The settlement's history only goes back to the 19th century. Long used as a landing ground for fishermen from the coast of Samothrace opposite, a hamlet developed in the area during the construction of a railway line connecting Istanbul to the major cities of Macedonia from Kuleliburgaz. The work was part of an effort to modernise the Ottoman Empire, and was assigned to engineers from Austria-Hungary. The settlement soon grew into a fishing village known as Dedeagatch.
Dedeagatch was captured by the Russians during the Russo–Turkish War of 1877–1878, and Russian forces settled in the village. The officers in charge saw that reconstruction incorporated wide streets running parallel to each other, allowing the quick advance of troops, and avoided cul-de-sacs. This was very unlike the narrow alleys, cobbled streets, and dead-ends that were characteristic of Ottoman cities at the time. The city returned to Ottoman control by the end of the war, but the brief Russian presence had a lasting effect on the design of Alexandroúpolis's streets.
The building of a railway station in Dedeagatch led to the development of the village into a town, and a minor trade centre by the end of the century. The town became the seat of a Pasha. Ottoman control of the town would last until the Balkan Wars. On 8 November 1912, Dedeagatch and its station was captured by Bulgarian forces with the assistance of the Hellenic Navy. Bulgaria and Greece were allies during the First Balkan War, but opponents in the Second Balkan War. Dedeagatch was captured by Greek forces on 11 July 1913. The Treaty of Bucharest (10 August 1913) however, determined that Dedeagatch would be returned to Bulgaria along with the rest of Western Thrace.
World War I
The defeat of Bulgaria by the Allies in World War I (1914–1918) ensured another change of hands for the town. Western Thrace was withdrawn from Bulgaria under