It is the biggest island of the Dodecanese complex of islands and the forth biggest island in Greece. Its maximum width is 38 km and its maximum length is 75 km. The island is famous for its natural beauties and its beaches. The terrain is mountainous in the inner part of the island and low land towards the beaches, there is rich flora and fauna which includes many endemic plants. The fauna includes foxes, ferrets and a deer which is smaller that usual deers and it is called platoni. The beaches are sandy with a total length of 220 km.
The first inhabitants of the island were called Telchines and they were sea people. The Neolithic findings tell that rhodos was inhabited thousands of years ago. In the first half of the second millennium BC we can find Greek populations. In the area of Ialyssos a settlement was found that dates back to the end of the Minoan period 1550-1500 BC. The island flourished during the Mycenaean period 1500 – 1200 BC whilst it had relations with Egypt. It was colonized by Dorians and its first main cities were Ialyssos, Lindos and Kamiros which formed a federation together with Kos, Knidos and Alikarnassos. This federation was called the Dorian six cities. The population has been affected by Ions and its festivities were Ionian. In the west and north past of the island people were farmers while in Lindos naval activities developed and flourished in the 8th century. The inhabitant’s ship building activities led them to found a colony in Cicely. The city of Lindos declined in the end of the 6th century and in the beginning of the 5th when the Persians advanced in the Aegean. After the Persian wars the cities of Rhodes were part of the first Athenian alliance. Doriefs with the support of Spartans convinced the inhabitants to abandon the federation of the three cities and form a big city (412 BC), that act formed the city of Rhodes The city was based in navy and flourished fast. The unification of the island under the ruling of the new town made Rhodes powerful enough to successfully stop the attack of Demetrius the besieger (304 BC) that is when Colossus of Rhodes was built to celebrate that event. Collossus was destroyed in 226 BC from an earthquake. In 202 BC Rhodes declared war to King Philip of Macedonia. In the next 150 years it became eventually a roman territory. In 201 BC Rhodes formed a naval code that was in effect in the whole Mediterranean. Christianity was spread during the Byzantine Period. In 325 BC a diocese was formed and Rhodes took part in the first ecumenical council. The island suffered from attacks by vandals and Arabic occupation. Gradually after the conquest by the francs in 1204 AC it passed into the hands of St John Knights. After the initial uprisings that followed that, the island flourished and palaces and fortifications were built. Rhodes after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AC resisted strongly for years but finally fell into Turkish domination. In the Greek Italian war it was occupied by Italians. It became a part of the Greek state in 1948.
Map of Rhodes Island
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