Map of Greece
Location of Greece on the European continent
|Motto: "Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος"
Eleftheria i thanatos
"Freedom or Death" (traditional)
|Anthem: "Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν"
Ýmnos is tin Eleftherían
"Hymn to Liberty"[a]
(and largest city)
|Ethnic groups||94% Greek,
|Demonym||Greek (Officially: Hellenic)|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary republic|
|-||Prime Minister||Antonis Samaras|
|Independence from the Ottoman Empire|
|-||Declared||1 January 1822, at the First National Assembly|
|-||Recognized||3 February 1830, in the London Protocol|
|-||Current constitution||11 June 1975,
Third Hellenic Republic
|-||Total||131,990 km2 (96th)
50,944 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||11,305,118 (74th)|
|-||2011 (preliminary data) census||10,787,690|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|HDI (2011)||0.861 (very high) (29th)|
|Currency||Euro (€)[b] (
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|-||Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Drives on the||right|
|a. ^ Also the national anthem of Cyprus.
b. ^ Before 2002, the Greek Drachma (₯).
c. ^ The .eu domain is also used, as in other European Union member states.
Greece (Greek: Ελλάδα, Elláda or Ἑλλάς, Ellás), officially the Hellenic Republic (Greek: Ελληνική Δημοκρατία, Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía), is a country in southeastern Europe situated on the tip of the Balkan peninsula. It has land boundaries with Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, and Albania to the north and with Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece's coastline features a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands, among others. 80% of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. Greece has a population of about 14-17 million. Its capital city is Athens. Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Larissa, Volos, Ioannina, Kavala, Rhodes, and Serres are some of the country's other major cities.
- 1 Creationists
- 2 Location
- 3 Language
- 4 History
- 4.1 Ancient Greece
- 4.1.1 Origins
- 4.1.2 First Civilizations
- 4.1.3 The Olympiad Era
- 4.1.4 Peloponnesian Wars and beyond
- 4.1.5 Philip and Alexander
- 4.1.6 An Empire Divided and Conquered
- 4.1.7 Rome and Byzantium
- 4.1.8 The Byzantine Era
- 4.1.9 Islam
- 4.2 Religion
- 4.3 Philosophy
- 4.4 Life
- 4.5 People
- 4.1 Ancient Greece
- 5 Modern Greece
- 6 References
- 7 External Links
Greece is located in the southeastern parts of Europe. Its slim mainland is part of the Balkan Peninsula with the Ionian Sea to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Aegean Sea to the east, and Macedonia to the north. Most of Greece consists of its many islands.
Geography and ecology
About 80% is mountains or hills, and thus Greece is the most mountainous country in Europe. The western side of Greece has lakes and wetlands. Toward the center of the western side one finds high, steep peaks with many canyons between them. These mountains include the Meteora and the Vikos gorge; the Vikos gorge is also the second largest one on earth next to the Grand Canyon.
The highest mountain in Greece is Mount Olympus, with an altitude of 2,919 meters above sea level. There is another high mountain range in the north in eastern Macedonia and Thrace called the Rhodope.
Greece has a semi-arid climate with low average rainfall. Temperatures vary from 8 to 31 degrees Celsius, with a nine-to-ten-degree (Celsius) intraday variation. But sometimes temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. Most of the rain falls during the late fall, winter, and early spring months.
- Main Article: Greek language
The language of the Septuagint is probably a classical variant of ancient Greek. The language of the New Testament was called common Greek or Koiné Greek and was the language that all educated Roman citizens and other prominent people of the Roman world spoke.
Written Greek has an alphabet that consists of 24 letters, each having an upper and lower case form. (The most ancient form of Greek had twenty-seven symbols that appear mainly as numerals.) Ancient Greek used three different diacritical marks, an acute accent, a circumflex, and a grave accent. These symbols did not show stress but instead showed musical pitch.
Written Greek had another pair of diacriticals, the breathings, that appeared before all words beginning in vowels or the letter ρ (rho). The smooth breathing meant that the speaker should sound the vowel as usual, while the rough breathing meant that the speaker should exhale before sounding the vowel. Thus the rough breathing was equivalent to the Roman letter H. (A word beginning in ρ always had the rough breathing, hence the transliteration of all such words as beginning with the Roman letters "rh").
