Due to their geographical location, the Dodecanese have been subject to catastrophic invasions from ancient times by both the Persians and the Saracens, as well as by the Venetians, the Genoese, the Crusaders and the Turks.

In 1309 it was under the rule of the Knights of Ioannina and remained under their rule until 1522, when it was occupied by the Ottoman Turks. When the national liberation struggle of 1821 began, the Dodecanese rebelled, but in 1830 returned with Samos to the Ottoman Empire, in exchange for Euboea, which had been incorporated into the then free Greek state.

In 1912 the Dodecanese were occupied by the Italians, which gave the inhabitants hope that the islands would soon become part of the nation. On August 10, 1920, the Dodecanese, under the Treaty of Sevres, were granted to Greece, with the exception of Rhodes, which would remain under Italian rule.

However, the Asia Minor campaign, with its ugly end and Mussolini's rise, made the Italians capitulate. However, the unfortunate outcome of the Asia Minor campaign gave the Italians the opportunity to withdraw, and after their capitulation in 1943, the Dodecanese became the Germans, and in May 1945 Britain surrendered to Hitler's Germany.

The issue would finally be resolved definitively by the Peace Conference of the victorious powers of World War II, which would meet in Paris.

On June 27, 1946, the Soviet Union agreed to return the Dodecanese to Greece.



The municipality of the Dodecanese is the insular complex in the southeastern Aegean, which is defined north of Samos, northwest of the municipality of the Cyclades, west of the Cretan Sea, south of the Libyan Sea and east of the coasts of Asia Minor.

The Dodecanese consist of 18 big islands, many smaller ones and numerous rocky islets. The bigger islands of the Dodecanese are: Rhodes, Kos, Karpathos, Kalymnos, Astypalea, Kasos, Tilos, Symi, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Kastellorizo, Halki, Leipsoi, Agathonisi and Arkoi.

The municipality of the Dodecanese has an extent of 2.705 km2 and a population of 187.564 residents according to the data of the census in 2001. The capital of the municipality is Rhodes.



The terrain of the islands in the Dodecanese is infertile and rocky. 42% of the total extent is lowland, 26% semi-mountainous and 32% mountainous.

The mountainous mass of Attavyros (1.240m) covers the centre of Rhodes. In Kos there is the mountain range of Oromedes or Dikaios (875m), the mountain range of Kimaras in Karpathos (1.290m), the mountains of Profitis Ilias (752m) and Kyra Psili (650m) in Kalymnos, Troupoulas in Kassos (508m), Ai-Lias in Tilos (612m), Vigla in Symi (550m), Klidi in Leros (350m) and Profitis Ilias in Patmos (270m).

 There are no rivers in the Dodecanese, although there are abundant waters in torrents and streams.

Many of the Dodecanese islands are volcanic and as a result they have significant amounts of mineral wealth. In Rhodes there is gypsum, chromite and lignite, in Kos there is copper, iron, lead and lignite, in Nisyros there is sulfur and in Karpathos and Kassos there is gypsum.

Regarding the geology of some islands in the Dodecanese, we know that Kalymnos is mainly covered by carbonate rocks and thus there is a big number of caves on the island. In Kos there are black schist limestones surrounded by shales and sandstones with numerous fossils. In some northern Dodecanese there was volcanic activity during the era of intense geological changes. The crater at the top of Nisyros and the complex of volcanic rocks made of alternating lava flow and volcanic materials still reminds us of the past. In Rhodes there are mainly limestone rocks.



The climate of the Aegean is characterized as Mediterranean. The basic characteristics of the Mediterranean climate is the winter rainfalls, the summer draught, the relatively large variation in the annual amount of rainfalls, the mild to hot summer (with intense sunlight) and the cold winter.

The cold and rainy period of the winter lasts from November to March, while the hot and dry period of the summer is from June to August. The transitional months in the climate April to May and September to October show great differences in the weather conditions every year.

An important element for the insular climate of the Aegean is the sea, which modulates the humidity levels, determines the winds and acts as a regulatory factor moderating the temperature fluctuations.



The local economy of the Dodecanese is based on shipping, fishing, tourism, agriculture and livestock.