Kythira are inhabited since ancient times. The island’s history is connected with significant historic incidents and mythological narrations. Isiodos in Theogonie reports that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was born in this island. According to the myth, Aphrodite was conceived in the sea froth when Cronus cut Uranus generative organs and threw them into the sea. So, from the union of these two elements, Aphrodite was born, the goddess of love, who traveled to Cyprus in a shell and bob up.
Phinics were the first settlers of Kythira. The island was named after their leader Kythiros.
According to archaeological findings, the island was inhabited since Neolithic Age. Inhabitance traces are dated from the 3000BC.
Phinics worked up laver – the shell from which red colour was produced. For this cause they built special workshops, porfyria. At that time the island was named Porfyris or Porfyrousa.
During the second millenium, Minoans made Kythira a way station to west. Later they established a colony, Skandia in the place of Paleopolis. On the hill of Avlemonas, in the north part of the island was discovered a minoic temple with many important findings.
Later Mycaenaens came to the island. During classic times, Argeans, Spartians and Athenians conquered the island.
Macedonians followed and Romans. In 365BC a severe earthquake occurred in the island and changed the geomorphology of Skandia.
During the 6th century the island started to inhabit systematically. It is the Byzantine period with significant religious activity. At that time, more than 300 churches are built. The embattled settlement of Saint Demetrios in Paleochora, the medieval capital of the island was built then. There is also a local legend, which says that Paleochora had 365 churches, one for every day of the year.
After the overthrow of Byzantine Empire, in 1204, Venetians came to the island and passed the administration of Kythira to Venieri family.
At first the island came under Crete, but eventually followed a common historic route with the rest Ionian Islands.
During the Venetian rule, many refugees came to the island from Peloponese and Crete and suffered a lot of plunders from Turkish invasions.
In 1537, the dreadful pirate Hairendin Barbarosa invaded the island and plundered it.
During the 17th century, life started again. Kythira following a common route with the rest Ionian Islands. It was conquered by French, English and was affected by the Russian Turkish war.
In 1815 it participated to the State of Seven United Islands.
In March 1864, Kythira were adjusted to Greece.
During the Second World War, residents of Kythira participated to the National Resistance. On September 4th 1944, Kythira are the first region to liberate.