Classic Greek had eight different noun cases, many of which had identical forms. These were:
|Nominative||Naming||Subject of a sentence|
|Ablative||Carrying from a person, place or thing||Object of some prepositions that connote such carrying|
|Dative||Giving||Indirect object meaning a thing or person to whom something is given or done|
|Locative||Placement in space or time||Object of the preposition en within, or a time reference|
|Instrumental||Means of doing a thing||Indirect object meaning an instrument of an action|
|Accusative||Motion toward a thing||Direct object or object of a preposition indicating or consistent with such motion|
In addition, ancient Greek had five different declensions of nouns and adjectives and at least two different conjugations of verbs.
Classical Greek did not have separate numerals. Instead, the Greeks used the first nine letters to stand for the integers one through nine, the next nine to stand for the multiples of ten, and the final nine to stand for multiples of a hundred. The Greeks depicted numbers greater than a thousand by using the first nine letters written at the left, with a smooth breathing to indicate a multiple of a thousand. Myriads, or multiples of ten thousand, had their own special symbols. The myriad was the highest power of ten that the Greeks normally used.
When the Romans conquered Greece, they made Greek the common language of commerce in all of Rome's provinces. Furthermore, 70 percent of modern words in English and many other languages derive from Greek, either directly or through Latin.
In modern Greece the official language is Standard Modern Greek. Greek is spoken by about 95% of the population but there are people who also speak English and Turkish.
Modern vernacular Greek retains much of the grammatical structure of ancient Greek. But not all of the people of Greece today descend from the ancient Greeks. Many descend from the many invaders from Turkey and the various Balkan nations. (Indeed, there are some Turkish speaking groups, and some Greeks speak English or French). The Greek language today has absorbed many words and phrases from these invading peoples. For example, the modern Greek verb meaning "I unite" is ενωνω or enono meaning literally "I join together", whereas the ancient Greeks used a verb more properly meaning "I cause to stand together."
Modern Greek has two diacritical symbols: an acute accent that shows stress and the diaeresis, used with a vowel to indicate that one should pronounce it separately from another immediately preceding vowel. The breathings have disappeared. In addition, at least one consonant has changed its sound: the letter β (beta) is no longer plosive, but fricative, and sounds like the Roman letter V. Likewise, the old diphthong αυ is often pronounced like the Roman digraph "av."
'This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras." - Genesis 10:1-2
"The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim. (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language)." - Genesis 10:4-5
The name Javan is closest to the name Ionia, one of the many nations in the general category of "Greek." The first-named of Javan's sons is Elishah, considered to be another form of Hellas or Hellenus, whom the Greeks have always held to be one of their founding fathers. Tarshish traces to southern Spain, Kittim to Cyprus, and Rodanim to Rhodes. Osterholm also identifies Javan as the progenitor of the Greeks, but also suggests that many of the Italian allies of the Roman state were Javanite peoples. However, other scholars suggest that the Greek people, and certain other European peoples, descend not from Japheth, but from Shem.
Dr. Ernest L. Martin, the founder of the Foundation for Biblical Research in Pasadena, California and Associates for Scriptural Knowledge, wrote:
|“||... [The] Shemite tribes (people who were descendants of Shem and including some peoples who came from Abraham) later colonized the whole of southern Europe and replaced the people of Javan and his four descendants. Javan's people were pushed mainly into the northern areas of Europe where in turn they migrated farther east into Asia (along with Gomer the firstborn son of Japheth and his descendants). Indeed, in prophecies dealing also with the End-Time, we find the people of Javan no longer in Europe but now associated with Tubal (another son of Japheth; see Ezekiel 38-39 ) who became an eastern Mongolian type of people ... though the name Javan still retained its geographical hold on the southern region of Europe, particularly in Greece) ... It is not uncommon for people to give a name to a region and then the original people move on to other areas (or are killed off) and the original geographical name becomes associated with completely different people.||”|
The Spartans, notably enough, claimed descent from Hebrews. The Deuterocanonical book, 1 Maccabees 12, and Josephus' Antiquities 12.4.10 state that about 180 BC the King of Sparta sent the following letter to the Jews in Jerusalem:
"Arius king of the Spartans to Onias the high priest, sendeth greetings. It is found in writing concerning the Spartans, and the Jews, that they are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham. And now since this is come to our knowledge, you do well to write to us of your prosperity." - 1_Maccabees 12:20-22 (Douay-Rheims)
