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The Dodecanese: A long journey towards the union

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The incorporation of the Dodecanese Islands to The rough road of the Dodecanese Islands towards their incorporation to Greek territory.


Incorporating the Dodecanese to Greek territory: A rough road Located at the crossroads between East and West along the maritime routes of trade and war, the Dodecanese Islands attracted various aspiring rulers of the Eastern Mediterranean throughout history. For over six centuries, the turbulent change of rulers on the islands was marked by battles, sieges and treaties. Knights of St. John and Ottoman Sultans, Italians, Germans and Britons; they all recognised the strategic importance of the South-Eastern corner of the Aegean and attempted to conquer it or, at least, control it.


However, despite this change of rulers, the Dodecanese people kept their identity and traditions strong and thriving. They never stopped participating in every battle fought in continental and insular Greece, from the 1821 Revolution to the World Wars. It was precisely that participation and affinity to Greece’s mainland, combined with the justified claims of the Greek State for acknowledging its sacrifices during World War II that would later on formulate the most solid argument in favour of the Union.


However, justified requests are not enough in a world of strategic aims and power games. There was also need for diplomatic persistence and alertness. But even after the formal incorporation of the islands to the Greek territory there was still a hard road ahead: that of administrative organisation, economic recovery and social welfare. It would be a rough road, but one worth travelling despite the sacrifices.