Kalamos is the largest of a fringe of small islands located in the region of Lefkada. The island’s dramatic landscape combines high peaks and steep slopes ending to the coast which are surrounded by the boundless blue of the sea. The first evidence of human habitation on the island dates back to the Neolithic era. It is certain that Kalamos was inhabited also in the Mycenaean and Classical periods. In the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece the passage from the Kalamos – Mytikas strait was of particular military importance. The strait was initially monitored through a small stronghold built on the Xylokastro crest and a system of towers built in the surrounding area.
The surveillance of the strait is organized more effectively in the late Roman age when a strong castle was built at a lower altitude between the settlements of Kalamos and Episkopi. In the eclipse of conflicts piracy constituted a permanent problem for the area, and especially in periods when there was lack of state control as in the era after the fall of the Byzantine Empire and during the 16th and 18th centuries. During the most part of the 18th ce. Venetians dominated the island and the economy of Kalamos was controlled by the Delladetsima family which collected the tithe. By the end of the century the Russians follow the Venetian dominion and in 1807 the island devolved to the French.
THE ISLAND’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE 1821 REVOLUTIONDuring the Revolution of the Greeks against the Ottoman Empire the island was a refuge to families from Epirus, the mainland Greece (Sterea Ellada) and the Peloponnese. Many of the Revolution fighters such as Karaiskakis, Tzavelas, Lepeniotis, and Varnakiotis had settled their families for greater security in Kalamos, which was at the time under British Administration. The chased Souliotes found a place to stay in desolate and gnarled locations of the island and some of them settled permanently in the area.
Kalamos was equally hospitable for the people of Messolongi during the siege of the city whereas women and children found refuge on the island. Food was replenished from Kalamos not only during war intervals but also during periods of hostility. The small vessels of the people from Messolongi found secret passages in the lagoon and they moved freely carrying flour, coffee and other necessary supplies. However, things were not always as easy because the English wanted to gain control over the situation and baffled all attempts of many families, especially of the poor and the god-forsaken, to settle on the island. The following verses of Aristotelis Valaoritis refer to this fact:
"…frightened off from Kalamos, thousands of women and children with their heart leaped into their mouth do not find a handful of soil to stand upon without being chased… And Death decimates …"
Nevertheless, the last hours of the siege of Messolongi were also related to Kalamos. Shortly before the fall of Messolongi, in October 1825, when Kioutachis withdrew temporarily his troops, many believed that he would end the siege and took their families from the island resulting in a large number of people being gathered in the city. This caused a major problem of food scarcity. The situation reached slowly and painfully the cut-off. It was anymore difficult for these people to stand back. Thus they decided to proceed to the heroic Sortie. Kalamos, once again, proved to be the hospitable island that took care of all desperate people from Messolongi who managed to reach the island and ask for refuge.
Nonetheless the covetable day of liberty has come. Kalamos, in anticipation of the day of its own liberation from its sovereigns, was finally integrated as the other Ionian islands to Greece in 1864.