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Capital Athens
Other main cities Thessaloníki, Piraeus,Patras
Area (km2) 131,990
Population 10,522,000
Currency Euro
History of Greece
Greece is formed of the Baltic Peninsula and the Greek Islands, usually divided into the Aegian and the Ionian. These islands represent about one fifth of Greece.

Greece is known as the birthplace of modern western civilisation. Classical Greece emerged from the Dorian 'Dark Ages' in around 750 BC, and these City States were known for their devotion to philosophy, politics and the arts.

Defeat by Alexander the Great and descent to the status of a Roman province followed. They were subsequently overrun by the crusaders and the Turks until independence in 1827. Greece was the first country to gain independence from the Ottoman Empire.

In the late 19th and early 20th Century economic crisis forced a mass exodus of over 10 percent of the population. In the 40 years from 1880 to 1920, Greece gained territory from the Ottomans and from Britain and effectively tripled in size. After the First World War the monarchy fell as a result of an unsuccessful campaign against Turkey and a republic was declared in 1923.

After occupation in World War Two there was a long running battle against Communist guerrillas followed by the dominance of a military Junta from 1967 to 1973. After a military uprising, a popular referendum in 1974 established a democracy and deposed the Greek monarchy. Greece became the 10th member of the European Union in 1981.

Since the Second World War the speed of social and economic change in Greece has increased. Shipping is a major Greek industry and tourism makes an increasing contribution to the economy.

Modern Greek still uses the same alphabet as it's ancient counterpart, and during the 1800's academics attempted to bring the spoken language closer to its Ancient Greek form resulting in the highly formalised Katharevousa.

The traditionally spoken version of Greek is called Demotike and it was this form that became the national language in 1976.

The significant Turkish minority in Greece still uses its own language and a number of other ethnic minority languages are spoken including Slavic-Macedonian and Albanian.

Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Greek History
Greek Speaking
» Greece
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