In ancient times Nafplio was basically overshadowed by Argos, which used it as a port from the 7th century BC.
During Byzantine times and from the 11th century onwards, its importance as a major trading centre increased steadily. A very important figure in the history of the city was Leo Sgouros, the ruler of Nafplio from about 1200. Whishing to extend his authority, he reached as far as Larissa in 1204. Further advancement was curtailed by the crusaders of the 4th crusade, who seized all the lands he had conquered, including Nafplio, between 1210 and 1212.
The city of Nafplio, or the Napoli di Romania as it was named by the Venetians, took shape during the first Venetian occupation, when, towards the end of the 15th century, artificial banks were built into the sea to form the lower city. Today, this area is regarded as the historical centre of the modern city. Until that time habitation had only been possible on the rock of the Acronauplia. Other notable works of the period are the Castello di Toro and the Bourtzi.
- UNDER THE RULE OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
1540: after a three-year siege, Nafplio surrenders to the Turks. During the first Turkish occupation of the city, which lasted from 1540 to 1686, Nafplio seems to have enjoyed special rights and privileges, especially towards the middle of the 17th century. In fact, it became the capital of the Peloponnesus and the headquarters of the Turkish commander, Mora-Pasha.
1686: the Venetians, led by the highly capable general, Francesco Morosini, recapture the city of Nafplio and hold onto it for a short period until 1715. Nafplio becomes a very important city during this period as the capital of the Morean kingdom. The greatest work carried out during the second Venetian occupation is without doubt the Fort of Palamidi.
1715: the second and harsher Turkish occupation begins and the city of Nafplio falls into decline, especially after the headquarters of the Pasha were moved to Tripoli. According to the descriptions of foreign travellers of the time, the city was mostly occupied by Turks and a few Christians who were restricted to the Psaromachalas area. Many homes were abandoned; the harbour filled with rubbish and the stench was unbearable.
1822: on the night of 29th November, after many months of siege, the Palamidi falls to the Greeks as the result of a surprise attack led by Staikos Staikopoulos. From then on, the city of Nafplio begins to develop at great speed and crowds of refugees flood in from the surrounding areas that are still under the yoke of Turkish rule.
The city of Nafplio reached the peak of its glory when it became the capital of the Greek state from 1827 to 1834.
1828: on the 8th of January the first governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, alights at Nafplio.
1831: on 27th September Ioannis Kapodistrias is murdered outside the church of Agios Spiridon.
1833: on 25th January, the people of Nauplion welcome Otto, the first king of Greece. He remains in Nafplio for a short while, until around the end of 1834 when the capital of Greece moves to Athens.
1862: in February, the Nafplian revolution against Otto breaks out. This event is known as the Nafpliaka. It is the last time that Nafplio becomes the centre of attention.
After the Nafpliaka, the city once again falls into decline. Nowadays, Nafplio is a provincial town, which, over the last few years, has developed into a popular destination for Greek and foreign tourists.