Infobox Country
native_name = Ελληνική Δημοκρατία
"Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía"
conventional_long_name = Hellenic Republic
common_name = Greece

symbol_type = Coat of arms
image_coat_caption = Coat of arms

map_caption = map_caption |location_color=dark green |region=Europe |region_color=dark grey |subregion=the European Union |subregion_color=light green |

national_motto = Ελευθερία ή θάνατος "Eleftheria i thanatos"spaces|2(transliteration) "Freedom or Death"
national_anthem = polytonic|Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν
"Ýmnos eis tīn Eleutherían" Hymn to Libertysmallsup|1
official_languages = Greek
ethnic_groups =
demonym = Greek
capital = Athens
latd=38 |latm=00 |latNS=N |longd=23 |longm=43 |longEW=E
largest_city = Athens
government_type = Parliamentary republic
leader_title1 = President
leader_name1 = Karolos Papoulias
leader_title2 = Prime Minister
leader_name2 = Kostas Karamanlis
leader_title3 = Speaker
leader_name3 = Dimitris Sioufas
sovereignty_type = Modern statehood
established_event1 = Independence from the Ottoman Empire
established_date1 =
25 March 1821
established_event2 = Recognized
established_date2 = 3 February 1830, in the London Protocol
established_event3 = Current constitution
established_date3 = 1975, "Third Republic"
accessionEUdate = 1 January 1981
EUseats = 24
area_rank = 96th
area_magnitude = 1 E11
area_km2 = 131,990
area_sq_mi = 50,944
percent_water = 0.8669
population_estimate = 11,216,708 [,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&screen=detailref&language=en&product=Yearlies_new_population&root=Yearlies_new_population/C/C1/C11/caa10000 Eurostat] ]
population_estimate_rank = 74th
population_estimate_year = 2008
population_census = 10,964,020National Statistical Service of Greece: Population census of 18 March 2001: [ "Πίνακας 1. Πληθυσμός κατά φύλο και ηλικία"] ]
population_census_year = 2001
population_density_km2 = 84
population_density_sq_mi = 218
population_density_rank = 88th
GDP_PPP = $324.891 billioncite web|url=|title=Report for Selected Countries and Subjects ]
GDP_PPP_rank = 33rd
GDP_PPP_year = 2007 IMF
GDP_PPP_per_capita = $29,146
GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 28th
GDP_nominal = $313.806 billion
GDP_nominal_rank = 27th
GDP_nominal_year = 2007 IMF
GDP_nominal_per_capita = $28,152
GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 27th
HDI = increase 0.926
HDI_rank = 24th
HDI_year = 2005
HDI_category = high
Gini = 34.32
Gini_year = 2000
Gini_rank = 35th
Gini_category = low
currency = Euro ()3
currency_code = EUR
country_code =
time_zone = EET
utc_offset = +2
time_zone_DST = EEST
utc_offset_DST = +3
cctld = .gr4
calling_code = 30
footnote1 = Also the national anthem of Cyprus.
footnote2 = UNDP Human Development Report 2007/08.
footnote3 = Before 2001, the Greek drachma.
footnote4 = The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states.

Greece Audio-IPA|en-us-Greece.ogg| [ɡɹiːs] ( _el. Ελλάδα, transliterated: "Elláda" Audio-IPA-nohelp|Ellada.ogg| [e̞ˈlaða] , historically polytonic|Ἑλλάς, "Ellás", IPA-all|e̞ˈlas), officially the Hellenic Republic (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία, "Ellīnikī́ Dīmokratía", IPA| [e̞liniˈkʲi ðimo̞kɾaˈtia] ), [cite web |url= | |work=CIA |date=2007-03-15 |accessdate=2007-04-07 |title=World Factbook - Greece: Government] is a country in southeastern Europe, situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. It has borders with Albania, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east and south of mainland Greece, while the Ionian Sea lies to the west. Both parts of the Eastern Mediterranean basin feature a vast number of islands.

Greece lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is heir to the heritages of ancient Greece, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, [Sir Steven Runciman, Conclusion, "The Fall of Constantinople"] and nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule. [ [ "Greece."] Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 6 Sept. 2006] Greece is the birthplace of democracy, [Finley, M. I. Democracy Ancient and Modern. 2d ed., 1985. London: Hogarth.] Western philosophy, [ History of Philosophy, Volume 1 by Frederick Copleston] the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama [Brockett, Oscar G. History of the Theatre. sixth ed., 1991. Boston; London: Allyn and Bacon.] including both tragedy and comedy.

