700k BC – 130k BC In 2010 experts from Greece and
the US found rough axes and other tools, thought to be between
130,000 and 700,000 years, old close to shelters on the south coast
11000BC-10000BC The first Greek tribes settled on
Crete around the 11th century BC.
(WSJ, 3/20/97, p.A17)
3200BC-2000BC The Cycladic culture, a network of small, sometimes
fortified farming and fishing settlements that traded with mainland
Greece, Crete and Asia Minor, flourished during this period. It is
best known for the elegant figurines: mostly naked, elongated
figures with arms folded under their chests. It was eclipsed by
Crete and Mycenaean Greece.
2500BC Cycladic figurines on the islet of Keros
were deliberately smashed around this time. In 2006 new research led
scientists to believe that Keros was a hugely important religious
site where the smashed artwork was ceremoniously deposited. The
sea-faring Cycladic culture consisted of a network of small,
sometimes fortified, farming and fishing settlements that traded
with mainland Greece, Crete and Asia Minor. It became renowned for
its elegant flat-faced marble figurines.
(SFC, 1/10/06, p.D7)(AP, 12/31/06)
2000BC-1600BC The Middle Minoan period of Crete.
Middle Minoan I finds polychrome decoration in pottery with
elaborate geometrical patterns; we also discover interesting
attempts to picture natural forms, such as goats and beetles. There
then followed some great catastrophe. Middle Minoan II includes the
period of the great palace of Phaestos and the first palace of
Knossos. This period also includes the magnificent polychrome
pottery called Kamares ware. Another catastrophe occurred. The
second great palace of Knossos was built and began the Middle Minoan
III. It was distinguished by an intense realism in art, speaking
clearly of a rapid deterioration in taste. Pictographic writing was
clearly developed, with a hieratic or cursive script derived from
it, adapted for writing with pen and ink.
2000BC-1500BC The Minoan civilization, named after
the Cretan ruler Minos, reached its height with central power in
Knossos on the isle of Crete. The culture was apparently more
female-oriented and peaceful than others of the time.
1700BC Knossos, Crete, was first destroyed by an
1627BC The volcano Thera, or Santorini in the
Aegean Sea, erupted about this time. Akrotiri, a Minoan city on the
south part of Thera, was later excavated. About 3-6 feet (1-2 m) of
ash fell on the city which had a population of about 30,000. The
explosion of Thera about this time released energy equal to 200,000
H-bombs. In 1939 Spyridon Marinatos authored “The Volcanic
Destruction of Minoan Crete."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_eruption)(NH, 5/96, p.3)
1500BCE Egyptian tombs from about this time show
paintings of apparently Cretan messengers and merchants, called by
the name Keftiu, bearing Cretan goods: and in addition we find the
actual tangible goods themselves, deposited with the Egyptian dead.
c600-500 BC Epimenides, Cretan philosopher, is
said to have originated the Liar paradox, by proclaiming that “All
Cretans are liars."
(Econ, 10/4/03, p.77)
365 Jul 21, An earthquake,
whose epicenter was in Crete, leveled the Egyptian Port of
Alexandria as well as the Roman outpost of Leptis Magna in Libya.
Some 50,000 people died. The ancient Egyptian city, known as
Leukaspis or Antiphrae, was hidden for centuries after it was nearly
wiped out by the tsunami. When Chinese engineers began cutting into
the sandy coast to build the roads for a new resort in 1986, they
struck the ancient tombs and houses of the town founded in the
second century B.C.
(www.earthscape.org/r2/jos/vol1-1june1997/pg55.html)(AM, Mar/Apr 97
367 Much of Gortyn, the Roman
capital of Crete, was destroyed be an earthquake. It was 1st
inhabited around 3,000 BC and was destroyed by an Arab invasion in
1204 The rule of Venice over
Crete dates to this year, when the Republic was awarded 3/8 of the
Eastern Roman Empire for its role in supporting the Fourth Crusade.
1450-1650 The Venetians occupied the capital city
of Iraklion. The forests of Crete provided the Venetians with cedars
and firs for their fleets.
(SFEC, 8/17/97, p.T10)
1541 El Greco (d.1614), artist,
was born in Crete. He settled in Toledo, Spain, in 1577 and died
(WSJ, 6/18/01, p.A16)
1645 Turkish invaders of the
Ottoman Empire captured Hania on the island of Crete and built a
(SFEC, 8/17/97, p.T10)
1669 Sep 26, The island of
Crete fell to the Ottoman Turks after 465 years as a colony of
(WSJ, 7/21/08, p.A11)
1894 Arthur Evans went to Crete
to find the truth behind the legend of the Minotaur.
(AM, 11/00, p.53)
1896 Nov 26, Russia disclosed a
plan to seize Constantinople if Britain intervenes in Crete.
1897 The Greeks were defeated
by Turkey at Velestino in their war over the independence of Crete.
(WSJ, 8/6/98, p.A13)
1898 Turkey withdrew from
(AM, 11/00, p.53)
1899 Sir Arthur Evans
discovered the center of Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.
He erected a house overlooking the excavations and named it Villa
Ariadne after the daughter of King Minos. As he unearthed a mound at
Knossos he rebuilt parts of a 3,500 year-old palace in modernist
style. In 2009 Cathy Gere authored “Knossos and the Prophets of
(WSJ, 6/26/98, p.W9)(WSJ, 2/8/02, p.AW9)(Econ,
1908 An Italian expedition on
Crete discovered a terra cotta artifact with an unknown script. It
was dated to about 1700 BC and became known as the Phaistos Disc
(Phaestos Disc). [see 1600 BCE]
(SSFC, 2/22/04, p.M6)
1913 Dec 14, Greece formally
1940-1941 German paratroopers were decimated in
the battle for Crete.
1941 May 20, Germany invaded
Crete by air.
1941 Jun 1, The German Army
completed the capture of Crete as the Allied evacuation ended.
1944 Partisans kidnapped the
German commander of Crete and spirited him off to a British
(WSJ, 2/8/02, p.AW9)
1973 Dilys Powell (1901-1995),
film critic for the London Times, authored "The Villa Ariadne," a
history and travel memoir of Crete. It was published in the US in
1999 Jan 13, Dozens of illegal
refugees on Crete went on a hunger strike to support their demand
for political asylum. A boat that was to take them to Italy ran
aground in a storm Nov 27. The refugees were Kurds, Indians and
(SFC, 1/14/99, p.A6)
2006 Feb 20, Farmers clashed on
the island of Crete with striking seamen who kept Greece's ports
closed for a fifth day. The protest has caused food and gasoline
supply problems for some Greek islands, and forced farmers to dump
2007 Jul 11, Three firefighters
died while battling a blaze in a forest on the Greek island of
2011 Jan 3, A Greek ministry
statement said experts from Greece and the US have found rough axes
and other tools, thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years,
old close to shelters on the south coast of Crete. The island has
been separated from the mainland for about five million years, so
whoever made the tools must have traveled there by sea, a distance
of at least 40 miles.
2011 Mar 6, Nearly 50
Bangladeshi migrant workers evacuated by sea from Libya to the Greek
island of Crete jumped ship during the night, apparently to avoid
being sent back to Bangladesh. Three died, 11 remained missing and
many others were hospitalized.
2014 Apr 24, A Togo-flagged
cargo ship sank off the southern island of Crete. Four crew members
were rescued by a merchant vessel, but three remained missing.