The history of Fourni, is in a large extend connected to its geographical location. This location as well as the fact that during the Byzantine period, it was just a deserted island made Fourni the perfect pirate lair!
Although there are no evidence found on the island to tell us its story in antiquity, it is widely believed that Fourni’s first inhabitants were Ions who came from Miletus.
This case has arisen due to the fact that those were the first to inhabit the nearby islands, but it is confirmed by the existence of the quarries of Fourni, from which raw material ancient Miletus had been built.
The island was inhabited once again in 1770 AD by a monk named Nephos, who came from Patmos along with five more monks, who built in Kumara location the chapel of Annunciation and a cell. The first settlement of the island was created by inhabitants of the Dodecanese.
During the Ottoman rule, Fourni used to be controlled by the principality of Samos. Located in such a strategic place, Fourni helped many Greek sea-fighters in their battles during the revolution in 1821, and thus the island is considered as an important core of resistance.
According to the narration of a Samian historic named Stamatiadis, during the Greek revolution, Miaoulis soon after the battle in Mycale, pulled with a part of his fleet in Kamari location, in order to mend some of his damaged ships.
Soon after the Greek Revolution had ended, Fourni passed under the commands of a marine from Patmos, in exchange for his services to the Ottoman fleet. The exact incident is that the captain helped the leader of the Ottoman fleet to escape from the Greek fleet which was currently under the commands of Admiral Sachtouri, the previous day of when the battle of Mycale took place. Since then the residents of the island were forced to pay him an annual rent and later on, to his heirs.
Thus, the locals managed to avoid dealing with the Ottomans, until the installation of an Ottoman garrison that contained 5-6 people, after the vilayet Act (1864) had been applied. This law brought an increase in taxes, dissatisfying the inhabitants of Fourni.
Another incident that marked the island’s history, occurred on Christmas Day in 1911, when two smugglers, Polydoros and Manolis, from Koufonisia, known for their ferocity, massacred members of the Ottoman garrison, against the will of the locals. That caused the inhabitants of Fourni many problems, since the Ottomans responded to that incident immediately.
The liberation of the island occurred in July 1912 along with the Revolution of Ikaria, followed by the formal annexation of the Greek Territory on November the 3rd, in 1912.
Important parts of local history play the four quarries, which holdings date back in ancient times, and from the marble of which the Ancient Miletus had been built. Excavations carried out, revealed important archaeological findings such as pieces of columns and capitals in Petrokopio location. The Ottomans used the marble they took from another quarry of the island, to built the mosque “Gkilitz Pasha” in Istanbul.
Archaeological remains found in various other locations, reveal the Foirnoi’s remarkable position on the Greek historical map.