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History of Chalki

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Stravon calls this area "Chalchia" because of the copper mines it possessed. Its first inhabitants were the mythic Titans, who were succeeded by the Pelasgians. Ruins of the Pelasgian walls can be found in the Acropolis of Chalche. The area was populated by the Karian people and later, by the Dorians. In ancient times, the island was divided into thirty municipalities (ktoines). The most important among these were Chalche, two kilometres West of the Acropolis, and Phoenicia, with its seaport, Pontamos. There were three temples, ruins of which have survived today and bear witness to the worship of the god Apollo Helios. In the Dodecanese, this god took the form of the Archangel Michael.
Because the island was a municipality of Rhodes, it followed the same course of history as Rhodes. In 315 B.C., the people of Chalche defended the walls of Rhodes during the siege of Dimitrios the Besieger. In 79 B.C. the island, together with Rhodes, yielded to the Romans. During the Byzantine Era, it belonged to the Thema, the region of the islanders. In the 7th century, it became the victim of Arab brutality until 825, when Nikiforos Fokas released the Dodecanese from this cruel yoke. After the abolition of the Byzantine State by the Crusaders, Chalche passed over to the Venetians and the Genoans until 1309, when the Johanite Knights conquered the island, established Rhodes as their capital, and fortified all the other islands as well. They built the fortress of Alimia and constructed their own stronghold over the ancient Pelasgic ruins. In 1523, the island passed to the Turks who granted them several privileges, so that they would be administred by the Senate, which dealt with private affairs and was responsible for the collection of the 12,000 "aspra" tax (the Byzantine and subsequently, Turkish currency). The period from 1835 to 1912 is characterized by the struggle of the islanders to protect their privileges from abuse by the administration. The ascent of the Young Turks in 1909 resulted in the massive emigration of the inhabitants of the Dodecanese. Chalche was nearly left desolate. The Young Turks not only abolished every kind of liberty but they also imposed obligatory military service and the obligatory teaching of the Turkish language in schools.
On April 22, 1912, during the Turkish-Italian War in Tripolitida, the Italians landed on the islands in the role of liberators and stayed there until 1945, during which time they imposed cruel methods to try to make the population more Italian oriented.
Alexander Diakos was a great personality of the Second World War. His statue stands in Liberty Square in Rhodes. Chalche joined the Greek State on March 7, 1948 together with the other Dodecanese islands. The islanders of Chalche were experts in navigation from ancient times and thus, became effective sailors. In particular, their main occupation was collecting sponges. Around 1935, they possessed a fleet of 50 fishing-boats which brought wealth to the island.

Chalkior Nimborio
Nimborio, the capital of Chalki, is built amphitheatrically above the crystal clear sea, preserving its noble beauty, its picturesque alleys and the special house architecture: It is one of the prettiest neoclassical settlements of Greece! The former capital of the island was Chorio, built next to the mighty fortress of Knights of Rhodes. Once the inhabitants overcame their fear of the pirates they founded Chalki or Nimborio (1850-1870), which was filled with mansions, reflecting the memories of these prosperous years. Chalki is a featured, traditional settlement.

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