According to the historical records, Chios has probably taken its name from the nymph Chiona or because it was snowing (snow=chioni) a lot, when Chios, the son of Poseidon, was born. However, there is another version, which says that the name Chios means mastic, in the Syrian language. Despite the fact that we don’t know which version is the real one, this did not change the course of the history of the island in the centuries. Chios was inhabited, for the first time, 6000 years ago. Chios is also known as Khios.
The population today is about 52,290 (census of 2001), with an area of 910 km². The capital is also called Khíos or Khora; it is a port and the island's chief town. Other settlements include Vrondados, Volissos, Kardamylla and Oinoussais, Agios Giorgios Sikousis, and Vavili. The island is famous for its scenery and good climate. Its chief export is mastic but it also produces olives, figs, and wine.