Tekirdağ was first founded by the Thracians around 4000 BC as Byzanthe. Archaeological excavations prove the actual location of Byzanthe at what is now Barbaros, a village southwest of Tekirdağ. It was also called as Rodosto or Rhaedestus in classical antiquity. The Greeks believe the ancient city of Tekirdağ has been founded by Samians. Alternatively, Xenophon’s Anabasis mentions Rodosto as a part of Thracian prince Seuthes’s kingdom. Herodotus in his works refers to it as Bisanthe.
As recorded by Procopius, Justinian I restored the city in the 6th century A.D. In 813 and later after the Battle of Rodosto in 1206, the Bulgarians looted the city but it continued to mark its imprint in Byzantine history. Successively, Tekirdağ continued to be ruled by Venetians and Ottomans.
Until 1905, Tekirdağ was half populated by the Greeks who were exchanged with Muslims in Greece under the agreement involving compulsory population exchange.
Tekirdağ shares a very long and eventful history. It is the place where Hungarian prince and independence movement leader Francis II Rákóczi lived for fifteen years in exile until his death in 1735. Along with him, noted writer of ‘Letters from Turkey’ and rebellious activist, Kelemen Mikes lived in Tekirdağ until his death in 1761.
In Turkey, Tekirdağ is the provincial capital of Tekirdağ Province but still called “Rodostó” in Hungarian and several European languages.