History

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Among the cluster of the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea, east of the Cyclades and off the southwest coast of Turkey (Asia Minor, where Greeks lived since the prehistoric period, until 1922), is Leros Island.

It is believed that Leros and Kalymnos just to the southeast comprise the Kalydnian isles referred to by Homer, famous in ancient times for its honey and for the temple of Artemis. The island was associated in antiquity with the cult of Artemis (worship of the mother-goddess).

 

 

Archaeological findings have proved that the island was inhabited during the Neolithic Period.Its first inhabitants were the Carians, succeeded by Cretans, Ionians, Byzantines and Rhodians.

 

Between 1314 and 1523, the island was under the reign of Knights of Saint John of Rhodes and then passed into the domination of the Ottoman Empire  till 1913 when for once more the island changed “hands".

 

 

For 30years (1913-1943), the Italians took over Leros and used it as their main naval base (Lakki port was used as a naval station and aeronautics base for the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean).

 

Italians were succeeded by the Germans and from the 12th to the 16th November 1943, the Battle of Leros took place and the island was liberated by the Greek “Sacred Battalion”.

 

Then again, the island was reoccupied from the Germans till the 5th of May 1945 when the English took over Leros for the next two years.

 

The 7th of March 1947, Leros, as the rest of the Dodecanese Islands became part of the newly built Greek State.

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