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Náxos (näkˈsôs, năkˈsŏs) [key], island (1991 pop. 14,838), c.160 sq mi (410 sq km), SE Greece, in the Aegean Sea; largest of the Cyclades. Náxos, the chief town, is on the western shore. The fertile island produces fruits, olive oil, and a noted white wine. It has been a source of white marble, emery, and granite since ancient times. Náxos is famous in mythology as the place where Theseus abandoned Ariadne. It was a center of the worship of Dionysius. The island was colonized by the Ionians and in 490 B.C. was captured and sacked by the Persians. It was a member of the Delian League, but after an unsuccessful attempt to secede was captured (c.470 B.C.) and became a tributary to Athens. Náxos passed to Venice in 1207 and was the seat of a Venetian duchy until 1566, when it fell to the Ottoman Turks. It became part of independent Greece in 1829.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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