After the 17th c. BC volcanic eruption that shattered Thera, burying the prehistoric city at Akrotiri beneath thick layers of volcanic deposits,  the island remained deserted for centuries. Archaeological evidence shows that it was resettled at the end of the prehistoric era for some time.  However, it was systematically and continuously inhabited only from the 8th c. BC, in the historical era, when Dorian colonists from Sparta settled  there under the leadership of Theras, to whom it owes its name. The island, on which a fair number of settlements developed at various sites, comprised an autonomous entity with an urban core (the city-state of Thera, named after its founder) that served as both administrative and  religious center.

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