Rhodes is the biggest island of Dodecanese and it is named after the word «ρόδο», which means rose.
The island was inhabited for the first time in the Neolithic period. In the 8th century BC the Dorians built the three important cities of Lindos, Ialyssos and Kameiros. The Kolossos of Rhodes, a giant bronze statue and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was erected in 280 BC, but was destroyed in an earthquake in 224 BC. No trace of the statue remains today. In 408 BC the cities united to form one territory. They built the city of Rhodes, a new capital on the northern end of the island. In the Hellenistic period, the city developed into a commercial and cultural center.
In the 2nd century BC Rhodes became an ally of Rome and some years later a part of the Roman Empire. In 57 AD Saint Paul brought Christianity to people on the island.
As in 395 AD the Roman Empire split, Rhodes was included in the Byzantine Empire. The Knights of the Order of St John were established in Rhodes in 1309. Their stay has endowed the city with a series of majestic buildings protected by a fortified wall.
From 1522 onwards the Dodecanese islands formed part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912, when they were seized by the Italians.
The Treaty of Paris ended foreign occupation and in March 1948 the islands were united with Greece.