The Municipality of Corfu (First Class) was established on January
6th 1866 but the history of local government in Corfu goes back many years. There
was representation of the class of the Nobles in the Angevin (Anjou) period (14th
century). This representation of the class of the Nobles (Corpo dei Nobili) was
legislated and further organized during the Venetian rule. It was named 'Council
of Corfu' and its members were selected from the most prominent Greek and Italian
families. The Council's opinion on matters of local government was never disputed
from the Venetian authorities until the end of Venetian rule. On the arrival of
the Republican French on the island (1797), the local government in Corfu takes
the form of transition government in which all the ranks participated. A provisional
municipality was established, consisted of 48 members, bourgeois, craftsmen, and,
for the first time, peasants. The presidency was given to the leader of the Democratic
Party, Count Spyridon George Theotokis. One of the first things to do was to burn
the book-emblem of the Nobles (Libro d' Oro) and to plant the Tree of Liberty
in the Esplanade Square (Kato platia).
After the deliverance of the Seven
Islands to the Russian and Turkish allied fleet (1799), Admiral Usakof established
a local government in every island in which all the ranks were represented, nobles,
bourgeois (merchants and craftsmen) and even the peasants in some cases. The Senate
was established in Corfu with participants from all seven islands and she had
the supreme supervision of the local governments (named the 'petit councils').
A little later and according to the Constitution of 1800, that was named 'Byzantine',
the first Greek independent state, after Byzantium, was established and the local
government takes the responsibilities of a full administration (Gerousia) with
Count Spyridon George Theotokis as president.
During the British occupation the island of Corfu becomes the seat
of the High Commissioner, the seat of the Government and of the legislative, judicial
and administrative authorities. The Provincial (Eparchiako) Council administered
the local government and carried on working even after the Union with Greece until
1866. The Provincial Council decided on 1st June 1864 to offer the use of land
and the use of the Summer Palace, on the suburb Agios Panteleimon (later called
Mon Repos), to the newly arrived King George I of Greece, in order to be used
for the summer-holiday needs of the members of the royal family.
In 1866 the Municipality of Corfu was established, which included
the city of Corfu and the suburbs Saroco, Garitsa, Anemomilos,
Stratia, Figareto, Mandouki and the islands Vido and Lazareto.
The most important event of this period was the demolition in 1893 of Porta Reala,
one of the most important monuments of European cultural Heritage. The attempts
of the Prefectorial authorities and of many journalists in the Greek and European
press, couldn't persuade the Municipal Council to recall its decision and a little
after the carnival of 1893, Porta Reala was demolished, sacrificed to the political
In 1912 according to the Law "For the introduction of Municipalities
and Communities" the municipalities on the island cease to exist except that of
Corfu City. The Municipality of Corfu incorporates the biggest part of the Potamogitonon
Municipality, namely the suburb of Potamos
and the communities of Kyra Chrisikou,
and Gouvia. During the Italian
fascist occupation the lawful Mayor Spyridon Kollas was violently removed and
replaced successively by several ordered Mayors.
After the Second World War, in 1952, another important even occurred.
Again the target was the cultural heritage of Corfu. In 31st March 1952 the Mayor
of Corfu Stamatios Desyllas and the Municipal Council took unanimously the decision
to demolish the Municipal Theatre of Corfu, already bombed by the Nazi Germans
in 1943. The Municipal Theatre was demolished, despite the recommendations to
the contrary from many learned Corfiots.
The Colonel Regime replaced in 1967 the lawful Mayor Spyridon Rath
and until 1974 the local government was exerted by ordered for that purpose councils.
After the restoration of Democracy a new smooth political life was
established which caries on until today. Since 1997 in the scope of the reformation
of the local government and according to 'Kapodistrias' plan (Act 2539/4-12-1997),
the communities of Alepou,
Kanalia and Evropouli
were incorporated in the Municipality of Corfu.
This text is cited May 2003 from the Municipality of Kerkyra URL below, which contains images.