The name of Zakynthos is Pre-Greek (Pelasgian) in origin. The famous ancient poet Homer mentions Zakynthos, the son of the king of Phrygia Dardanos as its first settler, whom it took its name from Archaeological excavations proved that the island was inhabited since Neolithic period.

During the historical years zakynthos followed the fortunes of Hellenism.

The island will have democratic rule for about 650 years. It flourishes economically with the result that in the 6th century B.C. silver coinage was struck. In 455 BC Zakynthos was a member of the Athenian ally. After the collapse of the ally, Zakynthos was under the domination of Lacedaemonians, who changed the democracy to oligarchy.

Roman Rule and Byzantine Period

 By the end of the 3rd century BC, Zakynthos along with the other Ionian Islands, fell under Roman rule and later became part of the byzantine Empire.

From 1185 until 1864 Zakynthos (along with the rest of the Ionian islands) was under western rule and consequently followed a historical, political and cultural course very different from the corresponding one of the rest of the Greeks living on the mainland. For the duration of this period, the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands lived under two concurrent and different cultural influences: “Eastern” and “western”. (The first influence is what we shall call “Eastern”, that is the local cultural tradition, which is expressed in two main ways: through the language – the Ionian islanders speak Greek – and through the doctrinal difference between the Eastern and the Western Church – the Ionian islanders are Orthodox Christians. The second cultural influence, which we shall call “Western”, is that brought to the islands by the conquerors, who were Catholics and spoke their own language.)

From the conflict between these two cultural realities and their final synthesis, modern Ionian islands culture was to emerge, in its every form, architecture, art, poetry, music, theatre.

D. Zivas


1185-1479 FRANKISH RULE (Orsini, Angenins, Di Tocco)

1479 The Turks destroyed the island.

1484-1797 Venetian rule Zakynthos along with the rest of the Ionian islands was a subject of the “Serenissima Repubblica” (Stato Del Mar). The Venetians brought with them a feudal oligarchy and the population was divided into "nobili", "civili" and "popolari".

1628 the first social revolt in Greek territory in modern history. The revolution lasted 4 years and became known as the “rebellion of the popolari”.

1797-1798 French occupation - the island passed to the domination of the democratic French

1798 the Russian - Turkish

1800-1807 the ”Eptanisos politia “ (Septinsular republic)  the first independent Greek state, which lasted seven years.

1807-1809 Second French domination

1809 -1864 The English rule. The British fleet occupied Zakynthos.

1815 The English made Zakynthos the capital of the “Ionian state”.