In the wealth of ancient Greek mythology there are two references to Mykonos. The first tells us that the island took its name from the hero Mykonos and the other that it was on Mykonos that Hercules slew the Giants and that the large rocks which lie scattered about the island are their petrified corpses.
In ancient times there were two cities on Mykonos, one of which was near the site of the present town. The Ionians came from Athens to Mykonos in the 9th century BC. From that point on, the history of Mykonos has been, broadly speaking, the same as that of the other islands of the Cyclades. Initially it was under the rule of Athenians, but at that time it took second place to Delos, which was a major religious centre for many centuries.
Mykonos was conquered by the Venetians in 1207 and by Turks in 1537. It played an important part in the 1821 uprising. In October 1822, the Turks undertook a landing on the island, but the Mykonians under their heroic woman leader, Manto Mavroyenous, successfully repulsed it. After liberation (1830) Mykonos managed to re-establish its commercial fleet but the aftercoming dominance of the steamship resulted in the gradual constriction of their shipping activities by the end of the past century.
During the period between World War I and World War II, tourism made its first appearance. From the mid-50s on the island has been gradually transformed into an important tourist, cosmopolitan and artistic centre.