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A Tsakonian (Greek Τσάκωνας - Tsakonas) is a speaker of Tsakonian, or more broadly, one who lives in a traditionally Tsakonian-speaking area and follows certain Tsakonian cultural traditions, such as the Tsakonian dance, even if that person is no longer able to speak Tsakonian fluently.

The term Tsakonas or Tzakonas first emerges in the writings of Byzantine chroniclers who derive the ethnonymn from a corruption of Lakonas - a Laconian (Spartan) - a reference to the Doric roots of the Tsakonian language and the people's relatively late conversion to Christianity and practice of pagan Hellenic customs. Tsakonians were noted as feirce warriors and were heavily recruited to serve in the Byzantine army based on their supposedly "Spartan" qualities.

According to the Byzantine historian George Pachymeres, some Tsakonians were resettled by the Byzantine emperor Michael VII Ducas in Propontis. They lived in the villages of Vatka and Havoutsi, where the river Gösen (Aesepus) empties into the sea. However, based on the preservation of features common to both Propontis and the Peloponnesian dialects, Prof. Athanasios Costakis thinks that the date of settlement must have been several centuries later.