The area surrounding Nafplio has been inhabited since ancient times, but few signs of this remain visible. The town has been a stronghold on several occasions during Classical Antiquity. It seems to be mentioned on an Egyptian funerary inscription of Amenophis III as 'Nuplija'
Further information: Byzantine Greece and Ottoman Greece
The Acronauplia has walls dating from pre-classical times. Subsequently, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, and Turks added to the fortifications. Nafplio was taken in 1212 by the French crusaders of the Principality of Achaea, then in 1388 was sold to the Republic of Venice. During the subsequent 150 years, the lower city was expanded and fortified, and new fortifications added to Acronauplia
The city surrendered to the Ottomans in 1540, who renamed it Mora Yenişehri and established it as the seat of a sanjak. At that period, Nafplio looked very much like the 16th century image shown below to the right.
The Venetians retook Nafplio in 1685 and strengthened the city by building the castle of Palamidi, which was in fact the last major construction of the Venetian empire overseas. However, only 80 soldiers were assigned to defend the city and it was easily retaken by the Ottomans in 1715. Palamidi is located on a hill north of the old town. During the Greek War of Independence, it played a major role. It was captured by Staikos Staikopoulos on 31 November 1821.
During the Greek War of Independence, Nafplio was a major Ottoman stronghold and was besieged for more than a year. The town finally surrendered because of starvation. After its capture, because of its strong fortifications, it became the seat of the provisional government of Greece.
Count Ioannis Kapodistrias, first head of state of newly liberated Greece, set foot on the Greek mainland for the first time in Nafplio on 7 January