corfu history

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Corfu history: Learn about the history of the famous island of Corfu Greece

    Corfu historyAccording to Ancient Greek Mythology, the name of Corfu Greece (Kerkyra in Greek) comes from the Nymph Korkira, daughter of the Assopos River.
The myth counts that Poseidon, god of the sea, fell in love with the nymph, kidnapped her and brought her on the island which took her name. Homer’s “Odyssey” relates the island to one of the adventures of Ulysses. It seems to be the island where he met Nausica, the daughter of the King Alcinoos.

According to Corfu history, and to some findings and excavations, the island has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Era (70.00-40.000 B.C).
The Romans ruled on the island from 229B.C. until 337 A.D.

During their rule, the island had a little autonomy and in return, Corfu had to allow the Romans to use the town’s port and ships.

Around 40 B.C., two Christian disciples of Saint Paul, Jasonas and Sossipatros brought Christianity on the island, built the first Christian church which was dedicated to Saint Stefanos and preached Christianity.

The Roman Empire was divided into the Western and Eastern Empires.

The Eastern Roman Empire became later the Byzantine Empire and included the island of Corfu.

In 1797, after Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice and after the treaty of Kamboformio was signed, Corfu became part of the French State.

Napoleon Bonaparte came on the island as a liberator and burnt publicly the “Libro d’Oro”, the book enumerating the Noble’s privileges.

Two years later, in 1799, the fleet of the alliance of the Turks, the Russians and the English defeated the French and disembarked on Corfu.

On March 1800, the “Ionian State” was established in Constantinople in order to create the Septinsular


The first Greek settlers were Eretreans from Euboia in the 8th Century. Later, a group of refugees from Corinth came on the island and founded a colony.

The town, trading with all the towns of the Adriatic Sea, became rapidly an important commercial centre with a powerful navy. It also developed an important colonial activity and became independent from Corinth.

The two towns became competitors and many conflicts took place between them. During an important battle, Corfu asked the Athenians for help.

The Athenian support to Corfu was one more reason for the rise of the Peloponnesian Wars.

The alliance between the two towns lasted for almost a century when the Macedonians, under Philip II, won a decisive battle in 338 B.C.

The Macedonian conquered Corfu and placed it under their protection.

The island, from 300 B.C., was attacked and conquered successively by Spartans, Illyrians and then by Romans.

The Byzantine period lasted until 1267 A.D. During this period, the island was constantly attacked by pirates, barbarians, Goths, Saracens and no constant peace could be established.

The island also fell for a short period under the rule of the Normans and then the Venetians. Half a century of peace followed the Venetian rule when a new threat from Sicily arose.

In 1267, Charles of Angou, the French King of Sicily, conquered the island of Corfu and attempted to replace the Orthodox religion by the Catholic.

The Angevins dynasty persecuted the Christians Orthodox and all the churches were converted to Catholicism.

The attempt of converting the people to Catholicism failed and the island of Corfu fell again in 1386 under the Venetian rule.
The Venetians were on the island from 1386 until 1797 while the rest of Greece was under Turkish rule. During that period, the island was the victim of numerous pirates’ attacks.

The island had a feudal organisation and was divided into three classes: the nobles, the bourgeoisie and the commoners.

The nobles’ exploitation of the majority led to constant insurrections which were all severely suppressed.

Republic but the attempt failed in 1807 when the island was ceded to France again. It was a period of prosperity with agricultural improvements. The Ionian Academy was founded, schools were built and the public services reorganised.

During this time, the English started occupying other Ionians Islands and finally occupied Corfu in 1815. The occupation was made officially after the Treaty of Paris in 1815.
During their occupation, the Greek language became official, new roads were built, the water supply of the town was organised and the education system improved with the founding of the first Greek University in 1824.
Although the island of Corfu was never controlled by the Turks, the inhabitants offered financial help to the rest of Greece which was still under the Turkish rule and helped them to make the Greek Revolution for Independence.
The Ionians Islands were finally unified to the newly built Greek State in the 21 May 1864.
In the 20th century, the island participated as the rest of Greece in the two World Wars. The island supported great damages and the Ionian Academy, the Library, and the Municipal Theatre were burnt down.

All the majors festivals are related to religious ceremonies... more

Corfu has most than 800 churches and monasteries...more
According to Corfu history, the islandís architecture was influenced by several west civilisations that once occupied Corfu... more

The main town of Corfu which has the islandís same name must be one of the most beautiful, most impressive and most interesting cities in Greece... more





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