Greece History

Greece History

Pre and early history

Today’s Greek territory has been populated since the Paleolithic Age; around 3500 to 2800 BC there was the Neolithic Sesklo culture of Thessaly, an early farming culture with cattle breeding and grain farming, from which mainly colorfully painted ceramics have survived. From 2800 BC the Dimini culture penetrated from the north, who was already familiar with the use of copper and gold. The first city-like fortifications date from this period. With the beginning of the Bronze Age developed in the 3rd and in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. the Aegean culture (Cyclades culture) on the Aegean islands.

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On the island of Crete from 2500 BC. by the Minoans the first European high culture. The Minoans built the famous palaces of Knossos and Phaistos. The Greek mainland was founded around 2000 BC. settled by Indo-European tribes (Achaeans) who came from the northeast. From 1600 BC Mycenaean culture developed here, along with other empires, named after its center Mycenae. Around 1400 BC the decline of the Mycenaean empire began, Mycenae itself became around 1200 BC. destroyed. Doric tribes immigrated from the north and drove the local population southwards (Ionian migration, 11th to 8th centuries BC). These populated the Aegean islands and the coasts of Asia Minor. During this time the Trojan War described by Homer could have taken placeas a conflict between invading Ionians and Aeolians and the Trojan people.

Archaic period

The first four centuries of this era, from the 12th century BC. until the beginning of the Persian Wars (500 BC), there were clear signs of decline (“Dark Age”).

Under pressure from immigrants, a first wave of Greek colonizers reached the Aegean islands and the opposite coast of Asia Minor. Numerous important cities emerged, including Miletus, Ephesus and Troy (before 1000 BC). In the 10th and 9th centuries, the Greeks adopted the Phoenician script (“Phoinikeiä”) with the addition of vowels. The writing was distributed by colonists and traders throughout the Mediterranean. The colonization plant reached around 750 to around 550 BC. culminated and then concluded with the development of the coasts of lower Italy, Sicily and Spain.

From around 800 BC The history of Greece was determined for the next centuries by the city-states (polis). According to AbbreviationFinder, they are known to have a strict hierarchical social order. The power of the kings was taken over by the nobility (oligarchy), whose rights were extended to the non-noble wealthy (timocracy, constitution of Solon 594/593 BC).

Classic Greece

The reforms of Kleisthenes (508/507 BC) paved the way for Athenian democracy, in which all free people had the same rights for the first time. While a similar development took place in other city-states, the empire of Sparta in the Peloponnese was an exception. His focus was on the training and effectiveness of an army. Sparta dominated all of southern Greece at the head of the Peloponnesian Confederation (550 BC). Inside there was a clearly defined society, from the leading Spartiats (adult male full citizens) to the Periöken (free without rights) to the helots, a kind of slaves. While the city-states remained largely independent of one another, they formed from 776 BC. regularly held Olympic Games an overarching event.

The Greek city-states closed against the threat of the Persians in 481 BC. led by Athens and Sparta to form the Hellenic League. After the Persian defeat in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC. and in Platea (479 BC) they had to give up the coastal areas in Asia Minor. The emerging conflict over domination in Greece between Athens and Sparta led to the Peloponnesian War (431 to 404 BC), which Sparta won with the support of Persia (404 BC, entry of the Spartan general Lysander in Athens). In the Corinthian War, Sparta was subject to an alliance between Athens, Thebes, Argos and Corinth (387 BC). The continually flaring conflicts between the individual powers helped the Macedonian kingdom under King Phillipp II to rise. 338 BCMacedonia defeated the Greek allies at the Battle of Chaironeia.

The son of Phillipp II, Alexander the Great, brought about the annihilation of the Persian Empire (battles at Issos 334 BC and Gaugamela 331 BC). In addition to Greece, the empire of Alexander the Great also included Egypt, the Middle East, Asia Minor and Northern India. This empire, in which the Greek language and the Hellenic culture dominated, existed until Alexander’s death in 323 BC. Alexander’s successors (diadoches) founded the empires three Macedonia – to which most of today’s Greece belonged – the Ptolemaic Egypt and the Seleucid Empire.