The Jews in Jerusalem are reported to have replied as follows:
|“||We joyfully received the epistle, and were well pleased with Demoteles and Arius, although we did not need such a demonstration, because we were well satisfied about it from the sacred writings.||”|
|“||Shem, the son of Noah was the father of the Arabs, the Persians, and the Greeks; Ham was the father of the Black Africans; and Japheth was the father of the Turks and of Gog and Magog who were cousins of the Turks.||”|
The first Proto-Greek-speaking tribes, known later as Mycenaeans (Greek: Μυκηναίων, Mykinaíon), are generally thought to have arrived in the Greek mainland between 1700 and 1600 BC. When the Mycenaeans invaded there were various non-Greek-speaking, autochthonous people known as the Pelasgians (Πελασγοί, Pelasgoí), who practiced agriculture and eventually were completely Hellenized by the 5th century BC. However, according to classical Greek writers, the Pelasgians were, themselves, Hellenes (Greeks), and the direct ancestors of later Greek tribes. Herodotus deems the Hellenes a branch of the Pelasgians. That the autochthonous nature of the Athenians—an ancient belief to which Herodotus, Isocrates, Plutarch, and others attest—implies they are descended from the autochthonous Pelasgians. The Athenians deemed themselves "true Hellenes" due to their well-developed society.
The English name Greece and the similar adaptations in other languages derive from the Latin name Græcia, literally meaning 'the land of the Greeks', which was used by the Romans to denote the area of modern-day Greece. Similarly, the Latin name of the Greek people was Græci, from which the English name Greeks originates. These names trace their origin from the Greek name Γραικοί, Graikoí, a name originally given to an individual tribe from Bœotia. While the Romans called the country Græcia and its people Græci, the Greeks called their land Ἑλλάς, Hellas and themselves Ἕλληνες, Hellēnes. Modern Greeks still continue to call themselves Hellenes and call their country Hellas.
Little is known about the first Greek civilizations beyond the great classical mythological poems and plays. But archaeological findings have established beyond doubt that the great kingdoms that figured in the classic myths did exist. The most powerful of these were Mycene and Sparta, the two leading powers of the Achaean League. James Ussher mentions specifically the kingdom of Argos and the destruction of Troy by the Achaean League in 1184 BC.
The Olympiad Era
The Olympic Games
The Olympiads, or Olympic Games, were held every four years begining in 776 BC and lasting until 393 AD. All free Greek men were eligible to participate in these Games. The first Olympic event was the stade (a 200-yard dash), and for the first thirteen Olympiads this was the only event allowed. The dialos (400-yard run) and dolichos (cross-country run averaging 20 stadia or about two and one-third miles) began in the 14th and 15th Olympiads, respectively.
No such thing as the Greek nation-state existed before the conquest and unification of Greece by King Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. Greece existed as a collection of independent city-states, each with its own king (except for Athens, which had the first true democracy).
The Persians, especially under Kings Darius I and his son Xerxes I, invaded Greece repeatedly between 544 BC and 479 BC. The most notable battles in those wars were the Battles of Marathon (490 BC) and Thermopylae (486 BC). In that last battle King Leonidas of Sparta attempted to hold the Thermopylae pass with his personal bodyguard of 300 men, after the Spartan assembly would not send a larger force during a religious festival. In the final battle, Leonidas and his men were annihilated, but not before Leonidas had sent this message back to his people:
|“||Go tell the Spartans, stranger that passes by, that we lie here, obedient to their word.||”|
According to legend, that last message inspired the rest of Greece to rally. The Athenian navy ultimately destroyed the Persian navy in the Battle of Salamis.
Peloponnesian Wars and beyond
Thereafter the Athenians built the first empire among the Greeks, until the Spartans and their allies in the Peloponnesian Confederacy challenged them twice in the Peloponnesian Wars (460-446 BC and 431-404 BC). Thereafter Sparta reigned supreme, followed later by Thebes and then by the Sicilian city-state of Syracuse.
Philip and Alexander
The next king to attempt to unify all of Greece was Philip II of Macedonia (382-r. 359-336 BC). Immediately after becoming king, he secured his northern flank and conquered Amphipolis, thus securing a source of silver and gold with which to raise, train, equip, and pay a vast army. When he had reigned three years, he had his son and eventual successor, Alexander the Great (356-r. 336-321 BC). In 337 BC, Philip was made supreme commander of the armed forces of all the Greek city-states. Thus Greece ceased to be a confederation of independent city-states and now became a true nation-state.
A disgruntled officer murdered Philip one year later. Alexander, who by then had won the respect of the army, seized the throne and silenced his opposition. He then fulfilled his father's dream of a war against the Persian Empire.The history of Greco-Israelite relations begins with Alexander marching toward Jerusalem in 332 BC. At first the high priest of Jerusalem had refused to treat with Alexander, saying that he owed a debt of honor to the king of Persia (Darius III). But when Alexander began his march, he was pleased to see the priests of Jerusalem, all dressed in white, walk out to meet him unarmed. Ussher reports that Alexander had had a dream of a white-clad man telling him that he would eventually conquer all of Persia. Alexander met the priests and actually paid the proper respect to God. The high priest, in turn, showed Alexander the text in the Book of Daniel predicting that:
"Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases." - Daniel 11:2-3
Alexander accepted the priests' interpretation of that prophecy as referring to himself, and also accepted the surrender of Jerusalem. He granted to the Jews the right to continue to observe their own laws, and exempted them from tribute on their Sabbath years. When in 331 BC he built a city (Alexandria) at the mouth of the Nile in Egypt, he moved a colony of Jews to that city. These Jews became the first of the "Hellenized Jews" mentioned by Saint Luke in the Book of Acts.
Alexander conquered Persia within another year, and then attempted to conquer India, but did not succeed. Eventually in 324 BC he retired to Babylon, where he lived a life of luxury and frequent drunkenness and eventually died, either of poison or of complications of alcoholism.
An Empire Divided and Conquered
After the death of Alexander, the empire that he built split itself into five parts: Greece and Macedon, Thrace, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), Egypt under the Ptolemies and Cleopatras, and Syria under the Seleucid dynasty. All five parts would eventually come under Roman domination. Greece proper, Macedonia and Thrace would be first. Pompey the Great would eventually conquer Asia Minor, Syria and the Holy Land, and Augustus would conquer Egypt in the last of Rome's Civil Wars.
Rome and Byzantium
Greece existed as a group of Roman provinces. But Greek culture, language, literature, and art flourished under Roman rule, as Rome imported these cultural elements and spread them to all Roman-controlled lands. Eventually the Roman Empire existed as two distinct regions, the eastern half speaking primarily Greek and the Western half speaking primarily Latin.
When Constantine I became Prince of the Senate of Rome, he moved the seat of Roman government to the ancient city-state of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. From then on, the Roman Empire, of which Greece had now been a part for about five hundred years, was at least nominally Christian.
The Byzantine Era
In 393 AD, Emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympiad, deeming it part of Rome's pagan past that he wished to abolish.
In 474 AD, the city of Rome fell, and with it the Western half of the Roman Empire ceased to be. The eastern or Greek-speaking half continued until 1453. Modern historians refer to this period as the era of the Byzantine Empire.
In 632 AD an Arab general named Mohammed founded a new religion with which he hoped to unify the Arab tribes that were at constant war with one another. He called this religion Islam. His project to create a unified Arab army eventually succeeded, and Mohammed and his successors proceeded to conquer the Greek world, and the entire Middle East, in the name of this new religion. And so Greece came under the rule of the Baghdad Caliphate, the first powerful Muslim nation-state. Constantinople eventually became a city-state once again, and fell in 1453. But by then the Baghdad Caliphate was no more, and Constantinople's actual conquerors were the forces of the Ottoman Empire, consisting of modern Turkey and its dependencies and protectorates. Greece would remain under Ottoman rule for another 377 years before eventually regaining its independence.
Greece had no religion as such. Instead, the Greeks invented tales, or myths, that attempted to explain certain features of the world and of the sky, and the outcomes of ancient wars, as consequences of an ongoing drama involving various gods.
This drama begins with the history of the children of heaven (Ouranos or Uranus) and earth (Gaia). Chief among their children were the Titans:
|Kronos||Time; king of his generation of gods|
|Rhea||Wife of Kronos, who bore most of the twelve Olympians|
|Ocean||The ocean, which the Greeks saw as a vast river encircling the earth|
|Hyperion||Heavenly light, ordering of days and months in the year|
|Iapetus||Mortality and wounding|
|Coeus||Intelligence, axis of the heavens|
|Crius||Mastery, leadership, constellations|
|Tethys||Sister and wife of Ocean, mother of all rivers|
|Dione||Sister of Kronos, mother of Aphrodite by Zeus|
|Mnemosyne||Mother of the Muses by Zeus|
|Phoebe||Goddess of the Oracle of Delphi|
|Theia||Sight, heavenly light, shine of silver and gold|
|Themis||Natural law and order, mother of the Fates and the Seasons|
Kronos made a rebellion against Uranus and not only killed him but castrated him as well. As the blood of Uranus seeped into the earth it generated three women of terrible aspect, the Erinyes (Furies), who tormented or otherwise punished men for crime, unfilial conduct, or other sins.
Then Kronos, fearing his own eventual deposition, began swallowing his own children by Rhea. When Rhea bore Zeus, she hid him away on the island of Crete and substituted a stone in his place. Eventually Zeus caused Kronos to swallow an emetic drink that caused him to regurgitate all his children. These children started a war with the Titans in which they also had to fight against various other monstrous "sons of earth," including giants. Eventually the Olympians won.
The twelve great Olympians were:
|Zeus||the leader of the gods and god of the sky and thunder|
|Hera||goddess of marriage, the patriarchal bond of her own subordination|
|Poseidon||god of the sea (the Mediterranean or "Middle Sea")|
|Hades, alias Pluto||god of the underworld and of wealth|
|Aphrodite||goddess of love and beauty, daughter of Zeus and Dione.|
|Apollo||god of sun and music|
|Artemis||virgin moon goddess of the hunt, wild animals, healing, wilderness, chastity, and childbirth|
|Athena||goddess of wisdom, strategy|
|Ares||god of war|
|Hephaestus||god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals and metallurgy, and fire|
|Hermes||god of boundaries and of the travelers, shepherds and cowherds, of orators, literature, poets, athletics, weights, measures, invention, the cunning of thieves, the messenger from the gods to humans|
|Hestia||goddess of the hearth, watcher of the fire on Olympus|
In addition to these were the two great gods of earth: Demeter, goddess of the grain harvest, and Dionysus, god of the wine harvest. Demeter had a daughter, Persephone, goddess of the spring. She spent six months (the winter months) in the underworld and then returned to Mount Olympus to be with her mother. Dionysus was the son of Zeus by a woman of the Greek city-state of Thebes; he was torn to pieces every winter, possibly on Hera's orders, and regenerated in the spring.
The Greek religion had no real bases. It was a flexible practice, and had no true clergy nor any sacred text or moral code for people to follow. Each city-state has its own divinities, but as the cult of Zeus spread, Zeus assumed the identity of the municipal divinity. The result was that Zeus had an unsavory reputation for siring multiple children out of wedlock.
The Greeks worshiped oracles, lesser divinities, demigods, and heroes. They also believed in an afterlife. But with the single exception of the legendary hero Heracles (Hercules), no human could aspire to a life in heaven. Instead, he would be assigned at death either to Tartarus, a place of torment, or to Elysia, a place of satisfaction of every want. Each of these domains had a judge to rule it: Rhadamanthus over Tartarus and Minos over Elysia. These two men, sons of Zeus and an Argive princess named Europa, had been kings during their lifetimes, and their positions were rewards for their faithful and dignified rule over their respective kingdoms.
The torments of wicked men were actually more like frustration than true torture. To a Greek, the worst thing that could happen to a wicked man after death was to have what he most desired placed immediately out of his reach, or to be given a futile task. For example, Tantalus, who had his son murdered and served as the main course for a banquet for the gods, stood in a pool that dried up when he tried to drink from it, and over his head hung boughs of fruit that swung out of reach when he tried to pick a fruit. Sisyphus was assigned to roll a boulder up a hill, but he could roll the boulder only so close to the top before it would roll to the bottom. The Danaids, who had murdered their husbands on their wedding day, were assigned to draw water from a river in vessels riddled with holes.
In the last centuries before the coming of Rome, religion began to fade, and philosophy succeeded to it. Yet the old religion survived long enough for the Romans to adopt the classical Greek worship system and to give their own names to the various gods.
The people of ancient Greece tried to explain the world by using nature. They also made some important mathematical and scientific discoveries. These included geometry and the first theories of physics.
