Amorgos features a lot of remnants of ancient civilizations. At the time of Archaic Greece, there were three independent city-states there. They are believed to have featured autonomous constitutions but the same currency. Amorgos is distinguished by the size and quality of the walls surrounding the city of Arkesini, by the ancient towers whose remains are scattered all over the island, by the ancient tombs, the stone tools, the inscriptions, the vases and by other antiquities.
Due to the name Minoa we suspect that Amorgos had been colonised by the Cretans from ancient times, but there are no archeological remains supporting this view.
Early Cycladic period
Dokathismata figurine, Early Cycladic II, Syros phase (2800–2300 BC). Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art
Almost a dozen separate inhabited centers are known in this period. Amorgos is the origin of many famous Cycladic figurines. ‘Dokathismata style’ figurines were originally found here. Cycladic sculptures had been discovered from the cemeteries at Aghia Paraskevi, Aghios Pavlos, Dokathismata, Kapros, Kapsala, Nikouria and Stavros.
'Kapsala Cycladic figurines', dating around 2700 B.C., are named after a find place in Amorgos. This is the earliest of the 'canonical types' – a reclining female with folded arms. They tend to have slender and elongated proportions. At this time, anatomical features such as arms are modeled three-dimensionally. With the later types, sculptors tended to render this feature with incised lines.
'Dokathismata Cycladic figurines' date from a somewhat later period of 2400–2100 BC. Compared to the statuettes of the Spedos type—the most common and renowned type of figurines featuring finely modeled and somewhat rounded shapes—the statuettes of the Dokathismata type tend to have a more slender and sometimes angular silhouette.
Part of the island is named Aspis, where the ancient temple of the goddess Aphrodite stood.
In approximately 630 BC, the poet Semonides led the foundation of a Samian colony on Amorgos. The Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax mentions it as Tripolis. With the passing of time, the island's name changed to Amolgon and Amourgon. In the 5th century, Bishop Theodore, who attended a synod in Constantinople, signed as Bishop of the Parians, Sifnians, and Amoulgians. It was known as Yamurgi during Ottoman rule between 1566–1829.
On 9 July 1956, a very large earthquake occurred that generated a local tsunami of up to 30 m (98 ft). The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.7 and had a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). Fifty-three people were killed and 100 were injured.