm, destroyed most of the monuments of cultural development on the island and the few still remaining give only a slight hint of its glorious past. In the Museum, you can see the miniature of the town before the earthquake.
The island of Zakynthos has a long and intriguing history. There are a few key moments, dating back to Ancient times, where Zante pops up in the major history books.
Zakynthos was conquered by the king of Keffalonia, Arkisios, and was subsequently reconquered by Ulysses, son of Laertis who was the King of Ithaka.
Under the King of Ithaka, whose son Ulysses had conquered the island
of Zante, Zakynthos joined the expedition against Troy. Upon Ulysses'
return to Ithaka a treaty was signed granting autonomy and democratic
governing to the island. The treaty was the first of its kind throughout
the Hellenic area. This era lasted 650 years.
During the Macedonian War, the island of Zakynthos was occupied by the Macedonians, and afterwards by the Romans. After the first years under the command of a Roman governor, the island was granted the right to be governed by its own laws, have its own municipality, parliament, legislature, and currency with a local symbol. This era contributed to a great cultural development on Zakynthos.
Zante was occupied by the Venetians in 1084, until the French occupation at the end of the 12th century. The French retained control of Zakynthos until 1357 when the De Toki dynasty settled on the island. They helped to develop the economy of the island as well as the administrative order.
This was a prosperous period for
Zante, until the Turkish attack, when the island was looted and the
inhabitants were exiled to the Peloponnese.
In 1809, the British fleet occupied Zakynthos, and Zakynthos then became
the capital of the Ionian State. At this time, the rest of Greece was
under Turkish occupation. With a base in Zakynthos, the Company of
Friends promoted the rebellion against the Turks.
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