Greece is a developed country, a member of the European Union since 1981, [cite web |url= | |work=European Union |accessdate=2007-04-07 |title=Member States of the EU: Greece] a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union since 2001, NATO since 1952, [On the 14 August 1974 Greek forces withdrew from the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980.] the OECD since 1961, [cite web |url=,2340,en_2649_201185_1915847_1_1_1_1,00.html | |work=Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development |title=Convention on the OECD |accessdate=2007-04-07] the WEU since 1995 and ESA since 2005.cite web |url= |title=Greece becomes 16th ESA Member State | |work=European Space Agency |date=2005-03-22 |accessdate=2007-04-07] Athens is the capital; Thessaloniki, Patras, Heraklion, Volos, Ioannina, Larissa and Kavala are some of the country's other major cities.


The shores of the Aegean sea saw the emergence of the first advanced civilizations in Europe, the Minoan civilization in Crete and the Mycenean civilization on the mainland. Later, city-states emerged across the Greek peninsula and spread to the shores of Black Sea, South Italy and Asia Minor reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy, and nurtured in Athens under a democratic environment. Athens and Sparta led the way in repelling the Persian Empire in a series of battles. Both were later overshadowed by Thebes and eventually Macedon, with the latter under the guidance of Alexander the Great uniting and leading the Greek world to victory over the Persians, to presage the Hellenistic era, itself brought only partially to a close two centuries later with the establishment of Roman rule over Greek lands in 146 BC.

The subsequent mixture of Roman and Hellenic cultures took form in the establishment of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD around Constantinople, which remained a major cultural and military power for the next 1,123 years, until its fall at the hands of Ottomans in 1453. On the eve of the Ottoman era the Greek intelligentsia migrated to Western Europe, playing a significant role in the Western European Renaissance through the transferring of works of Ancient Greeks to Western Europe. [ [ Millennium issue: Trouble with Turkey The fall of Constantinople ] ] Nevertheless, the Ottoman millet system contributed to the cohesion of the Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the Ottoman Empire based on religion, as the latter played an integral role in the formation of modern Greek identity.

After the Greek War of Independence, successfully fought against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 to 1829, the nascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol. In 1827, Ioannis Kapodistrias, a noble Greek from the Ionian Islands, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic. However, following his assassination, the Great Powers soon installed a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843, an uprising forced the King to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule, he was eventually dethroned in 1863 and replaced by Prince Vilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877, Charilaos Trikoupis, a dominant figure of the Greek political scene who is attributed with the significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.

As a result of the Balkan Wars, Greece successfully increased the extent of her territory and population, a challenging context both socially and economically. In the following years, the struggle between King Constantine I and charismatic prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos over the country's foreign policy on the eve of World War I dominated the country's political scene, and divided the country into two bitterly hostile factions.

In the aftermath of WW I, Greece fought against Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, a war which resulted in a massive population exchange between the two countries under the Treaty of Lausanne. Instability and successive coups d'etat marked the following era, which was overshadowed by the massive task of incorporating 1.5 million Greek refugees from Asia Minor into Greek society. On 28 October 1940 Fascist Italy demanded the surrender of Greece, but Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas refused and in the following Greco-Italian War, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania, giving the Allies their first victory over Axis forces on land. The country would eventually fall to urgently dispatched German forces during the Battle of Greece. The German occupiers nevertheless met serious challenges from the Greek Resistance.

After liberation, Greece experienced a bitter civil war between Royalist and Communist forces, which led to economic devastation and severe social tensions between its Rightists and largely Communist Leftists for the next 30 years. [Mazower, Mark. "After the War was Over"] The next 20 years were characterized by marginalisation of the left in the political and social spheres but also by a significant economic growth, propelled in part by the Marshall Plan.

In 1965, a period of political turbulence led to a coup d’etat on 21 April 1967 by the US-backed Regime of the Colonels. On November 1973 the Athens Polytechnic Uprising sent shock waves across the regime, and a counter-coup established Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides as dictator. On 20 July 1974, as Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus, the regime collapsed.