Roman and Byzantine Empire

The since the 2nd century BC. existing conflict with the Romans ended with the subjugation of the Macedonian empire, all of Greece became 27 BC. declared Roman province of Achaia. During Roman rule, Greek culture was preserved and spread to the leadership of the occupiers, some of whom adopted the Greek language. The Roman emperor Constantine the Great relocated in the 4th century AD. the imperial capital from Rome to Constantinople. After the division of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire developed from the Eastern Roman Empire, the emperors (basileios) of whom maintained Roman-Greek traditions. Christianity became the state religion. In the centuries that followed, the Byzantine Empire had to fight invading Arabs, Slavs, Bulgarians, Defend Normans and Venetians and was restricted to the areas of today’s Greece and Asia Minor. In the 11th century, Asia Minor fell into the hands of the Seljuks, and in 1331 the Ottomans took control. Their attacks on the Balkan Peninsula ended with the submission of Greece in the middle of the 15th century. Under the rule of the Turks, many Greeks managed to find a place in the upper class, while farmers and artisans in particular often retreated to more remote areas and founded self-governing villages there. In this way, the Greek language and culture and the Orthodox faith could be preserved for centuries. Attempts to shake off Ottoman rule failed repeatedly (e.g. during the Russian-Turkish war in 1769/70).while farmers and artisans in particular often retreated to more remote areas and founded self-governing villages there. In this way, the Greek language and culture and the Orthodox faith could be preserved for centuries. Attempts to shake off Ottoman rule failed repeatedly (eg during the Russian-Turkish war in 1769/70).

19th century

Under the influence of the ideas of the French Revolution, national-minded secret societies formed in Greece in the first half of the 19th century, which were carried by Greek merchants and supported by the Greek Orthodox Church. The national movement in Greece also received a lot of support abroad (philhellenic movement). In March 1821, after the Archbishop of Patras called to fight the Turks, an eight-year struggle for freedom began. In 1822 the Greek National Congress proclaimed the independence of the Hellenic people, but it was not until the intervention of Great Britain, Russia and France that led to the sinking of the Ottoman fleet in the Navalino naval battle (1827) brought about a decisive change.The independence of Greece as the hereditary kingdom was laid down in the London Protocol in 1830. Prince Otto, proposed by the helpful powers, ascended the Greek throne as King Otto I in 1833. His acceptance by the population was only slight, especially since he abolished parliament and ruled autocratically. He moved the capital of Greece from N¨¢vplion (in the Peloponnese) to Athens. After persistent unrest and a military revolt, Otto I had to forego the crown in 1862; his successor was the Danish Prince Wilhelm as King George I. In the 1864 constitution, he introduced the parliamentary monarchy in Greece. Through further wars between the European powers and the Ottoman Empire, Greece,whose territory up to this point essentially comprised only the Peloponnese, extended to the Ionian Islands, Thessaly, large parts of central Greece and Crete. The first modern Olympic Games were opened in Athens at the end of the 19th century (April 1896).

20th century

In the First World War, regent Constantine I initially managed to keep Greece from the conflict. The Greek Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos, however, allowed the British and French to set up military bases on Greek soil. The war against Turkey triggered by Greek nationalists, in which these wanted to conquer parts of Asia Minor, ended in 1922 with the defeat of Greece. Around one and a half million Greek refugees had to leave Asia Minor. The following two decades were marked by conflicts between monarchists and the supporters of a republic; the monarchy was neither accepted, nor did the republic prove to be viable. General Ionannis Metaxas, founded by King George II. Had been appointed head of government and foreign minister, a dictatorial regime.

During the Second World War, Greece, allied with Great Britain, was occupied by German and Italian troops in 1941. A Greek government in exile formed in London, while Greek resistance movements emerged in the country, some of which were nationalist (EDES), some communist (EAM / ELAS). After the end of World War II, a civil war broke out between royalists and communists, which was decided in favor of the monarchy in 1949 with the help of British and American troops. Three years earlier, the Greek population had voted by a large majority to maintain the monarchy.

