The island was inhabited during the Neolithic era and took its name from the mythical hero Keos. Around the beginning of the first millennium the Ionians established colonies there and founded four independent cities – Ioulis, Karthaia, Poieessa, Korissia – all of which flourished. Late Kea became a member of the Athenian Confederacy and took part in the Persian Wars. Its decline began with the Roman conquest. During the Crusades and after-wards it was one of Venice’s Aegean possessions. Like the other islands it was laid waste by Barbarossa in 1537 and subsequently fell to the Turks. In 1781 the Revolutionary hero Lambros Katsonis made Kea his base of operations.