Ithaca, the island home of Odysseus, is one of the most popular islands in Greece. Not only in the present, but also in antiquity and mythology. Homer in his epics has left a legacy to foreign and Greek scholars, who have debated and worked years with this project.
In addition to Homer, older writers such as Akousilaos, said that Ithakos, Niritos and Polyktor were the three sons of King Pterelaou who was from Jupiter. The wife of Ulysses, Penelope, was the daughter of king Icarus and Polykastis.
The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer certainly could not be written in a condensed version. These two works of great historical significance, have made the history of Ithaca known world wide. Despite centuries of invaders to the island, names and places remain unchanged to this day. The epics of Homer prove that Ithaca is the home of Odysseus.
Ithaca was inhabited from the Neolithic period (4000-3000 BC), as evidenced by the finds from excavations in the cave of Loizou and at Pilikata.
The Odyssey by scholars begins in 1174 BC with the arrival of Odysseus to Ithaca after ten years of wandering.
References are made in the Odyssey regarding the Cave of Eumaeus and the Cave of the Nymphs. Ulysses, who ruled until his death, was succeeded by his son Telemachus.
From 1000-800 BC Ithaca was conquered by the Dorians and after by the Corinthians until 180 BC, when Ithaca was conquered by the Romans.
The Romans remained in the island until 394 AD, most of the population lived in the north. From 394 AD Ithaca becomes part of the Byzantine Empire, which established the Christian cult and built churches and monasteries.
In 1185 the island was conquered by the Normans and then passes into the hands of the Orsini family in 1204, Tocchi family in 1357, and then in 1479 the Turks, who pillaged and killed much of the inhabitants.
The Turkish occupation lasted until 1503, when the island was sold to the Venetians.
The Venetian rule lasted until 1797, which then saw the first French occupation. The population of Paleochora, Anogi and Exogi increase greatly and Vathi is the capital of the island.
In 1799 the Ionian islands are occupied by the Russo-Turkish occupation for a short period and then returns to the hands of the French. The French rule, although short-term had a positive impact on residents of the Ionian islands. The new social doctrines, the principles of freedom and equality of the French Revolution revive a sense of freedom and fatherland in the souls of the Ionian Islands.
In 1809 begins the period of British rule and the founding of the independent state, 'United States of Ionian Islands " and ruled constitutional by the Ionian Parliament. Interest in Homeric Ithaca began, the economy flourished, and the social life is upgraded.
On 21 May, 1864 the international political situation led to the union of Eftanison (Ionian Islands) with Greece.
In recent history, many Ithacacians have business interests in the Balkans and world wide. The island is modernized in the beginning of the 20th century. The construction of public buildings, opening new roads, the electrical plant opens in 1923, the island's shipping develops and the intellectual life is active.
But in 1953 the island is hit by an earthquake that destroyed most of the settlements and villages. With the help of the state and many Ithacaan immigrants, the island was rebuilt.