During the ancient times, Fourni island complex was called 'Korasioi islands'. This name was given by Agaios from Arcadia king of Samos . Agaios, after a dispute with his father, migrated first to Kefalonia and then, after a divination of Apollo, went to Samos bringing many settlers with him. He got married and had many children among which was Samos who later became king and had many children too. He gave Fourni as a present to his daughters and that gave tha island its name (Korasia = girls).
In 1537 B. Bordone a Venetian geographer, refers to the islands of Fourni complex as 'Fornelli' which means small ovens, probably because of the concave shape of the port which was a safe haven for ships. There are many other names in maps drawn during the middle ages, such as 'Melanthi' and 'Fortiole'.
According to Porfyrios the island was inhabited by the Korsiites during the 1st century B.C. This estimation is confirmed by signs found on Agios Georgios' rock which must have been the acropolis of that time.
Many archaeological findings, most of which were found accidentally, prove that the island was inhabited during the Hellenistic times. Some of them are:
- the sarcophagus found south of Agios Nikolaos church in 1927 that is now exhibited on the village's square.
- the marble Doric columns found in Kamari
- the remains of a Poseidon temple in Chrisomilia
These findings prove that Fournoi wasn't a desolate island and that it was inhabited by the same tribes that lived on nearby islands such as Samos, Ikaria and Patmos .
During these times the Byzantine fleet protected the island from the pirates and the name it still has was given to italian Venetian geographer B. Bordone first mentioned the name "Fornelli" (small oven) in 1537.
During the Turkish occupation, Turk, Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian and Greek pirates ravaged the islands killing many people trying to protect their belongings. This caused a large transfer of population away from the coasts.
The island was deserted and became a hide-out for pirates.
After the pirate raids stopped in the 18th century the island was re-inhabited.
After the liberation
For many decades the people of Fourni had no transactions with the Turks. They were only financially subordinate to Patmos .
The problems on the island were solved by the well-respected elderly people and the mayor who was elected every 3 years by acclamation. The mayor was responsible for tax-collecting, public affairs and education.
Fourni were liberated and allotted to Greece in 1912 after a rebellion that started in Ikaria .
Dring the World War II, Fourni fell under Italian occupation, without facing any real trouble. Many people fled with boats to Cyprus and Egypt .
Since then, Fourni have been a major fishing island as a great fleet evolved on it.
Fourni haven't been unaffected by the phenomena of migration and urban attraction. Many families left the island looking for a better future.
Today, Fourni's tourism is starting to grow. The visitor can really see traditional Aegean elements in a picturesque environment and to enjoy the local hospitality that are bearers of the islander's culture.
Works to clear Ai Giorgis hill, revealed an Acropolis-fortress similar to the one in Drakanon, Ikaria . The monument's name is known by a phrase curved by a guard of the ancient acropolis marble. The acropolis' size is about 36 acres. Its wall that still stands is 2 meters tall and two meters wide. On the west side there are rectangular stones used for offerings. The site is very interesting and the sarcophagus on the foot of the hill shows that the area outside the acropolis was probably used as a cemetery.
Kamari is on the west side of the island and owes its name to a semi-cylindrical dome. In the area there is a settlement. Building remains have been found from the hill to the beach and even to the sea. Inside the water there are rectangular stone walls.
On the hill, in the courtyard of Taxiarches church there are columns made of limestone, granite and marble. There are also obvious signs of grave robbing.
The roman sarcophagus, that is today in the square of Fournoi , was found in Mr. Gramatikos' lot after a request of the owner for an excavation. The sarcophagus is 1.10 m tall, 2.38 m long and 1.10 m wide. It is decorated with relief circles and rings.
The sarcophagus is similar to the other two that were found in ancient Inoi and now can be seen in Ikaria 's Kambos collection. The way the sarcophagus was placed, makes the specialists assume that this was its original location and that in ancient times this location was used as a cemetery.
On a small gulf in Petrokopio there is an ancient quarry and the slope is full of scattered marble pieces as well as many architectural parts such as columns and an ionic capital sized 2.2 x 1.2 meters. It is an important archaeological site. There is one other ancient quarry in "Tsiganario".
On Agia Triada hill in Chrysomilia there is a white marble, rectangular building, built on slate foundations. Marble architectural parts are scattered all-over the hill. North of Agia Triada there is a tiled ground of an old church made partly of materials from the ancient building. The construction and location prove that it is a Hellenistic tower similar to the one in Drakanon, Ikaria .
In Fournoi there are many chapels. The largest of them are: Ai Giannis, Panagia, Agia Marina Evangelistria and Agios Theologos.
The people of Fournoi have always been deeply religious. All the chapels of the island are very cleaned and cared. An example for that are the mantles covering each icon as an indication of care for the Saints represented on them.