History of Hydra
Traces of the Neolithic period have been found in archeological finds in Episkopi - Hydra. But it is established that the island was not regularly inhabited during ancient classical times.
Hydra was once upon a time rich in water as its name indicates in Greek, for the locals, "Hydrea" but at some point in time, for an unknown reason it became deprived of water and its inhabitants had to seek other ways than agriculture to make a living.
They became sailors since the island was on the main maritime roads of the Mediterranean.
Towards the end of the 18th century, Hydra was blooming in merchant marine activities. The island was named "Little England" after the importance of its merchant fleet and the skills of its captains. At that time Hydra counted 130 battleships of 30 000 tons each.
All the wealth of Hydra is derived from the advantage it took in the English-French war at the time of Napoleon. This is when all the splendid "Captain" mansions of Miaouli, Tombazi, Oikonomou were built.
This wealth and power were the starting point of the Revolution that led to the foundation of the Modern Greek state in 1830.
After the Second World War, and especially during the late fifties and the early sixties, Hydra was rediscovered by numerous artists and painters like Nikolas Chatzikiriakos-Gikas who originated from Hydra, poets like George Seferis who won the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1963 and writers like Henry Miller who wrote about Hydra in his famous book "the Colossus of Maroussi".
Movies like the "Girl in black" (1960) by Michalis Kakoyiannis starring Sofia Loren, "The Child and the Dolphin" and especially "Phaedra" of Jules Dassin with Melina Mercouri and Anthony Quin, propel the island to the top scenery of the international jet set like Saint-Tropez at that time and later, Mykonos.
Since then it has inspired many artists who chose to live on the island and plenty of people who have just fallen in love with its pure natural beauty.