Lampedusa is a location which has a lengthy history, although not a lot is known about it.  Archaeological explorations have helped to determine that prehistoric people lived in the area in ancient times, although the lack of water in the area probably made it a place where travelers stopped on their way to other destinations rather than a place where communities flourished.  Despite this, the area was developed during ancient Greek and then Roman times.  It was likely used primarily as a base for stopping on trade routes.  It is believed that any communities surviving there where obliterated by Arab invasion and that the area was uninhabited for a long time after this event.

Italy began to move in to the area long before it took official control of it.  In the early seventeenth century, Giulio Tomasi Lampedusa ( ) was named the first Italian prince of the area.  He worked on a plan to begin settling the area.  In the middle of the nineteenth century, the plan was successful enough that the island became a part of Italy , although at the time, it was used primarily as a place to exile Italian prisoners.

In recent history, the area has become a stopping place for migrants seeking to move between countries.  It has also become a place of increased international tourism.