History ITHAKI (Island) IONIAN ISLANDS - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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History (3)

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4000 BC Neolithic settlements on the island
1174 BC Ulysses’ arrival
1000 - 180 BC Dorian-Corinthian occupation
180 BC - 394 BC Roman occupation
394 - 1185 Byzantine period
1185 Normans occupy the island
1500 - 1797 Venetian occupation
1797 - 1798 French occupation
1809 - 1864 British "protection" period
21-5-1864 Eptanissa become part of the Greek State.
1953 Destructive earthquakes hit Ithaki

PREHISTORY-ULYSSES
  Homer’s epics, the Odyssey in particular is believed to have been written in 1174 BC. In that year Ulysses arrived in Ithaki after his ten-year roaming. The exact spots mentioned in the Odyssey, where Ulysses went, such as the Nymphs’ Cave and Evmeos cave, can still be seen on the island. Ulysses, returning to Ithaki, reigned until his death and he was succeeded by his son, Telemachus.
ANTIQUITY
  Ithaki was conquered by the Dorians fro 1000 BC to 800 BC. Then it was ruled by the Corinthians until 180 BC when the Romans seized the island.
  During antiquity, Ithaki was in a state of decadence despite the organised settlements.
ROMAN PERIOD
  The Romans stayed on the island until 394 AD. Life did not change much for the local people. Most inhabitants remained in the northern part, which was the most fertile area.
  In 394 AD Ithaki together with Cephalonia became part of the Byzantine Empire. During that period Christianity was introduced and many churches and monasteries were built.
FRANKISH OCCUPATION
  In 1185 the island was conquered by the Normans. Firstly the Orsini family (1204) and later the Tokki family (1357) became Ithaki’s rulers. The island starts flourishing but the prosperity period was interrupted in 1476 when the Turks arrived looting the land and massacring the people. The Turks ruled the island until 1504 when it was sold to the Venetians.
VENETIAN OCCUPATION
  The Venetian occupation lasted until 1797. The settlements in Anogi, Exogi and Paleohora grew bigger and Vathi became the island’s capital. Ithaki’s life and economy flourished once more and the inhabitants’ occupations included agriculture and shipping. The disruption of Venice in 1797 brought the French on the island. For a short period Ithaki was ruled by the Russians and the Turks. Later the French re-conquered the island and in 1809 the British occupation begins.
BRITISH OCCUPATION
  During British Occupation the independent "State of the Seven United Islands" was founded and it was ruled by the Ionian Parliament where Ithaki was represented by one member. The island’s economy was booming, the interest in Homer’s epics was great and social life was full of cultural events. The radical tide together with the international political conditions led to the union of Eptanissa with Greece on 21st May 1864.
RECENT YEARS
  Despite being under British rule, Ithaki contributed to the Greek Revolution. A community of people from Ithaki was founded and developed in Rumania. In the 20th century new streets, buildings and an electricity power station built in Vathi in 1923 together with the development of the island’s economy, cultural and social life give to Ithaki the character of a modern island. In 1953 earthquakes hit the island and many of the old settlements ceased to exist. The state and many immigrants helped to rebuild most of the buildings.
This text (extract) is cited January 2004 from the Assoc. of Local Authorities of Kefalonia & Ithaca tourist pamphlet.

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