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Sicily, a large, strange island in the middle of the Mediterranean. For a good portion of history, it had been a strategic point to conquer and impose ones’ culture upon, that is if you can walk and then communicate over the mountains. Let us start from the beginning.

There may actually have been a Neolithic culture around 8000 BCE who lived on the island. Cave paintings near Mount Palermo suggest this dating. It has also been speculated that this people traveled to Malta and developed culture there, as suggested evidence by similar megalithic temples around 3,800 BCE.  

Myceneans and the Minoans set up trade centers at Thapsos on the Ionian coast, which is on the south eastern coast, around 3,800 BCE.

Around 1100 BCE the Sicels, also referred to as the Normans, arrived from the Italian Peninsula to what is modern day Mineo, in the middle south part of Sicily.

About 800 BCE, the Phoenicians, peoples originating from Lebanon, developed trade routes across the Mediterranean. Solidly having a relationship with Cairo, Egypt, who ended up funding explorations. Wherever the Phoenicians landed they set up settlements, which included agriculture and viticulture. The Phoenicians sailed to Greece, northern Africa, and Sicily, where they were determined to reside on the northwest side, near Mount Palermo. Then they moved on to Spain, Gibraltar, and eventually up toward Portugal.  The Greeks arrived next and conquered the eastern side, around Mount Etna and the city of Taormina, shortly after the Phoenicians arrived. Around 700 BCE the Elymians, Arabs from northern Africa, came to settle on the extreme western side of Sicily. Perhaps even taking over where the Phoenicians had been.

Eventually, Sicily grew into three distinct people groups who didn’t communicate with each other due to the geographic mountain barricades between them. The Siculi people to the east, the Sicani people to the west of the Gelas river and the Elymians who lived in the extreme west, and were the descendants of the ancient Trojans.

Eventually, after many hundreds of years, 20 different states became the country of Italy. The island of Sicily is both 8% of Italy’s land area and 8% of the nation’s population.



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