HOME

TheInfoList




The Ionian Islands (
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
: , ;
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
,
Katharevousa Katharevousa ( el, Καθαρεύουσα, , literally "purifying anguage) is a conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservati ...
: , ) are a
group of islands
group of islands
in the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ("our sea")) is an elongated bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such ...

Ionian Sea
, west of mainland
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical region of Europe Europe is a continent A contin ...

Greece
. They are traditionally called the Heptanese ("Seven Islands"; , ''Heptanēsa'' or , ''Heptanēsos''; it, Eptaneso), but the group includes many smaller islands as well as the seven principal ones. As a distinct historic region, they date to the centuries-long Venetian rule, which preserved them from becoming part of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th a ...
, and created a distinct cultural identity with many Italian influences. The Ionian Islands became part of the modern Greek state in 1864. Administratively today, they belong to the Ionian Islands Region except for
Kythera Kythira (, ; el, Κύθηρα, , also transliterated as Cythera, Kythera and Kithira) is an Greek islands, island in Greece lying opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is traditionally listed as one of the seven main Ion ...
, which belongs to the
Attica Region Attica ( el, Περιφέρεια Αττικής, translit=Periféria Attikís, ) is an administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an orga ...
.


Geography

The seven islands are, from north to south: *
Kerkyra Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ) is an elongated bay of the ...

Kerkyra
(Κέρκυρα) usually known as Corfu in English and ''Corfù'' in Italian *
Paxi Paxi or Paxoi and Antipaxoi or Antipaxos (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population i ...

Paxi
(Παξοί) also known as Paxos in English *
Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to ...

Lefkada
(Λευκάδα) also known as Lefkas in English *
Ithaki Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...
(Ιθάκη) usually known as Ithaca in English *
Kefalonia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek: , ; Ancient Greek, Katharevousa: , ) are a archipelago, group of islan ...

Kefalonia
(Κεφαλονιά) often known as Cefalonia, Cephalonia and Kefallinia in English *
Zakynthos Zakynthos (also spelled Zakinthos; el, Ζάκυνθος, Zákynthos ; it, Zacinto ) or Zante (, , ; el, Τζάντε, Tzánte ; from the Venetian language, Venetian form) is a Greece, Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of ...

Zakynthos
(Ζάκυνθος) sometimes known as Zante in English and Italian *
Kythira Kythira (, ; el, Κύθηρα, , also transliterated as Cythera, Kythera and Kithira) is an Greek islands, island in Greece lying opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is traditionally listed as one of the seven main Ion ...
(Κύθηρα) usually known as Cythera in English and sometimes known as Cerigo in English and Italian The six northern islands are off the west coast of Greece, in the
Ionian Sea The Ionian Sea ( el, Ιόνιο Πέλαγος, ''Iónio Pélagos'' ; it, Mar Ionio ; al, Deti Jon ("our sea")) is an elongated bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such ...

Ionian Sea
. The seventh island,
Kythira Kythira (, ; el, Κύθηρα, , also transliterated as Cythera, Kythera and Kithira) is an Greek islands, island in Greece lying opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is traditionally listed as one of the seven main Ion ...
, is off the southern tip of the
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the ...
, the southern part of the Greek mainland. Kythira is not part of the
region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wo ...
of the
Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including th ...
, as it is included in the region of
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...
.


Etymology

In
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
, the adjective ''Ionios'' () was used as an epithet for the sea between
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related ...
and Italy in which the Ionian Islands are found, because Io swam across it. Although they have the same Latin transliteration and
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
pronunciation, the Ionian Sea and Islands are not related to
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔː.ní.aː/, ''Iōnía'' or Ἰωνίη, ''Iōníē'') was an ancient region on the central part of the western coast of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which ...
, an Anatolian region; in Greek, the Ionian Sea and Ionian Islands are spelled with an
omicron Omicron (; uppercase Ο, lowercase ο, ) is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. This letter is derived from the Phoenician letter ayin: . In classical Greek, omicron represented the sound in contrast to ''omega'' and ''ου'' . In modern Gr ...

omicron
(Ιόνια), whereas Ionia has an
omega Omega (; capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or ...

omega
(Ιωνία), reflecting a classical difference in pronunciation. The two words are still distinguished by stress: the western "Ionia" is accented on the antepenult (), and the eastern on the
penult Penult is a linguistics term for the second to last syllable of a word. It is an abbreviation of ''penultimate'', which describes the next-to-last item in a series. The penult follows the antepenult and precedes the ultima (linguistics), ultima. F ...
(). In English, the adjective relating to Ionia is ''
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
'', not ''Ionian''. The islands themselves are known by a variety of names. During the centuries of rule by
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, d ...

Venice
, they acquired Venetian names, by which some of them are still known in English (and in
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...

Italian
). Kerkyra was known as Corfù, Ithaki as
Val di Compare
Val di Compare
, Kythera as
Cerigo Kythira (, ; el, Κύθηρα, , also transliterated as Cythera, Kythera and Kithira) is an Greek islands, island in Greece lying opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is traditionally listed as one of the seven main Ion ...
, Lefkada as
Santa Maura Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek and Katharevousa: Λευκάς, ''Leukás'', modern pronunciation ''Lefkás'') and Leucadia, is a Greece, Greek list of islands of Greece, island in the ...
and Zakynthos as
Zante Zakynthos (also spelled Zakinthos; el, Ζάκυνθος, Zákynthos ; it, Zacinto ) or Zante meaning "amazing and loving" (, , ; el, Τζάντε, Tzánte ; from the Venetian language, Venetian form) is a Greece, Greek island in the Ionian Se ...
. A variety of spellings are used for the Greek names of the islands, particularly in historical writing. Kefallonia is often spelled as
Cephallenia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios. It is ...
or
Cephalonia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios. It i ...
, Ithaki as
Ithaca Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

Ithaca
, Kerkyra as
Corcyra Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek islands, Greek island located in the Ionian Sea, of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the margin of the northwestern fronti ...
, Kythera as Cythera, Lefkada as Leucas or Leucada and Zakynthos as
Zacynthus Zakynthos (also spelled Zakinthos; el, Ζάκυνθος, Zákynthos ; it, Zacinto ) or Zante (, , ; el, Τζάντε, Tzánte ; from the Venetian language, Venetian form) is a Greece, Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of ...
or
Zante Zakynthos (also spelled Zakinthos; el, Ζάκυνθος, Zákynthos ; it, Zacinto ) or Zante meaning "amazing and loving" (, , ; el, Τζάντε, Tzánte ; from the Venetian language, Venetian form) is a Greece, Greek island in the Ionian Se ...
. Older or variant Greek forms are sometimes also used:
Kefallinia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios. It is ...
for Kefallonia and Paxos or Paxoi for Paxi.


History

The islands were settled by Greeks at an early date, possibly as early as 1200 BC, and certainly by the 9th century BC. The early
Eretrian Eretria (; el, Ερέτρια, ''Eretria'', literally "city of the rowers" grc, Ἐρέτρια) is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th cent ...
settlement at Kerkyra was displaced by colonists from
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of sel ...

Corinth
in 734 BC. The islands were mostly a backwater during Ancient Greek times and played little part in Greek politics. The one exception was the conflict between Kerkyra and its mother-City Corinth in 434 BC, which brought intervention from
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
and triggered the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly div ...

Peloponnesian War
. Ithaca was the name of the island home of
Odysseus Odysseus ( ; grc-gre, Ὀδυσσεύς, Ὀδυσεύς, OdysseúsOdyseús, ), also known by the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...

Odysseus
in the epic
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
poem the ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following pe ...
'' by
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
. Attempts have been made to identify Ithaki with ancient Ithaca, but the geography of the real island cannot be made to fit Homer's description. Archeological investigations have revealed findings in both Kefalonia and Ithaca.


Roman and Byzantine rule

By the 4th century BC, most of the islands were absorbed into the empire of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
. Some remained under the control of the Macedonian Kingdom until 146 BC, when the Greek peninsula was gradually annexed by
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
. After 400 years of peaceful rule, the islands continued under the control of the
Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire
Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire
after the fall of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
. Under Byzantine rule, from the mid-8th century, they formed the
theme Theme or themes may refer to: * Theme (arts) In contemporary literary studies, a theme is a central topic, subject, or message within a narrative. Themes can be divided into two categories: a work's ''thematic concept'' is what readers "think the ...
of
Cephallenia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece and the 6th largest island in Greece after Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios. It is ...
. The islands were a frequent target of
Saracen Saracens () were primarily , but also , or other Muslims as referred to by Christian writers in Europe during the . The term's meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries of the , Greek and Latin writings used the term to refer to ...
raids and from the late 11th century, saw a number of
Norman Norman or Normans may refer to: Ethnic and cultural identity * The Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were inhabitants of the early medieval Duchy of Normandy, descended from ...

Norman
and Italian attacks. Most of the islands fell to
William II of Sicily William II (December 115311 November 1189), called the Good, was king of Sicily from 1166 to 1189. Our understanding of William's character is indistinct. Lacking in military enterprise, secluded and pleasure-loving, he seldom emerged from his pa ...
in 1185. Corfu and Lefkas remained under Byzantine control. Kefallonia and Zakynthos became the
County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos The County Palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos existed from 1185 to 1479 as part of the Kingdom of Sicily The Kingdom of Sicily ( la, Regnum Siciliae, it, Regno di Sicilia, scn, Regnu di Sicilia, ca, Regne de Sicília, es, Reino de Sicilia) ...
until 1357, when this entity was merged with Lefkada and Ithaki to become the Duchy of Leucadia under French and Italian dukes. Corfu, Paxi and Kythera were taken by the Venetians in 1204, after the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Roman Catholic Church, Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Islam, Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first defeating th ...
. These became important overseas colonies of the Republic and were used as way-stations for their maritime trade with the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
.


Venetian rule

From 1204, the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
controlled Corfu and slowly all the Ionian islands fell under Venetian rule. In the 15th century, the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe an ...
conquered most of Greece, but their attempts to conquer the islands were largely unsuccessful. Zakynthos passed permanently to Venice in 1482, Kefallonia and Ithaki in 1483, Lefkada in 1502. Kythera had been in Venetian hands since 1238. The islands thus became the only part of the Greek-speaking world to escape Ottoman rule. Corfu was the only Greek island never conquered by the Turks. Under Venetian rule, many of the upper classes spoke Italian (or Venetian in some cases) and converted to
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
, but the majority remained Greek ethnically, linguistically, and religiously. In the 18th century, a Greek national independence movement began to emerge, and the free status of the Ionian islands made them the natural base for exiled Greek intellectuals, freedom fighters and foreign sympathisers. The islands became more self-consciously Greek as the 19th century, the century of romantic nationalism, neared.


Napoleonic era

In 1797,
Napoléon Bonaparte Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars, Revolutionary War ...
conquered
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, d ...

Venice
. By the
Treaty of Campo Formio The Treaty of Campo Formio (today Campoformido) was signed on 17 October 1797 (26 Vendémiaire VI) by Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a ...
the islanders found themselves under French rule, the islands being organised as the
départements A department (, ) is an administrative division, administrative or political division in many countries. Departments are the first-level divisions of 11 countries, nine in the Americas and two in Africa. An additional 10 countries use department ...
''
Mer-Égée Mer-Égée (; ) was one of three short-lived French departments of Greece French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France ** French language, a French language which originated in France, and its var ...
'', ''
Ithaque Ithaque (; French for Ithaca) was one of three short-lived French departments of Greece. It came into existence after Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prom ...
'' and ''
Corcyre Corcyre (, archaic French for " Corfu", , ''Kerkyra'') was one of three short-lived French departments of Greece. It came into existence after Napoleon's conquest in 1797 of the Republic of Venice, when Venetian Greek possessions such as the I ...
''. In 1798, the Russian Admiral Ushakov evicted the French, and established the
Septinsular Republic The Septinsular Republic ( el, Ἑπτάνησος Πολιτεία, Heptanēsos Politeia; it, Repubblica Settinsulare) was an oligarchic Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between ...
under joint Russo-Ottoman protection—the first time Greeks had had even limited self-government since the
fall of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως , translit=Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantīnoupóleōs ; tr, İstanbul'un Fethi, lit=Conquest of Istanbul ) was the capture of the capital Cap ...
in 1453. In 1807, the Ionian Islands were ceded again to the French in the
Treaty of Tilsit The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by of in the town of in July 1807 in the aftermath of his . The first was signed on 7 July, between and of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the . The second was signed with ...

Treaty of Tilsit
and occupied by the
French Empire#REDIRECT French Empire {{Redirect shell , {{R from ambiguous page {{R from other capitalisation ...
.


British rule

In 1809, the
British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the Unite ...
defeated the French fleet in Zakynthos (October 2, 1809) captured Kefallonia, Kythera and Zakynthos, and took Lefkada in 1810. The French held out in Corfu until 1814. The Treaty of Paris in 1815 turned the islands into the "
United States of the Ionian Islands The United States of the Ionian Islands ( el, Ἡνωμένον Κράτος τῶν Ἰονίων Νήσων, Inoménon Krátos ton Ioníon Níson, ; it, Stati Uniti delle Isole Ionie) was a Greeks, Greek state (polity), state and amical protect ...
" under British protection (November 5, 1815). In January 1817, the British granted the islands a new constitution. The islanders elected an Assembly of 40 members, who advised the British High Commissioner. The British greatly improved the islands' communications, and introduced modern education and justice systems. The islanders welcomed most of these reforms, and took up afternoon tea,
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
and other English pastimes. Once Greek independence was established after 1830, however, the islanders began to press for ''
Enosis ''Enosis'' ( el, Ένωσις, , "union") is the movement of various Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country ...
'' – union with Greece. The British statesman
William Ewart Gladstone William Ewart Gladstone (; 29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British statesman and Liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an ...

William Ewart Gladstone
toured the islands and recommended that having already
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...
, giving the islands to Greece would not hurt the interest of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. The
British government ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size=220px, date_established = , state = United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, comm ...
resisted, since like the Venetians they found the islands made useful naval bases. They also regarded the Bavarian-born king of Greece,
King Otto
King Otto
, as unfriendly to Britain. However, in 1862, Otto was deposed in a coup by the
Great National Assembly , disbanded = 1989 , succeeded_by = Parliament of Romania (Chamber of Deputies of Romania, Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of Romania, Senate) , leader1_type = , leader1 = , leader2_type = , leader2 ...

Great National Assembly
and a new king,
George IGeorge I or 1 may refer to: People * Patriarch George I of Alexandria (floruit, fl. 621–631) * George I of Constantinople (d. 686) * George I of Antioch (d. 790) * George I of Abkhazia (ruled 872/3–878/9) * George I of Georgia (d. 1027) * Yuri D ...

George I
from Denmark, was elected in his place.


Union with Greece

In 1862, Britain decided to transfer the islands to Greece, as a gesture of support intended to bolster the new King's popularity (probably as a counterbalance to the newly established Italian state). On May 2, 1864, the British departed and the islands became three provinces of the Kingdom of Greece, though Britain retained the use of the port of Corfu. On 21 May 1864 the Ionian Islands officially reunited with Greece. Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark was born in
Corfu Corfu (, ) or Kerkyra ( el, Κέρκυρα, Kérkyra, ), ; ; la, Corcyra. is a Greek island Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch ...

Corfu
in 1921 and grew up to become Britain's
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark,Multiple sources: * * * * later Philip Mountbatten; 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021), was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexand ...
. In 1923, following orders by Mussolini, the Italians temporarily occupied Corfu.


World War II

In 1941, when
Axis Axis may refer to: Politics *Axis of evil The phrase "axis of evil" was first used by U.S. President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, less than five months after the 9/11 attacks, and often repeated t ...
forces occupied Greece, the Ionian Islands (except Kythera) were handed over to the Italians. Long a target of Italian expansionism, the Greek civil authorities were replaced by Italians in preparation for a post-war annexation. In 1943, the Germans replaced the Italians, and deported the centuries-old
Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jew
ish community of Corfu to their deaths. By 1944, most of the islands were under the control of the EAM/ ELAS resistance movement, and they have remained in general a stronghold of left-wing sentiment ever since.


1953 earthquake

The 1953 Ionian islands earthquake occurred with a surface wave magnitude of 7.2 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (''Extreme'') on August 12, 1953. Building damage was extensive and the southern islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos were practically levelled. The islands were reconstructed from the ground up over the following years under a strict building code. The code has proven extremely effective, as many earthquakes since that time have caused no damage to new buildings.


