Kalymnos History

History of Kalymnos

Kalymnos, together with Leros, was both known in the ancient times with the name of the Kalyndes islands. Rich in history and mythical traditions,
The island of Kalymnos had already been inhabited from the prehistoric times, the first inhabitants was the Carrians, Lelegs and Pelasgians, later those tribes were succeeded by the Dorians who came from the Peloponnese. In the prehistoric times, Kalymnos had been divided in 7 municipalities and the island lived with a democratic rule.

Kalymnos in the archaic period from the 7th century B.C joined the Doric Alliance combined from the 6 States during the Persian Wars, Kalymnos became part of the Athenian Alliance, and joined the military forces of the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War.
In the following years Kalymnos island shifted alliances and finally join up with the Spartans. Kalymnos finally was occupied by the Persians.Ptolemaeus In the year 333 B.C. liberated Kalymnos .
In 144 B.C. Kalymnos invaded by the Romans, the island having had taken sides with the Romans in their war against Philip the 5th. The Romans bequeathed in the beginning several privileges to the island of Kalymnos, later Kalymnos suffered from a heavy Roman taxation and several looting raids that eventually lost its wealth and its population was in misery.

During the Byzantine times, Kalymnos island experienced manyraids by pirates that infested the Aegean sea during this time, calamities that only came to make worst the bad circumstances of an island that often was hit by natural disasters like earthquakes, the worst of them shook Kalymnos in 533 AD strongly enough to change the island's shape.

During the occupation of the Francs (1204 -1261) Kalymnos island managed to remain under the Byzantine rule and its administration was exercised by the city of Nikea, until the year 1306 AD, when it was occupied by the Knights of Saint John, until 1522. Pirates raids and other natural disasters ,mostly earthquakes , continued to bring disaster to the island during the time of the Knights.

The Turks also raid the island in many occasions until finally managed to settle in Kalymnos as masters, the Turks did not prevent the Aegean sea pirates from pursuing their attacks whenever they wanted. The problem became so critical that the islanders had to take the arms in order to protect them selfs. Having get used to protect them selves the Kalymnians was ready when the whole Greek nation rose to overthrow the Turkish rule. Finally Kalymnos was liberated in 1912 from the Turkish oppressors by the Italians.
The place of the Turks now was taken by the Italians who actually occupied the island without any resistance from the Turks. In 1948 Kalymnos like all the Dodecanese unified with Greece.

During its history, the island of Kalymnos has been always closely associated with the the sea. The kalymnians became famous sponge divers bringing to the island  prosperity and wealth.

Greek islands