- Category: route
Kasos lays SW of Karpathos, between this island and Crete. Adjacent to the island is the Strait of Kasos, through which some of the Modified Atlantic Water enters the Sea of Crete. Its shape is elliptic and resembles that of Rhodes. The Municipality of Kasos includes several uninhabited offshore islands, the largest of which are Armathia and Makronisi. Kasos is notable for its lack of large scale tourism, the quality of its fish, cheeses, and other culinary specialties, and its hospitality toward visitors.
In ancient times, Kasos (then known as Amphie, Astrabe, and, most commonly, Achnis) was used as a safe harbor by the Philistines. The first known settlements are Minoan and Mycenaean in origin. According to Homer, Kasos contributed ships toward the Trojan War. It has a very rich and proud history of seamanship and has been an important resource for merchant shipping and pirating. It is still regarded as an island where ship owners can locate a sea savvy crew.
During classical antiquity it closely followed the history of Karpathos. In the middle ages, as Karpathos, it was subjected from 1306 until 1537 to the Venetian Cornaro family, after which Kasos was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.
In 1824, during the Greek War of Independence, Mehmet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, furious with the Kasiots, dispatched his naval fleet to the island. Kasos had been the first island to declare independence during the Greek Revolution and supported the cause with its fleet of ships. The Egyptian armada burned the entire island and killed most of the population. Given the scale of destruction and the fact that the whole of the island was burned, this tragedy is notable for being the first holocaust of the modern era.
The island's population recovered as did its economy, still largely based on shipping. The introduction of steam ships made Kasos' shipyard (which produced wooden sailing ships) redundant and its economy suffered accordingly. Beginning in the later half of the 19th century, many emigrated from Kasos, initially to Egypt (about 5,000 people), then to Istanbul