Greece followed a course of Western integration (from 1952 NATO member, 1962 associated EEC member; EU accession in 1981). In 1952 the country received a new constitution in which a constitutional monarchy was laid down. Legislation lay with the king and parliament, the government, which in turn was responsible for parliament.

A domestic political crisis in the mid-1960s led to a military coup led by Georgios Papadopoulos. In 1973 the king was officially deposed, the military leadership declared Greece to be the presidential republic with Georgios Papadopoulos as the first prime minister.

In 1974, a civilian government led by Konstantinos Karamanlis took over political power in Greece. His pro-western, conservative New Democracy party (Nea Demokratia, ND) won the majority of votes in the first free elections in seven years. In December of the same year, the Greek population spoke out in favor of maintaining the Republic as a form of government. Due to the Cyprus conflict, Greece left NATO (re-entry in 1980). In the 80s and 90s there were repeated tensions between Greece and Turkey, triggered not only by the island of Cyprus, but also by the exploitation of oil deposits in the Aegean Sea. The civil was in the former Yugoslavia caused further conflict in the 90s.A dispute over the naming was fought with the newly created Macedonian state in the north of Greece (Greece’s northern province is also called Macedonia). In 1981 the socialist Andreas Papandreou (from the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK) became the new Greek head of government. He remained a defining figure in the political landscape of Greece until his death in 1996.His successor as head of government was Kostas Simitis from PASOK. He was replaced in March 2004 by the ND chairman Kostas Karamanlis, thus ending the political dominance of PASOK for the time being, but – even after the 2007 elections – it remains the strongest opposition party.

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The new millennium

Since the beginning of the new millennium, there has been a rapprochement between the Greek and Turkish governments: in January 2000 Georgios Papandreou became the first Greek foreign minister to visit Turkey in almost 40 years and concluded an agreement with the Turkish government in the areas of tourism, the environment and combating of terrorism and protecting investments. During a return visit a month later, the foreign ministers of both countries spoke of a new era in Greek-Turkish relations. Several bilateral agreements followed. This policy of rapprochement was accompanied by a strong upswing in trade. The first Turkish-Greek gas pipeline was inaugurated at the end of 2007. Greece was admitted to the euro zone in 2000. In 2004 the games of the XXVIII.Olympiad hero in Athens.

In August 2007, devastating forest fires destroyed an area the size of Luxembourg (around 269,000 hectares). More than 120 villages were destroyed or badly damaged. The total number of victims is estimated at around 100,000; 67 people died. Regions in the Peloponnese, on the island of Evia and in Attica were affected. Demonstrators charged the government with the fact that land speculators were able to fire freely. – After a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by a police officer, street fighting and serious riots by autonomous people occurred in Athens and other cities in early December 2008.

After the 2009 elections, a government was formed under Giorgos Andrea Papandreou (PASOK), which aimed among other things at comprehensive state reforms. However, she soon had to deal with a massive debt crisis. In the spring of 2010, the government announced a drastic stabilization program (including tax increases and more effective tax collection, pension reform, cuts in bloated civil service, health care rehabilitation, privatization of state-owned companies, and far-reaching territorial reform). A bridging loan granted by the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF); in return, further reforms were subsequently agreed.

After it became clear in autumn 2011 that Greek finances would not recover as soon as planned, the Euro Summit in Brussels decided to expand and accelerate the implementation of the European stability mechanism. Without consultation with its European partners, Papandreou announced a referendum back in Greece. International and domestic protests forced Papandreou to resign. A transitional government followed.

After renewed elections in June 2012 (government formation failed in May), NEA DIMOKRATIA, PASOK and DIMAR (the latter until 2013) formed a coalition government under ND chairman Antonis Samaras. In December 2012, the Greek government agreed with the “Troika” a third memorandum on aid loans. The goal is to restore the country’s debt sustainability by 2020. By contrast, all opposition parties are calling for an end to the austerity policy.

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