History of Kalymnos
This is the fourth largest island of Dodecanese complex, extends over a surface of 111 km2, its coastline is 96 km and counts 17,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of a broader municipality, under which come Leros, Leipsoi, Patmos, Astypalaia, Arkoi and Agathonisi islands. It is known as the «sponge-divers island» due to the great growth of sponge-fishing, during 19th century. After the WWII, Kalymnos remained the only Greek sponge-fishing force, exporting to Greece and abroad, thus gaining its famous nomination as the ‘island of sponge-divers’.
Mythology has it that Kalymnos got its name from the Titan Kalydnos, who was the son of Gaea ("Earth") and Uranus ("Heaven"). Supposedly, you can see his legs from above: the two plains by the mountains.
The first inhabitants probably came in the beginning of the 2nd Millennium BC. They were probably Carians. Kalymnos participated in the Trojan war. The Achaeans made a settlement here after the Trojan War.
What followed is the common history for almost all the Aegean islands: In the 5th century it belonged to the Athenian League against the Persians, then the Macedonians, and in the 2nd century BC the Romans came. In 535 AD happened an earthquake that separated Kalymnos and Telendos.
During Byzantine years the island suffered many pirate attacks. In the 13th century the Venetians took over, and in 1306 it belonged to the Knights of Rhodes, who taxed the island very heavily.
The Turks ruled from the 16th century (when the sponge fishing started) until 1912. The island then fell under Italian rule, and in 1943 Kalymnos was occupied by the Germans for two years until it finally was given back to Greece like the rest of the Dodecanese in 1948.