Kalymnos records history since the 4th millennium BC.
Initially the name of the island was Kalydna, while from the 4th c. BC and then it was renamed Kalymna. The most likely etymology of the name is from καλός = beautiful and ydna (from υδορ) = water. This means that the word Kalydna means an island with good, nice waters. During the Byzantine era, the name Kalymna changed to Kalymnos.
Human presence and activity on the island is witnessed during the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age.
Ancient sources (Strabo, Diodorus Sikeliotis) as well as archaeological finds testify that the oldest inhabitants of the island were the Kares. They were succeeded by the Phoenicians, while later, it was inhabited by Aeolians from Thessaly, to be succeeded by colonizing Dorians from Southern Greece (1150 - 800 BC). The leader of the Dorians was Thessalos, son of Herakles and Halkiope. The name Damos has been preserved since that period.
Kalymnos, as mentioned in the Iliad, took part in the campaign of Troy (12th century BC) together with other islands of the SE Aegean, with 30 ships and led by Pheidippus and Antiphos, sons of Thessalus. After the Trojan War, Diodorus claims, four of Agamemnon's ships on their way back were wrecked off the island. Then their crews (Argeians and Epidaurians) decided to settle permanently on the island by building a settlement on the island's plateau, which, in memory of their distant homeland, was named Argos and was for a long time, the capital of the island.
At the end of the Archaic period and the beginning of the Classical period, Kalymnos was an autonomous state with a democratic government. The decisions are taken by the Church of the people - Damos is its name - and by the Parliament.
It lost its autonomy for a while, as it came under Persian rule, like the rest of the Ionian cities.
Then, in 447 BC, it joined the Athenian Alliance, while during the classical period it shows a cultural flourishing.
In the Peloponnesian war it does not seem to have taken part, while in 357 it is under the authority of the king of Halicarnassus Mausolus.
Following the fate of the other Greeks, Kalymnos was conquered by the Romans, with not so beneficial results for the local society and economy, despite some privileges.
The early Christian period (4th - 7th century AD) brings economic and population prosperity which is documented by the existence of large and luxurious basilicas on the island (Jerusalem Temple, Telendos basilicas). In 554 AD, the devastating earthquake that leveled Rhodes, Kos and Samos, forever changed the geomorphology of the island and traumatized its cultural entity. The tremors lasted over 14 days. Telendos broke away from the opposite mainland of Kalymnos, becoming a separate island from then on.
Byzantine times are turbulent. Arab raids in the middle of the 7th century. forcing the inhabitants to leave the coastal settlements and take refuge in mountainous areas of the island. The fortified settlements of Ag. Constantine and Galatiana. In the middle Byzantine times, the Castle of Chora was also built.
The island will pass successively to the Arab Saracens (653), the Venetians (1257 - 1277), the Genoese, while during the 14th century. Kalymnos is placed under the rule of the Knights of the order of Ag. John. During the period of the Knighthood, the Castle of Chrysocheria was built, while at the end of the same century, the Castle of Chora was repaired and expanded.
In 1522 the Knights abandoned the Dodecanese, which they handed over to the Ottomans.
Kalymnos enjoyed a status of autonomy and self-government. The calmness and security that prevailed on the island helped in its gradual development.
At the beginning of the 18th century the settlement of Chora was built, while around 1840 the port of Pothia, the new capital of the island, was organized.
During the Greek Revolution of 1821, the Kalymnos, although they were in a state of autonomy, actively participated and even took part in the naval battle that took place near their island, on August 29, 1825. At that time, the provisional government of Greece subjugated Kalymnos to the Greek state and sent administrative and naval authorities on the island. Together with Leros, Patmos and Ikaria they took the title of "Additional islands of the Eastern Sporades". Later, I. Kolettis was appointed their extraordinary commissioner. But when the borders of the Greek state were determined, Kalymnos was exchanged with Evia, and this had the consequence that it once again returned to the Ottomans.
In 1835 the autonomy of Kalymnos was recognized by an imperial firman (the same happened for Patmos, Leros and Ikaria).
The successor state of Italian rule (1912 - 47) would leave a strong mark until Liberation and Integration, which occurred after the end of World War II, on March 7, 1948.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou