|Location of South Greece (Red)|
|First||Common Name: South Greece|
|Third||Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic|
|Fourth||Nationalities: 99% Greek|
|Fifth||President: Karolos Papoualis|
South Greece is a country in Southeast Europe. It's largest city and capital is Patra. It is a Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic and a developing nation. South Greece traces its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece, considered the cradle of Western culture. In modern times, Greece had been ruled by the Greek Rally Party until Greece lost the First Greek War in 2006. After the defeat in the Second Greek War and the Greek Civil War, Greece was divided between North Greece, a dictatorship, and South Greece, a democratic state.
From the earliest settlements to the 3rd century BCEdit
The earliest evidence of human presence in the Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe.
Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilization, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete (2700–1500 BC), and then the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland (1900–1100 BC). These civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Myceneans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Myceneans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent.
The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the year of the first Olympic Games. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 8th or 7th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, Southern Italy (Latin: Magna Graecia, or Greater Greece) and Asia Minor. These states and their colonies reached great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, that of classical Greece, expressed in architecture, drama, science, mathematics and philosophy. In 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the world's first democratic system of government in Athens.
By 500 BC, the Persian Empire controlled territories ranging from what is now northern Greece and Turkey all the way to Iran, and posed a threat to the Greek states. Attempts by the Greek city-states of Asia Minor to overthrow Persian rule failed, and Persia invaded the states of mainland Greece in 492 BC, but was forced to withdraw after a defeat at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. A second invasion followed in 480 BC. Despite a heroic resistance at Thermopylae by Spartans and other Greeks, Persian forces sacked Athens.
Following successive Greek victories in 480 and 479 BC at Salamis, Plataea and Mycale, the Persians were forced to withdraw for a second time. The military conflicts, known as the Greco-Persian Wars, were led mostly by Athens and Sparta. The fact that Greece was not a unified country meant that conflict between the Greek states was common.
The most devastating intra-Greek war in classical antiquity was the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which marked the demise of the Athenian Empire as the leading power in ancient Greece. Both Athens and Sparta were later overshadowed by Thebes and eventually Macedon, with the latter uniting the Greek world in the League of Corinth (also known as the Hellenic League or Greek League) under the guidance of Phillip II, who was elected leader of the first unified Greek state in history.
Following the assassination of Phillip II, his son Alexander III ("The Great") assumed the leadership of the League of Corinth and launched an invasion of the Persian Empire with the combined forces of all Greek states in 334 BC. Following Greek victories in the battles of Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela, the Greeks marched on Susa and Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of Persia, in 330 BC. The Empire created by Alexander the Great stretched from Greece in the west and Pakistan in the east, and Egypt in the south.
Before his sudden death in 323 BC, Alexander was also planning an invasion of Arabia. His death marked the collapse of the vast empire, which was split into several kingdoms, the most famous of which were the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt. Other states founded by Greeks include the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Greco-Indian Kingdom in India. Although the political unity of Alexander's empire could not be maintained, it brought about the dominance of Hellenistic civilization and the Greek language in the territories conquered by Alexander for at least two centuries, and, in the case of parts the Eastern Mediterranean, considerably longer.
Hellenistic and Roman periods (323 BC–4th century AD)Edit
After a period of confusion following Alexander's death, the Antigonid dynasty, descended from one of Alexander's generals, established its control over Macedon by 276 BC, as well as hegemony over most of the Greek city-states. From about 200 BC the Roman Republic became increasingly involved in Greek affairs and engaged in a series of wars with Macedon. Macedon's defeat at the Battle of Pydna in 168 signaled the end of Antigonid power in Greece. In 146 BC Macedonia was annexed as a province by Rome, and the rest of Greece became a Roman protectorate.
The process was completed in 27 BC when the Roman Emperor Augustus annexed the rest of Greece and constituted it as the senatorial province of Achaea. Despite their military superiority, the Romans admired and became heavily influenced by the achievements of Greek culture, hence Horace's famous statement: Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit ("Greece, although captured, took its wild conqueror captive"). Greek science, technology and mathematics are generally considered to have reached their peak during the Hellenistic period.
Greek-speaking communities of the Hellenized East were instrumental in the spread of early Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and Christianity's early leaders and writers (notably St Paul) were generally Greek-speaking, though none were from Greece. However, Greece itself had a tendency to cling on to paganism and was not one of the influential centers of early Christianity: in fact, some ancient Greek religious practices remained in vogue until the end of the 4th century, with some areas such as the southeastern Peloponnese remaining pagan until well into the 10th century AD.
Medieval period (4th century–1453)Edit
The Roman Empire in the east, following the fall of the Empire in the west in the 5th century, is conventionally known as the Byzantine Empire (but was simply called "Roman Empire" in its own time) and lasted until 1453. With its capital in Constantinople, its language and literary culture was Greek and its religion was predominantly Eastern Orthodox.
From the 4th century, the Empire's Balkan territories, including Greece, suffered from the dislocation of the Barbarian Invasions. The raids and devastation of the Goths and Huns in the 4th and 5th centuries and the Slavic invasion of Greece in the 7th century resulted in a dramatic collapse in imperial authority in the Greek peninsula. Following the Slavic invasion, the imperial government retained control of only the islands and coastal areas, particularly cities such as Athens, Corinth and Thessalonica, while some mountainous areas in the interior held out on their own and continued to recognize imperial authority. Outside of these areas, a limited amount of Slavic settlement is generally thought to have occurred, although on a much smaller scale than previously thought.
The Byzantine recovery of lost provinces began toward the end of the 8th century and most of the Greek peninsula came under imperial control again, in stages, during the 9th century. This process was facilitated by a large influx of Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor to the Greek peninsula, while at the same time many Slavs were captured and re-settled in Asia Minor and those that remained were assimilated. During the 11th and 12th centuries the return of stability resulted in the Greek peninsula benefiting from strong economic growth – much stronger than that of the Anatolian territories of the Empire.
Following the Fourth Crusade and the fall of Constantinople to the "Latins" in 1204 most of Greece quickly came under Frankish rule (initiating the period known as the Frankokratia) or Venetian rule in the case of some of the islands. The re-establishment of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople in 1261 was accompanied by the recovery of much of the Greek peninsula, although the Frankish Principality of Achaea in the Peloponnese remained an important regional power into the 14th century, while the islands remained largely under Genoese and Venetian control.
In the 14th century much of the Greek peninsula was lost by the Empire as first the Serbs and then the Ottomans seized imperial territory. By the beginning of the 15th century, the Ottoman advance meant that Byzantine territory in Greece was limited mainly to the Despotate of the Morea in the Peloponnese. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the Morea was the last remnant of the Byzantine Empire to hold out against the Ottomans. However, this, too, fell to the Ottomans in 1460, completing the Ottoman conquest of mainland Greece. With the Turkish conquest, many Byzantine Greek scholars, who up until then were largely responsible for preserving Classical Greek knowledge, fled to the West, taking with them a large body of literature and thereby significantly contributing to the Renaissance.
Greek War of Independence (1821–1832)Edit
In 1814, a secret organization called the Filiki Eteria was founded with the aim of liberating Greece. The Filiki Eteria planned to launch revolution in the Peloponnese, the Danubian Principalities and Constantinople. The first of these revolts began on 6 March 1821 in the Danubian Principalities under the leadership of Alexandros Ypsilantis, but it was soon put down by the Ottomans. The events in the north spurred the Greeks of the Peloponnese into action and on 17 March 1821 the Maniots declared war on the Ottomans.
By the end of the month, the Peloponnese was in open revolt against the Ottomans and by October 1821 the Greeks under Theodoros Kolokotronis had captured Tripolitsa. The Peloponnesian revolt was quickly followed by revolts in Crete, Macedonia and Central Greece, which would soon be suppressed. Meanwhile, the makeshift Greek navy was achieving success against the Ottoman navy in the Aegean Sea and prevented Ottoman reinforcements from arriving by sea. In 1822 and 1824 the Turks and Egyptians ravaged the islands, including Chios and Psara, committing wholesale massacres of the population. This had the effect of galvanizing public opinion in western Europe in favor of the Greek rebels.
Tensions soon developed among different Greek factions, leading to two consecutive civil wars. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Sultan negotiated with Mehmet Ali of Egypt, who agreed to send his son Ibrahim Pasha to Greece with an army to suppress the revolt in return for territorial gain. Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese in February 1825 and had immediate success: by the end of 1825, most of the Peloponnese was under Egyptian control, and the city of Missolonghi—put under siege by the Turks since April 1825—fell in April 1826. Although Ibrahim was defeated in Mani, he had succeeded in suppressing most of the revolt in the Peloponnese and Athens had been retaken.
After years of negotiation, three Great Powers, Russia, the United Kingdom and France, decided to intervene in the conflict and each nation sent a navy to Greece. Following news that combined Ottoman–Egyptian fleets were going to attack the Greek island of Hydra, the allied fleet intercepted the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet at Navarino. After a week-long standoff, a battle began which resulted in the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet. A French expeditionary force was dispatched to supervise the evacuation of the Egyptian army from the Peloponnese, while the Greeks proceeded to the captured part of Central Greece by 1828. As a result of years of negotiation, the nascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol in 1830.
The Kingdom of GreeceEdit
In 1827 Ioannis Kapodistrias, from Corfu, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic. However, following his assassination in 1831, the Great Powers installed a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843 an uprising forced the king to grant a constitution and a representative assembly.
Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule he was eventually dethroned in 1862 and a year later replaced by Prince Wilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877 Charilaos Trikoupis, who is credited with significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.
Corruption and Trikoupis' increased spending to create necessary infrastructure like the Corinth Canal overtaxed the weak Greek economy, forcing the declaration of public insolvency in 1893 and to accept the imposition of an International Financial Control authority to pay off the country's debtors.
In 1897, after a coup, Greece was ruled by a group of three Generals, who formed the Military Council. They developed the economy and equiped and trained the army and in 1903, after the Tukish-Italian War, Greece, along with Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, fought the Balkans Wars against the Ottoman Empire. Greece managed to expand in Epirus, Macedonia and the Islands of the Agean.
In 1905, with the start of World War I, Greece sided with the Allies against France. Greece played a major role in the defeat of Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. In the aftermath of the First World War, Greece attempted further expansion into Asia Minor, a region with a large Greek population at the time, but was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War of 1909–1912, which resulted in a massive population exchange between the two countries under the Treaty of Lausanne.
After the defeat, the Military Council collapsed and the Constitution of 1864 was restored. Thanks to Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece managed to recover and ally with most of the Balkan nations. Eleftherios Venizelos dominated Greek politics from 1913 to 1929, when he was assassinated.
After the death of Venizelos, a period of instability begun which ended with the 1931 coup of Ioannis Metaxas. Metaxas made Greece a fascist dictatorship. In 18 June 1933, Greece was invaded by Italy and later by Turkey and France. The country would remain occupied until 1939.
After World War II, Greece lost Macedonia and parts of Epirus to the Communist Union of Socialist Balkan Republics and was bullied by Stalin into not joining NATO. Using the unpopularity of the monarchy, Alexander Papagos, Commander of the Greek Army, couped the King in 1950 and declared a republic.
Greek Rally Rule and the Civil WarEdit
In 1951 Papagos declared free elections, which his party, the Greek Rally, won. Under his Presidency, Greece, despite Soviet threats, joined NATO in 1953. Papagos also developed the Industry and the economy of the nation, making Greece from a nation developing farming products to a highly developed industrial economy.
