Historical notes

The human presence is in the archipelago since ancient times. The prehistoric people were undoubtedly attracted by the presence of large quantities of obsidian, a mineral of volcanic origin thanks to which the Aeolian Islands became center of important trade routes since the days of ancient Rome. The first settlements were found a few centuries before 4000 BC, during the Neolithic age. Obsidian, which in those days was a very important material due to the fact that it was the sharpest that man had available, generated intense commercial traffic, and so created great prosperity to the islands. Obsidian from Lipari was exported in large quantities to Sicily, southern Italy, Liguria, Provence and Dalmatia. In Lipari was so born one of the most populous settlements of the Mediterranean, and from 3000 BC the wealth of Lipari extended to six other islands, which began to be populated. Between the sixteenth and fourteenth centuries BC, the islands became important for the trade route of metals, particularly tin, which arrived by sea from distant trading centers of Britain and transited towards Messina to the east. While in Sicily arrived the culture of Castelluccio, to Capo Graziano, to Filicudi and the island of Lipari spreads the so-called Aeolian culture characterized by commerce rather than agriculture, with its circular huts with walls made of stones, almost overhanging the sea and their own pottery. The islands were then colonized by the Greeks around 580 BC. It was them to call the Islands Aeolian, as they thought they were the abode of the god of the winds, Aeolus, a myth that confirms the importance of the Greeks in the islands.

In 260 the Islands were the place of the Lipari battle between Rome and Carthage. In Roman times, they became centers of commerce for sulfur, alum and salt.

The biblical historian Giuseppe Flavio mentions a population, perhaps related to the Aeolian islands: "Elisa gave name to Eliseani, and they are now Aeolian." Elisa refers to the granddaughter of Japheth, son of Noah.

In 1544, when Spain declared war to France, the French king Francis I asked for help to the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. He sent a fleet commanded by Khayr al-Din Barbarossa, who sailed on the Aeolian islands and attacked them, killing and deporting its inhabitants. According to his plan the Aeolian Islands should have been the outpost from which they would have attacked Naples.

Over the centuries, the islands were repopulated again by the Spanish, Sicilian and the rest of Italian communities. During the Bourbon times, the island of Vulcano was used as a penal colony for the forced extraction of alum and sulfur.

(from Wikipedia)

The Aeolian Islands have been recorded since 2000 by UNESCO as World Heritage

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