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Kassos (Kasos)

Kassos is located in the southernmost region of the Eastern Aegean and lies between Crete and Karpathos. It has an area of 64 square kms and a population of 1088 persons.

The land is mountainous and rocky with few areas suit­able for agriculture. The visitor to the mountains of the island will find rare wildflowers and bird’s species. As for the varieties of fish, the waters of Kassos are full of the common varieties found in the Aegean and they are of excellent quality.

Kassos has a mild, healthy climate. Clusters of barren islets and rocky peaks are found all around the island. Daily trips to visit the main islets are organized locally, mainly during the summer season.

In ancient times, the island was a safe harbor for the Philistines, and to this day is still regarded as an island where ship owners could locate a sea savvy crew. It has a very rich and proud history of seamanship and its naval skills were feared by surrounding countries as they waged war on their neighbors and the Kassiots intervened.

During the Classical antiquity it followed the history of Karpathos. In the middle ages as Karpathos it was subjected from 1306 until 1537 to the noble Venetian Cornaro family. In that year Kasos was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

In 1824, during the Greek War of Independence, Mehmet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, furious about the Kassiots, he dispatched his naval fleet to the island and killed the population.

At the beginning of the XX century a strong emigration began. It was directed mainly to Egypt (about 5,000 people), then to Istanbul, Greece, USA and South Africa. In the twenties of last century, out of about 2,300 houses on the island, only 400 were permanently inhabited. 

On May 12, 1912, during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12, the island was occupied by the sailors of the Regia Marina ship Regina Elena. With the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 Kasos joined the other islands of the Dodecanese in the Italian possession of the Isole Italiane dell'Egeo, and was ceded by Italy to Greece with the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947. The island formally joined the Greek State on 7 March 1948 together with the other Dodecanese islands.

 

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