Rhodes has always been the ideal meeting for those of different origin, being at the crossroads of cultures and continents. The ancient city of Lindos became a major naval force, controlling all sea traffic through these waters, imposing duties and establishing the first Marine Law. Furthermore, one of the Seven Sages of antiquity, Cleovoulos, was born in Lindos. Rhodes is also the island of the Colossus, a bronze statue of the Sun God Helios, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, which no longer stands (destroyed by an earthquake in 225 BC).
In the 5th century BC, the three city-states Lindos, Ialyssos and Kamiros merged to form the city of Rhodes, one of the finest and most organised cities of the ancient world. The island's envious strategic position was due to attract invaders. In 42 BC, Cassius conquered Rhodes, bringing about its commercial and cultural decline.
In 330 AD, when the capital of the Roman Empire was moved to Constantinople, the strategic and commercial significance of the island increased. The Rhodians of the 5th and 6th centuries built luxurious public and private buildings. In the 11th and 12th centuries some of the most important monuments on the island were built in Rhodes town and the surrounding countryside. Entering in alliances and commercial agreements with the Western powers, the Rhodes harbour hosted ships from all over the world.
In 1309 the Knights of St John of Jerusalem settled in the Dodecanese, leading Rhodes once more into economic, political and cultural contact with all of Western Europe and acting as a buffer for Europe, holding back the Arab attacks.
Commerce and wealth came to an abrupt halt when the island was occupied by the Turks (1522-1912) and, consecutively, by the Italians, the Germans and the British (during the World War II). Since 1947, when Rhodes was finally united with Greece, it has resumed its active multicultural character, being the leading tourist destination in Greece and a preferred meeting place for conventions and other international calibre events.