In 1955, Papagos won again the elections. This time, he focused more on the army and bought tens of USA ships and planes. Greece became the third most importand USA ally, after the UK and Israel.
Because of the constitution that did not allow a President to run for a third time, Papagos gave the leadership of the party to Spyros Markezinis, who won the 1959 elections. Markezinis allowed the USA to establish military bases in the Agean Sea and Crete and bought many USA ships and planes. He developed even more the industry, starting the Greek Economic Miracle, which would lead to Greece becoming the world's ten largest economy in 1974.
In 1962, with USA support, he started sending Greek Army Officers and Troops to USBR Macedonia to begin a Second Macedonian struggle. The Macedonian Figthers rallied the Greek population. Despite several protests from USBR, Greece send more and more money and supplies to the Macedonian Fighters.
In 1963, Markezinis won again the elections. In 1964, USBR declared war on Greece. In the Third Balkan War, Greece won and Macedonia was retaken by Greece. He then gave the leadership of the party to Konstantinos Karamanlis, who won the elections of 1967.
During his first term, he developed the Industry in Macedonia and expanded even more the Greek Army, which by now had more than 450,000 soldiers and was one of the most advanced armies of the world, equal to that of Israel and the UK.
In his second term, Karamanlis allowed the USA to establish military bases in Macedonia. He also helped the USA in the Vietnam War, sending more than 23,000 troops to fight in Vietnam. Greece also signed a military alliance with Turkey and Israel. Also Greece became in 1974 the world's ten largest economy.
In 1975 he gave the leadership of the Greek Rally to Panagiotis Pipinelis, who won the 1975 elections. His first term was marked by the Six Weeks War in the Middle East, when Greece send 50,000 troops to help Israel protect itself from Arab aggression. Greece also took part in the NATO invasion of Egypt to depose Communist President Mubarak, sending more than 34,000 troops in Egypt.
His second term was marked by several economical reforms to boost the economy. Thanks to his reforms, Greece became the world's fifth largest economy by 1981. in 1982, Greece fought a Seven Days War against the USBR over Macedonia. The war begun when a USBR army of 120,000 troops, led by Soviet military advisors, invaded Macedonia. Greece managed to crush the Balkanians in just seven days and take over Belgrade.
The peace treaty signed made no territorial changes, but forced USBR to pay 105 million dollars to Greece. In 1983, Panagiotis gave the leadership of the Greek Rally to Andreas Papandreou, who won the 1983 elections. The first term of Papandreou was mainly an era of economic development, as Greece developed even more it's industry and started producing it's own weapons, planes and ships and stopped needing USA weapons. The Greek economy became the fourth largest in the world in 1986.
In 1987, Andreas won the 1987 elections. In his second term, he joined Israel in the Winter War against the Arabs. In 1990, he send 80,000 Greeks troops to join the NATO invasion of Libya. In 1991, Greece became the world's third largest economy, mainly thanks to the collapse of the USSR which held that position.
In 1991, Andreas gave the leadership of the Greek Rally to Antonis Samaras, who won the 1991 elections. In his first term, Greece joined the EU (in 2 August 1993) and the Eurozone in 1993, with Euro being made the official currency of Greece in 1994. At the same time, the Greek economy continued to grow. Meanwhile, he had to face new challenges, as the USBR collapsed.
In his second term, Samaras joined the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein with more than 150,000 soldiers, and the South African invasion by NATO with 56,000 troops. Serbia declared war on Greece in 1997, claiming Macedonia. After three weeks, Serbia was defeated but Greece did not impose any punishment on Serbia, but instead it signed a defensive alliance with Serbia. In 1999, in a poll by BBC, 67% of the Serbians said that they wished good relations with Greece.
Antonis gave the leadership of the Greek Rally in 1999 to George Papandreou, who won the 1999 elections.