Because of its strategic position (on the crossroad between the East and the West), Rhodes has been under constant attacks and dominations from the early times. The first settlers of the island came from Asia and some evidence of a Mycenaean settlement has been found. The Dorians were the next settlers. In 500 BC Rhodes was already a strong power. There were also many temples and structures such as the Acropolis of Rhodes built in this time period.
After the naval Battle of Salamis and the defeat of the Persians, the island became a part of the Delian League, an organization of which Athens was the leader. During this period, in 480 BC, the three earliest city-states of Rhodes, Ialyssos, Lindos, and Kameiros, combined and formed the modern town of Rhodes. With the reign of Alexander the Great, Rhodes fell under Macedonian domination. After the fall and fragmentation of the Empire of Macedonia, the island of Rhodes fought for its freedom and, after a long siege, triumphed in 305 BC.
It was during this period that the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was constructed and straddled the harbor. This impressive giant statue was demolished during an earthquake. In a period of 150 years, the island flourished and showed its great navigation and maritime skills, establishing its reputation as one of the best in these domains. In 70 AD, Rhodes fell under the Roman rule which lasted for 300 years. Then, it became part of the Byzantine Empire.
Because of its strategic position, Rhodes was conquered successively by Turks, Persians, and Saracens. The history of Rhodes was primarily marked by the occupation from the Venetians in the Medieval times. The Knights of Saint John fortified the City of Rhodes with citadels, castles and built the Palace of the Grand Master. Many Castles were also built in the countryside, such as the Castle of Monolithos and also the Medieval Castle of Kritinia.
In 1523, after a long siege, the Ottomans took control of the island, who remained until 1912. During the First World War, Rhodes was taken by the Italians till 1943. The Italians contributed to the development of the island, with the renovation of important sites and the construction of nice buildings, such as the National Theatre. In 1947, Rhodes and all Dodecanese islands became part of the Greek State.