The island Euboea or Evvia means "good bull" of place where they have good bulls. The island is about 150 kilometres long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres to only 6 kilometres. It is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range. Euboea was believed to have originally formed part of the mainland, and to have been separated from it by an earthquake.
Evvia was quite an economic power in ancient times. The strength of their commerce is shown by the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used in Athens until Solon, and among the Ionic cities generally. They had also numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily, such as Cumae and Rhegium, and on the coast of Macedonia.
In 1157 all the coastal towns of Euboea were destroyed by a Sicilian force. After Venetian rule, the island became in Ottoman hands in 1470. The well-fortified city of Chalkis (Negroponte) was wrested from Venice by Mehmed II, and the whole island fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire.