The Romans landed their forces and invaded Epirus. They took terrible vengeance for the victories of King Pyrrus, destroying most Epirote cities and selling many Epirotes as slaves. Later Epirus would also bear the brunt of destruction from the barbarian raids of the Goths, the Huns, the Ostrogoths and Slavs. During the Byzantine era, Justinian renovated and fortified the castle of Himara, making it the seat of a bishopric; however, the raids and destruction would continue as the area suffered the depredations of the Saracens, Bulgarians, Crusaders, Serbs, Albanians and Turks.
WIn 1403 Charles, King of Naples, landed on the beach of Himara and pushed the Albanian-speaking people to the north. Some years later the Himariots, led by the local lord Georgios Stressios, a personal friend of Georgios Kastriotis Skenderbeg, attempted to stop the invasion of Epirus by the Ottoman Turks.
After the fall of Kruja, Himara was the only region that did not submit to Ottoman rule and remained the only free and unbowed region in entire Epirus. It was self-governed under the protection of the Venetian Republic. During the entire Ottoman period, Himara was for Northern Epirus what was Souli for Southern. The Ottomans never calmed up there, not for a minute. It became a symbol of resistance but suffered from an almost continuous state of warfare. We see that the movements were continuously and the independent Himara defeated Agarino repeatedly every time he attempted to approach its impregnable mountains.
THE MIDDLE EGES
Himara's independence would last ten years, after which the city would fall to the army of Sultan Bayezid. The forced conversion to Islam of the inland villages commenced. One of those converted to Islam, from the village of Palassa would reach the rank of Pasha in Avlona under the name Liaz Pasha.
The attempt to impose Islam became more general, but the Chimariotes resisted desperately. The Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent personally mounted an expedition in 1537 that destroyed many surrounding villages but did not manage to subdue the area. Finally, it was achieved a compromise that recognised Turkish sovereignty but maintained a series of exceptional privileges. Thirty-Three Greek villages of Himara created the Autonomous Keravnian Commonwealth, (Αυτόνομη Συμπολιτεία) which was self-governed, free from taxation or conscription and local justice system.
Because of the region's geography and isolation, the local dialect in the region of Himara became separated from the surrounding dialects and underwent a slower evolution, preserving a more conservative and faithful picture of the ancient and medieval Greek vernacular. According to Greek professor Anagnostopoulos, this dialect, like other conservative forms of modern Greek, such as the Maniot dialect, was spoken by populations that lived in virtual autonomy during Ottoman rule. Another linguistic analysis suggests that Himara was colonized by Apulian Italiotes after the Turkish raid on Otranto in 1480, but this position is vigorously questioned. Some scholars have argued that there are parallels with the local idioms spoken in Crete as well as in nearby Corfu. In particular, these scholars argue that the dialect of Himara has parallels with dialects in Crete, whereas the dialect of Drymades and Palasa has parallels with those in Corfu.
Autonomous Commonwealth of Chimariotes had the right to sail under its own flag into any Ottoman port and the right to bear arms throughout Epirus, rights that Himara held for centuries. These privileges preserved and strengthened their independent and unbowed spirit and the military skills that we all admire today. Despite these privileges and the essential autonomy that Himara obtained, they revolted against Ottoman authority several times: there was not a single revolt, war or revolution in which Himara refused to take part. The struggle of Chimariotes gains mythic proportions throughout the Greek peninsula as they not only fought for their land, but also sent reinforcements to the Venetians. Himara was the first to revolt when Spanish forces of the kingdom of Naples and Genoa campaigned in 1532 in the region of Peloponnese. In the famous Battle of Lepanto (1571) Chimariotes offered major services to their Christians allies.
During these years, the people of Himara established closer links to the Italian city states, especially Naples and reinforced its position with the powerful Venetian Republic where they promised to transfer their religious allegiance to Rome, as long as they would retain their Eastern Orthodox liturgical customs since the majority of the population was Greek and didn't understand the Frankish language. Under the protections of Venetians, they managed to open their first Greek language schools in the region in 1627.
In 1821, when the Greek War of Independence broke out, Chimariotes were among the first to rally to the flag of rebellion throughout the land. Athanassios Himariotes was with Ypsilantis in Moldavia; Spyros Spyromilios was at Valtos, at Messolonghi, at Phaleron, other famous fighters also made their names, including Gkiokas, Dimitriou, Harissis, Nestos, Zahos, Dimas, Goretsis, Doukas. In the New Greek state and in the struggle against Bavarian autocracy Spyromilios was present; commander of the Military Academy in 1843 along with Kallergis and Makriyannis heads the historical Revolution that imposed the constitutional organization of the state.
THE MODERN WORLD
On the 5 November 1912 Major Spyros Spyromilios from Himara in charge of a force of Himariote volunteers and Cretan gendarmes made a landing liberating Himara. Over the following days he would liberate the entire county.
On 9 February 1914 the people of Himara reacted against the plans of the Great Powers to include the region within the boundaries of the new Albanian state although in March 1914 the region was declared autonomous. Up to 1921 Himara was successively autonomous, under Greek Administration, Italian military occupation and once more autonomous. In 1927 it was signed the Protocol of Himara between the region and the Albanian state that recognized its privileges.
However, 3 years later, at 1930 the Albanian state violates the agreement and closes the Greek schools in Himara. After 7 years of fights, in 1937, they manage to reopen the Greek schools.
During the 1940-1941 war between Greece and Italy, important battles took place in the region around Himara. On December 22, 1940 the Greek army entered Himara and the citizens welcomed them with enthusiastic celebrations. In 1945 the people of Himara refused to participate in the plebiscite that would legalise the regime of Enver Hoxha. Many locals were arrested. More than 200 men were sentenced to 101 years in prison and many others were exiled in various part of Central Albania. The man behind the movement, Andreas Dimas was buried alive. The regime shuts down again the Greek Acroceraunian School and removed from Himariots all minority rights. Despite the prohibition of the Greek language and their Christian faith in the forty-five years of dictatorship that followed, the Greek soul was not bent.