Athens is considered the "cradle of democracy." In that city, for the first time, men built the first democratic institutions, including a senior legislature, a custom of initiative and referendum, and an elected chief executive (the strategos or literally the general officer). The Athenians also reserved to their popular assembly the power of banishment, a power that they exercised through the use of ostrakons. From this practice derives the modern word ostracism.
Men ran the government or else worked the fields. They spent their days watching over the crops or livestock, sailing, hunting, manufacturing, or in trade. In their free time they would have drinking parties that the women were not allowed to attend, and they would attend athletic games.
Women had very limited freedom. They could see other female friends for short periods of time, and go to weddings, funerals, and religious festivals. The women were in charge of the house; their only concerns were the home and the children. They did not actually do the housework; they had male slaves who guarded the door and tutored the male children, and female slaves who cooked, cleaned, and worked the gardens.
Women were not allowed at public games, including the Olympiads. Athletic participants did not wear clothes, either in training or in the actual games—hence the modern word gymnasium, which originally was not only a place to train but also a place of nudity. But a woman could participate in chariot races if she owned a horse.
In ancient Greece one was considered a child until the age of thirty. When a child was born the household held a party. The father would do a ritual dance with the child, and friends and family would send gifts. To announce the child's gender to the community, the father would decorate his doorway with wreaths of olives for a boy and wreaths of wool for a girl.
The modern history of Greece begins in 1821 with its first organized revolt against the Ottoman Empire. That war ended in 1830 when Greece finally won its independence from Turkish rule. The first King of the Hellenes was King Otto (1833-1863). Otto was deposed in 1863, and King George I began to reign and established the ruling House of Glucksberg.
The monarchy held continuous sway until 1924, during which time the rulers of Greece tried to unite all the Greeks still within the Ottoman Empire into one unified Greek state. This ideal of enosis (from the modern Greek word enono I join together) has never died completely, but was never completely achieved. King George I began the project in 1864 with the re-acquisition of the Ionian islands. Before World War I, Greece had expanded to its present extent.
Greece participated in the First World War on the Allied side. After the war, the Greeks tried to acquire more lands from the Turks. But the Allied Powers moved to cut off Greek supply lines, and Mustapha Kemal (alias Ataturk), successor to the Ottoman Sultan, finally chased the Greeks out of Turkish lands in 1922.
Between 1924 and 1935 Greece was a republic. King George II re-established the monarchy in 1935.
On October 28, 1940 the Italians, under the leadership of Duce Benito Mussolini, invaded Greece. Thus Greece was drawn into the Second World War. Greek forces were able to expel the Italians but could not cope with the German invasion that followed in April of 1941. Greece remained an occupied country until October of 1944 when the Germans, already pressed in Europe after the Allied invasion of Normandy (France), withdrew their forces.
The Greek government-in-exile re-established itself in Athens, but the main resistance movement then tried to establish a Communist republic. Continued fighting led to civil war in 1946. Three years later, the Communists were defeated, after Yugoslavia declared its own independence from the Soviet Union and refused entry to Greek Communist insurgents.
Government in Greece was not entirely stable while the monarchy remained. On April 21, 1967, a military dictatorship seized power. The military continued in power until July 1974, when the military attempted to overthrow the government of Cyprus. This prompted the Turks to invade Cyprus and occupy nearly one-third of the island. Several senior officers withdrew their support from the military dictators, and they lost power completely. Finally, on December 8, 1974, the Greek people established a republic by popular referendum.
Modern Olympic Games
In 1890, Pierre de Coubertin, alias Pierre le Rénovateur, founded the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, in an effort to promote athletic training in his country. Coubertin believed that the French had lost the Franco-Prussian War because their soldiers had been ill-trained and lacked the sort of physical education that makes good soldiers. In 1892 he proposed a revival of the ancient Olympiads. His countrymen ignored him then, but two years later he made the same proposal before an organization representing nine countries. They agreed, and founded the modern International Olympic Committee.
The First Modern Olympiad was held in Athens in 1896. They have been held every four years since then, except in 1916 (during the First World War) and 1940 and 1944 (during the Second World War). Athens hosted an "unofficial" Olympiad in 1906 and would not host the games officially again until 2004.
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- Rosenberg, Jennifer. "A History of the Olympics." <http://history1990s.about.com/>, n.d. Accessed August 29, 2008.
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