In ancient times, the island was called Megisti. According to legend, the first settler was Megisthus, a Cretan prince, but archaeologists have found evidence of Neolithic settlements on the island. It was conquered by Rhodes in the 8th century, and was to become an important commercial centre with 15 000 inhabitants.
The real greatness of the island was during the Turkish rule. When it stood clear to the citizens that fighting the Turks was no use, they managed to get special privileges when the island came under Turkish rule in 1537. The local fleet had trade with many cities in Asia Minor, as well as with other Greek islands.
When the war of Independence broke out in 1821, the men of Kastellorizo fought hard, but the island was not to be freed until 1948. It had then been used by the French as a base for their fleet in the first World War, and during the second World War it had been occupied by Italy. In the island was made the famous Italian movie Mediterraneo, a touching story of few Italian solders on the island during the second world war