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HISTORY LEROS is dense but it is more contemporary than ancient.

The first inhabitants of Leros, the Cariens, were hunted by the Cretans and then by the Ionians. It became a pirate’s den until the KNIGHTS OF JERUSALEM’s SAINT-JOHN and the Byzantines vied for supremacy in 1309; the conflict turned to the advantage of the Order, which occupied the island for two centuries.



The temple ofARTEMIS is in PARTHENI. The goddess would have been born on the island of LEROS



In 1505 and 1508, the Ottomans attempted several unsuccessful sieges of the Château de Leros. Legend has it that the island was rescued by the last surviving Knight, who was barely 18 years old. He would have dressed women and children of armor who, simulating a large garrison, would have deceived and removed the Ottomans. On 24 December 1522, after the siege of Rhodes, a treaty was signed between Sultan Suleman and thegrand master of the Knights, Philippe de Villiers of L’Isle-Adam  : Leros, like all possessions of the Aegean Of the Order, passed into the hands of the Ottomans who administered it for four hundred years.

During the Greek revolution (1821-1830), many Leriotes participated in the struggle, the island being an important base for the replenishment of the Greek Navy. Incorporated briefly into the Republic of Greece, it fell back under Ottoman domination during the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832.



In 1912,following the Italian-Turkish war, Leros passed like the rest of the Dodecanese from ottoman occupation to the ITALIAN OCCUPATION. During this period, the Italians realized many large-scale constructions, such as the naval air base of Leros and the city of Porto Lago (now Lakki). This island was chosen for its strategic importance and its geomorphology with many well protected natural bays.
During World War II it was the battlefield of a major offensive in 1943 when the Germans attempted to take the island back to the Italians (who had just changed sides), to the British and the Greeks. It was severely bombarded for over a month and a half, from 26 September to 16 November, when it finally fell into the hands of the enemy. It was this battle that inspired the Battle of Keros in the film  “The Guns of Navarone”.  Lakki Bay was home to an important seaplane base and the deepest natural harbour in the Mediterranean Sea,  hence its strategic importance to German forces in the Mediterranean.
After the war, Leros, like the rest of DODEKANISOS, was finally attached to Greece on March 7, 1948,seven centuries after the end of Byzantine rule.
After the war, the Greek governments reassigned many military buildings. The psychiatric hospital of Leros was founded in 1959. During the military junta (1967-1974), the old barracks were transformed into a concentration camp to accommodate political dissidents in the PIKPA hospital in Leros: Leros became an island of confinement and exile.


In 1989, the living conditions of the mentally ill and the many cases of child abuse aroused a worldwide scandal, especially with the reports of the British newspaper the Guardian. Félix Guattari was part of an international delegation which visited the asylum of Leros.
Since 2016, the island has been a point of arrival for Syrian, Pakistani, etc. migrants. from TURKEY.

has about 2500 people and this creates difficulties on the island.

History Leros

History Leros


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