Crete is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is considered to be the largest and most populous of all the Greek islands. It has a rich history that dates back to ancient times, with a wide range of cultures and civilizations that have left their mark on the island.
In ancient times, Crete was known by several names, each reflecting a different period of its history. The island’s earliest name was “Keftiu” or “Caphtor”, which can be found in Egyptian inscriptions dating back to 1450 BCE. This name referred to the Minoan civilization that flourished on Crete from about 2700 BCE to 1450 BCE.
During the Mycenaean period, around 1400 BCE, Crete was known as “Kaptara” or “Kaphtor”. This name was used by the Mycenaeans who conquered Crete and made it part of their empire. The name Kaptara is believed to have been derived from the Semitic word for “island”.
Later on, during the classical period of Greece, Crete was known as “Kríti” or “Kriti”. This name is still used today in modern Greek. During this period, Crete saw many invasions and occupations by various groups such as the Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans.
In Roman times, from about 69 BCE to 330 CE, Crete was referred to as “Creta”. It became an important center for trade and commerce in the eastern Mediterranean and was also a strategic location for military operations.
During Venetian rule from 1204 CE to 1669 CE, Crete was known as “Candia”, after its capital city Heraklion (then called Candia). The Venetians made significant contributions to the island’s architecture and infrastructure during this time.
In Ottoman times, from 1669 CE to 1898 CE, Crete was known as “Girit” or “Kirid”. The Ottomans ruled the island for over 200 years and left a lasting impact on its culture and society.
In conclusion, Crete has had many names throughout its history, each reflecting a different period of its development. From Keftiu to Kríti to Candia to Girit, the island’s history is rich and diverse. Today, it remains an important center for tourism and commerce in the Mediterranean region.