It is believed that millions of years ago there was no Aegean sea, but Tinos, together with other islands were probably the remnants of mountaintops of an area that connected Greece with Asia Minor .

The island is inhabited since very ancient times. The first inhabitants are mentioned to be the Phoenicians and later the Ionians, the Athenians, the Macedonians and the Romans.

Its name probably comes from the name of its first settler, Tinos. Other names of the island were "Ydrousa" (Ydor=Water) and "Ofiousa" (Ofis=Snake) due to the large numbers of snakes. Aristophanes calls it "Skordoforos" (Skordo=garlic) due to the quality garlic it produced.

On ancient Tinos wrote mainly Ainisidimos ("Tiniaka") and Aristotle ("Politia Tinion"), who also visited it. However, these works were not saved.
After the decadence of Rome, Tinos becomes part of the Byzantine Empire.

Tinos, on one hand due to the fact that it was a remote colony of Byzantium and on the other hand due to its important geographical position, met literally countless pirate raids by the Turks, the Arabs, the Saracens, the Sicilians, the Huns and the Goths. And as of that were not enough, during the same period the area had a very hard time due to terrible earthquakes, both in terms of destructions and frequency. Moreover, there were also terrible epidemics, such as the plague. In such a framework Tinos did not have the essentials to create civilization, given the fact that for the inhabitants survival was not self-evident.

if the Byzantium was ruled by a brave and decisive Emperor, the Cyclades were under his protection, if not the evils grew. This phenomenon was of course more frequent with time as the decay of Byzantium grew.

The administration system of Tinos by the Byzantium was of course feudal. Brave knights occupied land, which they divided to large pieces that were the feuds. The peasants were left some very small pieces of land that generally were the most arid. Of their production, they had to give the largest part as tax, while they were obliged to work without payment for their lords.

During the fourth Crusade, the Venetians join the crusaders and sack Byzantium in 1204. At the distribution they take the islands of the Aegean and the Ionian sea .

The Venetians realized that these dominions need a lot of money in terms of military and naal force, on one hand to keep and defend from pirate raids and on the other hand to educate and organize administratively. For this reason, they turn to rich Barons and Dukes, to which they concede full sovereign rights, which can be inherited to their offsprings.

So starts the dynasty of Gyzis family, which lasts until 1390. During the whole period of Venetian domination, the people of Tinos were not so heavily oppressed by the conquerors.

First and foremost care of the Venetians was the island's defence. The Venetian fleet did not suffice and so military and naval force was formed, outposts were built and finally special care was taken to fortify the castle on mount Exombourgo.

Despite all that and during the whole period of Venetian domination, Tinos suffered a lot from pirates, as well as the organized Turkish army. However, for more than five centuries, these attacks were thwarted successfully and Tinos had the unique privilege to be under Christian rule for all this time.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Venetians were now in decadence. The islands of the Cyclades had long ago fallen to Turkish hands. Despite that, Tinos remained for a long time impregnable to the Turks and also was the base for lots of destructive raids against the Turks, both in the Aegean, as well as in the Turkish coast. The hatred of the Turks was now boiling, since they could not subdue a headache of such a small island in the middle of the dominions of the endless Ottoman Empire.

In 1715, 65 Turkish warships, 74 transports, as well as 25.000 Turkish soldiers arrive at the island. Resistance on the island, although brave, could not stop the advance to the castle of Exombourgo. The castle of Exombourgo is surrounded, but the resistance by the few warriors inside the walls is enough in this case too. Although, as it seemed, the successful countering of this gigantic Turkish raid was certain. The militarily inexperienced commander is afraid that the castle will not last and despite the warrants of his experienced officers on the contrary, he disarms it and gives it to the Turks. The surrender included capitulation with particularly honourable terms for the people of Tinos. With the accusation of "treason after bribery", both the commander and his officers are sentenced to death by the particularly hard punishment of swallowing liquid silver (the punishment for bribery).

Turkish domination in Tinos had nothing to do with any other place in the rest of Greece. The people of Tinos had many freedoms and privileges in terms of clothing, religion and culture, as well as the island's economy.

More particularly, they had the right to wear the local clothing, they were not obliged to wear a fez and were free to build churches and schools.

Moreover, the Turkish fleet was not allowed to approach the island without permission. The presence of the Turks was almost inexistent, since they didn't stay on the island, except for the commander and the judge, who were often away from their seat. The island was in fact governed by four elected persons that constituted the highest authority of Tinos, which was named Community of the island of Tinos.

At that time, Tinos knows great boom. It booms financially after the spectacular growth of commerce and the development of marble sculpture with tours and stores in the whole of the Balkans and Asia Minor.

It emerges in fact as the economic capital of the Cyclades, due to its privileges. The island hosts often the consuls of France, Russia, England, Denmark and Spain. It came to be called "Small Paris". Their way of life, homes and clothing were decisively influenced during that period.

On March 31st 1821, Pyrgos with Georgios Palamaris as leader, raises the flag of the revolution. Twenty days later, the flag passes to the Town of Tinos. The people of Tinos contribute to the revolution with 5.000 soldiers and a large fleet of vessels. Seamen from Tinos man the glorious warships of Psara, Spetses and Ydra. The members of the Revolutionary Society of Friends from Tinos are more than twelve, while the island was a valuable refuge for asylum to Greek who were persecuted or refugees.

At the end of January 1823 the icon of Virgin Mary was found. Kolokotronis, Miaoulis, Nikitaras and Makrygiannis arrive at the island to pray. This particular event was considered perhaps the most important sacred message of Greek Orthodox Christendom, for the righteousness of the revolution.

Tinos comes back to the foreground of the Greek history on August 15 th 1940.

The ship Elli was anchored and decorated with flags for the great celebration outside the port of Tinos. Greece at that time had broken off diplomatic relations with fascist Italy.

While a firing squad was getting ready to get off the ship, Elli was cravenly hit by a torpedo of an Italian submarine, burst into flames and sank one hour later. Two more torpedoes that aimed at the pier that was crowded with people never exploded, a fact that is remembered as a miracle of Virgin Mary.

This craven hit against Elli by a torpedo of an Italian submarine took place while fascist Italy had not even declared war on Greece.

Although this action was aimed at breaking the Greek pride, it managed nothing more than toughing the Greeks even more, in order to force the fascist troops to their most humiliating defeat a few months later.

As tribute, every year a member of the government throws a wreath at the point where Elli sank, while the Commander of the Fleet deposits a wreath to the Mausoleum of Elli that lies under the Church of Megalochari.

During the years of German occupation, the inhabitants suffered from hunger to the extent of starvation. The island's contribution to the resistance against the conquerors, although not particularly known, was once again historical.

Due to its geographical position, the island worked as the largest Allied intelligence and sabotage centre in the Aegean. The radio from Tinos, through the information it transmitted to the Allied Headquarters of the Middle East, caused constant harm to the Germans.

Finally, from the steep little ports of the island small boats with Greek patriots fled to the Middle East to continue fighting against the conqueror. Among them were Konstantinos Karamanlis and Georgios Papandreou.