Friday, May 1, 2015
Today in History: Rhodes Was Lost
There they stayed until 1912 when the Kingdom of Italy gained the Dodecanese Islands after defeating the Turks in the Italo-Turkish War. The Italian government invested more in improvements and the infrastructure of the islands than anyone ever had. Obviously, the Allies at the Paris Peace Conference did not hand back the islands to the previous owner, otherwise they would have been given to the Turks as the Ottoman Empire had been the last to possess the islands before the Kingdom of Italy. How is it then that they were given to Greece? It doesn't seem to make much sense from a legal point of view. The islands had never belonged to Greece. At the time of Greek independence they were not included in the new Greek state but were retained by Turkey. The Greek element they possessed, in terms of the population, came from the era of the Byzantine Empire. Yet, that was an empire that was the "Eastern Roman Empire" and based all of its territorial claims on those of the original, undivided, Roman Empire of Rome, Italy. Moreover, the Italians had returned with the forces of Venice and Genoa and had held the islands for no small amount of time. Even after the Turks had taken control of most of the region, Italian control was maintained at times over various parts of the islands for a very long time.
Given all of that, it would be difficult to see how any country could have a better and more long-standing claim to the Dodecanese Islands than Italy.