It covers an area of 35 square km and has a lengthy shape. The terrain is rocky and has a lot of hills with low vegetation. The island was colonized by Cretans whilst the first inhabitants were called Kares and after them Phoenicians. The island is inhabited since the third millennium BC. After the Cretans the Dorians came and the Ions. The island was a member of the Athenian alliance. During the Roman times it was a place of exile whilst it flourished in the Byzantine period. In the 13th century AD it was a part of the Venetian Duchy of Aegean and in 1617 it was finally taken over by the Turks. During the 19th century locals that have migrated to Constantinople and Alexandreia helped the island financially. In the time period from 1920 until the dictatorship it was used as a place of exile.