Dodecanese Islands, a group of mountainous islands in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Crete. The name is Greek for “12 islands,” but there are actually 14 major islands and 40 smaller ones. Total area of the group is 1,044 square miles (2,704 km2). The largest islands are Rhodes, Kos, and Karpathos. Originally Greek islands, the Dodecanese were held briefly by the Crusaders and then passed to the Turks in 1523. Italy took control in 1911-12 and in 1947 ceded the islands to Greece.