History of Kasos

History of Kasos

The oldest reference in the history of the island is considered to be the verses of Homer Iliados, B, where together with Nisyros, Evripoloio Kos, Kalyndes islands and Karpathos they participate in the Trojan War with thirty ships under the command of Pheidippus and Antiphos. The name of the island is mentioned by Stefanos the Byzantine, who also calls it Amfi and Artravi. Pliny calls Astravi and Aschni or Kasso the island. The name Kassos has a Phoenician root Kas- and means powder, sea foam, a direct reference to the passage between Kassos and Karpathos, the most stormy spot in the Greek seas. Astravi is also called by the geographer Strabo.

Kassos contributed to the revolution of 1821 by giving the revolutionary fleet almost all of its ships, because it was a great naval force and home to many shipowners. The fleet was led by Nikolaos Gioulios and took part in various military operations, even in Syria and Lebanon, capturing and sinking many Ottoman ships. This fleet greatly aided the Revolution in Crete by supplying the rebels and shelling the Turkish forts. Due to this activity of the Cassians in 1824 an Egyptian naval fleet attacked the island. The Cassians initially repulsed the attacks of the Egyptians, which finally landed on the island on May 28, 1824. In the village of Agia Marina, fierce battles took place and about 1,000 Cassians faced 7,000 enemies. 220 residents of the island were killed and about 300 women and children were taken prisoner. The battle ended with the capitulation after which those Cassians who had money were forced to redeem their own freedom. Thus, Turkish power was again imposed on the island and thousands of residents were forced to abandon it. The battle and the slaughter of Kasos are commemorated and honored with grandeur and with the attendance of people and officials from the Greek authorities every June.
Kassos was occupied by the Italians in 1912 and remained under Italian occupation until 1944. Shortly afterwards it was incorporated – on March 7, 1948 – with the rest of the Dodecanese in Greece.