Today

Today, all the islands are part of the Greek
region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wo ...
of the
Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including th ...
(''Ionioi Nisoi''), except Kythera, which is part of the region of
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...
. Kerkyra has a population of 103,300 (including Paxoi), Zakynthos 40,650, Kefallonia 39,579 (including Ithaca), Lefkada 22,536, Ithaki 3,052, Kythera 3,000 and Paxi 2,438. In recent decades, the islands have lost much of their population through emigration and the decline of their traditional industries, fishing and marginal agriculture. Today, their major industry is tourism. Specifically Kerkyra, with its harbour, scenery and wealth of ruins and castles, is a favourite stopping place for cruise liners. British tourists in particular are attracted through having read
Gerald Durrell Gerald Malcolm Durrell, (7 January 1925 – 30 January 1995) was a British naturalist, writer, zookeeper, conservationist, and television presenter. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey Zoo on the Channel Island ...
's evocative book ''
My Family and Other Animals ''My Family and Other Animals'' (1956) is an autobiographical work by British naturalist Gerald Durrell. It tells in an exaggerated and sometimes fictionalised way of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on ...
'' (1956), which describes his childhood on Kerkyra in the 1930s. The novel and movie ''
Captain Corelli's Mandolin ''Captain Corelli's Mandolin'', released simultaneously in the United States as ''Corelli's Mandolin'', is a 1994 novel by the British writer Louis de Bernières, set on the Greek island of Cephalonia Cephalonia or Kefalonia ( el, Κεφαλο ...
'' are set in Kefallonia, in which Captain Corelli is part of the Italian occupation force during the Second World War.


Demographics

The Ionian Islands' official population, excluding Kythera, in 2011 was 207,855, decreased by 1.50% compared to the population in 2001. Nevertheless, the region remains the third by population density with 90.1/km2 nationwide, well above the national of 81.96/km2. The most populous of the major islands is Corfu with a population of 104,371, followed by
Zakynthos Zakynthos (also spelled Zakinthos; el, Ζάκυνθος, Zákynthos ; it, Zacinto ) or Zante (, , ; el, Τζάντε, Tzánte ; from the Venetian language, Venetian form) is a Greece, Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of ...

Zakynthos
(40,759),
Kefalonia Kefalonia or Cephalonia ( el, Κεφαλονιά), formerly also known as Kefallinia or Kephallenia (), is the largest of the Ionian Islands The Ionian Islands (Modern Greek: , ; Ancient Greek, Katharevousa: , ) are a archipelago, group of islan ...

Kefalonia
(35,801),
Lefkada Lefkada ( el, Λευκάδα, ''Lefkáda'', ), also known as Lefkas or Leukas (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to ...

Lefkada
(23,693) and
Ithaca Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

Ithaca
(3,231). The foreign-born population was in 2001 19,360 or 9.3%, the majority of which was concentrated in Corfu and Zakynthos. Most of them originate from
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...

Albania
(13,536). The fertility rate for 2011 according to Eurostat was 1.35 live births per woman during her lifetime.


Culture


Economy

The regional gross domestic product for 2010 was 4,029 million euros. The GDP per capita for the same year was 18,440 euros per capita which was lower than the national median of 20,481. However, the GDP per capita of Kefalonia and Zante, 23,275 and 24,616 respectively, was much higher than the national figure. Additionally, unemployment for 2012 was 14.7, the lowest among all Greek regions, and much lower compared to the national unemployment of 24.2.


Tourism

The region is a popular tourist destination. The airports of Corfu, Zante and Kefalonia were in the top ten in Greece by number of international arrivals, with 1,386,289 international arrivals for 2012, with Corfu being the sixth airport by number of arrivals nationwide. While Kefalonia Airport had the biggest increase nationwide by 13.11% compared to 2011, while Corfu had an increase of 6.31%.'


Major communities

*
Argostóli (Αργοστόλι)
Argostóli (Αργοστόλι)
, in Kefalonia * Kérkyra (Κέρκυρα), in Corfu * Lefkáda (Λευκάδα), in Lefkada * Lixouri (Ληξούρι), in Kefalonia * Zákynthos (Ζάκυνθος), in Zakynthos


See also

*
Greek islands Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2018; Athens is ...
*
Homer's Ithaca Ithaca (; : Ιθάκη, ''Ithakē'') was, in , the island home of the hero . The specific location of the island, as it was described in 's ', is a matter for debate. There have been various theories about its location. Modern has traditionally ...
*
Italian irredentism , Ticino Ticino (), sometimes Tessin (), officially the Republic and Canton of Ticino or less formally the Canton of Ticino,, informally ''Canton Ticino'' ; lmo, Canton Tesin ; german: Kanton Tessin ; french: canton du Tessin ; rm, chantun dal ...


References


External links


Ionian Islands
The Official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation * {{Authority control NUTS 2 statistical regions of the European Union Archipelagoes of Greece Mediterranean islands Ionian Sea Territories of the Republic of Venice