Kish Island has been mentioned in history variously as Kamtina, Arakia (Ancient Greek: Αρακία), Arakata, and Ghiss.
Kish Island's strategic geographic location served as a way-station and link for the ancient Assyrian and Elamite civilizations when their primitive sailboats navigated from Susa through the Karun River into the Persian Gulf along the southern coastline, passing Kish, Qeshm, and Hormoz islands. When these civilizations vanished, Kish Island's advantageous position was lost and for a period it was subjected to turmoil and the tyranny of local potentates and other vendors. With the establishment of the Achaemenid dynasty, the Persian Gulf was profoundly affected. Kish was, in particular, economically and politically linked with the civilization of the Medes, Persians when they were at the height of their power.
In the shadow of the empire, the islands in the Gulf became prosperous, navigation in the Persian Gulf was expanded, and better vessels were used to carry passengers and goods. Navigational aids, including lighthouses, were set up to facilitate navigation in the Persian Gulf.
In 325 BC, Alexander the Great commissioned Nearchus to set off on an expeditionary voyage to the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Nearchus's writings on Arakata contain the first-known mention of Kish Island in antiquity. When Marco Polo visited the Imperial court in China, he commented on the Emperor's wife's pearls; he was told that they were from Kish.
In the 1970s, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, turned the island into a luxury resort for the international elite and a tourism hotspot, complete with a Grand Casino (renamed as the Shayan International Hotel after the Iranian Revolution). Kish Airport was designed to handle the Concorde. After the Islamic Revolution, Kish Island became a duty-free shopping center.
Kish has a very dry semi-equatorial climate. Over an 8 year span, the median annual rainfall in Kish was 145 mm (5.7 in) (54% in winter, 28% in autumn, and 14% in summer) and the median annual temperature was 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). The relative atmospheric humidity in Kish makes it like a sea island except in cold seasons. The humidity is approximately 60% for most of the year. In the months from October to April, Kish's weather is mild, ranging from 18 °C (64 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F). The statistical data in the Kish free zone's archives shows that the island's temperature varies from very hot to moderately hot, accompanied by relatively high humidity, often interspersed by heavy rains of short durations in certain seasons. With the exception of some southeastern coastal areas and a few other islands in the Persian Gulf, Kish Island has the most sunny hours in the region, roughly 3,100 hours per year. Based on climatological classification and general weather conditions, Kish's proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its exposure to high tropical pressure systems, as well as its position amidst hot and shallow waters, means the island tends to be hot and humid most of the year
Kish is home to Kish University, founded in 1996, which now has 360 students.
The importance of public education from the lowest to the highest levels as a main element in the steady development of Kish is now being paid special attention. Some of the most important activities include supporting and expanding existing educational centres, creating new educational centres, using new technology in developing educational activities, exploiting creditable national and international educational experiences, creating the foundations for all social classes to benefit from educational possibilities, developing applied sciences regionally, and promoting university education levels through holding courses with creditable universities at home and abroad.
To promote the quality and quantity of education, KFZO, the Kish Free Zone Organization, has created educational spaces by building new schools and giving priority to technical and vocational courses. These facilities have been located so as to make them easily accessible, especially for the local population. They include:
In 2005, Kish had over 4658 square metres of educational space, a 40% increase compared to the beginning of 2001. With this as well as the better living conditions of families in Kish, the number of students at each level is on the increase.