History of Greece
The first traces of human habitation in Greece appeared during the Paleolithic Age.
At the beginning of the 2nd Millennium B.C., organized palatial societies appeared on Minoan Crete.
The Minoans, with Knossos Palace as their epicenter, developed a communications network with races from the Eastern Mediterranean region.
On Mainland Greece, the Mycenean Greeks – taking advantage of the destruction caused on Crete by the volcanic eruption on Santorini (around 1500 B.C.) – became the dominant force in the Aegean during the last centuries of the 2nd Millennium B.C.
The extensive destruction of the Mycenean centers around 1200 B.C. led to the decline of the Mycenean civilization and caused the population to migrate to the coastal regions of Asia Minor and Cyprus.
The Archaic Years that subsequently followed (7th – 6th Century B.C.) were a period of major social and political changes.
The Greek City-States established colonies as far as Spain to the west, the Black Sea to the north and N. Africa to the south.
The Classical Years (5th – 4th Century B.C.) were characterized by the cultural and political dominance of Athens. Τhe second half of the 5th Century B.C. was called the “Golden Age” of Pericles.
New forces emerged during the 4th Century B.C. The Macedonians, with Philip II and his son Alexander the Great. Alexander’s campaign to the East and the conquest of all the regions as far as the Indus River radically changed the situation in the world..
After the death of Alexander, the vast empire he had created was then divided among his generals.
In 324 A.D. the Roman Empire split into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to as Byzantium. The first emperor of Byzantium was Constantine the Great, who established the capital of the empire at Constantinople (today Istanbul).
The Byzantine Empire was a Greek-speaking empire that included Greece, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Egypt and parts of Italy and the Middle East. In 1204, when Constantinople was attacked by the crusaders, parts of Greece were lost to western powers and the Venetians gained strategic footholds in the Aegean.
The appearance of the Romans on the scene and the final conquest of Greece in 146 B.C. forced the country to join the vast Roman Empire.
Christianity, the new religion spread all over Greece through the travels of Apostle Paul during the 1st Century A.D.
The decision by Constantine the Great to move the capital of the empire from Rome to Constantinople (324 A.D.), shifted the focus of attention to the eastern part of the empire. This shift marked the beginning of the Byzantine Years, during which Greece became part of the Byzantine Empire.
After 1204, when Constantinople was taken by Western crusaders, parts of Greece was apportioned out to western leaders, while the Venetians occupied strategic positions in the Aegean.
The Ottomans gradually began to seize parts of the empire from the 14th Century A.D., and completed the break up of the empire with the capture of Constantinople in 1453. The Greek War of Independence in 1821 gave the country an end to the rule, after four centuries of Ottoman domination.
The result of the Greek War of Independencewas the creation of an independent Greek Kingdom in 1830.
In 1974, after the seven-year dictatorship period a referendum was held and the government changed from a Constitutional Monarchy to a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy.
In 1981 Greece became a member of the European Union.