It was originally surmised that the Minoan civilization had been an offshoot of the ancient
civilization of Greece. When the fabled palace of King Minos at
Knossos came to light, however, it proved there was a separate
and earlier civilization, and King Minos was no ordinary monarch.
The beginning of the Bronze Age around 3100 BC was a period of great unrest in Crete, but it also marks the beginning of Crete as an important center of civilization.
Around 1700 BC there was a large disturbance in Crete, probably by an earthquake. After that the population rose again, and the palaces were rebuilt.
Around 1650 BC, the eruption of the volcanic island Thera caused a tsunami which destroyed buildings near the coasts. The volcanic ash caused a decline in temperature, which resulted in poor harvests for several years. Some archeologists think that the Minoans lost their religious faith in the ability of the priests to control nature.
Around 1450 BC, the palaces were again disturbed. Some time later, around 1420 BC, the island was conquered by the Mycenaeans. After this, most Cretan cities and palaces went into decline; Knossos remained until 1200 BC.
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Knossos and the Palaces of Crete