Former premier Constantine Karamanlis was invited back from Paris where he had lived in self-exile since 1963, marking the beginning of the Metapolitefsi era. On the 14 August 1974 Greek forces withdrew from the integrated military structure of NATO in protest at the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. [ [ NATO Update 1974] ] History, Editorial Consultant : Adam Hart-Davis, Dorling Kindersley Limited publisher, ISBN : 978 1 8561 3062 2] In 1975 a democratic republican constitution was activated and the monarchy abolished by a referendum held that same year. Meanwhile, Andreas Papandreou founded the Panhellenic Socialist Party, or PASOK, in response to Constantine Karamanlis' New Democracy party, with the two political formations dominating Greek political affairs in the ensuing decades. Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. Relations with neighbouring Turkey have improved substantially over the last decade, since successive earthquakes hit both nations in the summer of 1999 (see Greece-Turkey earthquake diplomacy), and today Athens is an active supporter of Turkey's bid for EU membership.

Greece became the tenth member of the European Union on 1 January 1981 and ever since the nation has experienced a remarkable and sustained economic growth. Widespread investments in industrial enterprises and heavy infrastructure, as well as funds from the European Union and growing revenues from tourism, shipping and a fast growing service sector have raised the country's standard of living to unprecedented levels. The country adopted the Euro in 2001 and successfully organised the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Government and politics

Greece is a parliamentary republic. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 1] ] The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 30] ] The current Constitution was drawn up and adopted by the Fifth Revisionary Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975 after the fall of the military junta of 1967-1974. It has been revised twice since, in 1986 and in 2001. The Constitution, which consists of 120 articles, provides for a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and grants extensive specific guarantees (further reinforced in 2001) of civil liberties and social rights. [P.D. Dagtoglou, "Individual Rights", I, 21 & E. Venizelos, "The "Acquis" of the Constitutional Revision", 131-132, 165-172 ]

According to the Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 26] ] The Constitutional amendment of 1986 the President's duties were curtailed to a significant extent, and they are now largely ceremonial.K. Mavrias, "Constitutional Law", 477-478] The position of Prime Minister, Greece's head of government, belongs to the current leader of the political party that can obtain a vote of confidence by the Parliament. The President of the Republic formally appoints the Prime Minister and, on his recommendation, appoints and dismisses the other members of the Cabinet. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 37] ] The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, and the amendment of 1986 further strengthened his position to the detriment of the President of the Republic.K. Mavrias, "Constitutional Law", 477-478, 486-487]

Legislative power is exercised by a 300-member elective unicameral Parliament. [ The Constitution of Greece: Articles 51, 53] ] Statutes passed by the Parliament are promulgated by the President of the Republic. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 42] ] Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the President of the Republic is obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier on the proposal of the Cabinet, in view of dealing with a national issue of exceptional importance. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 41] ] The President is also obliged to dissolve the Parliament earlier, if the opposition manages to pass a motion of no confidence. [ The Constitution of Greece: Article 84] ]

The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises three Supreme Courts: the Court of Cassation (Άρειος Πάγος), the Council of State (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the Court of Auditors (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). The Judiciary system is also composed of civil courts, which judge civil and penal cases and administrative courts, which judge disputes between the citizens and the Greek administrative authorities.

Since the restoration of democracy, the Greek two-party system is dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). [For a diachronic analysis of the Greek party system see T. Pappas, "Transformation of the Greek Party System Since 1951", 90-114, who distinguishes three distinct types of party system which developed in consecutive order, namely, a predominant-party system (from 1952 to 1963), a system of polarised pluralism (between 1963 and 1981), and a two-party system (since 1981).] Other significant parties include the Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left and the Popular Orthodox Rally. The current prime minister is Kostas Karamanlis, president of the New Democracy party and nephew of the late Constantine Karamanlis, who won a second term on 16 September 2007, acquiring a slimmer majority in the Parliament with only 152 out of 300 seats.

Peripheries and prefectures

Administratively, Greece consists of thirteen peripheries subdivided into a total of fifty-one prefectures ( _el. "nomoi", singular _el. nomos). There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos ( _el. Agio Oros, "Holy Mountain"), which borders the periphery of Central Macedonia.

ee also



*cite book |last=Dagtoglou |first=P.D. |title=Constitutional Law — Individual Rights — Volume I |year=1991 |publisher=Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publishers |location=Athens-Komotini |language=Greek |chapter=Protection of Individual Rights
*cite book |last=Mavrias |first=Kostas G. |title=Constitutional Law |year=2002 |publisher=Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publishers |location=Athens |language=Greek |isbn=9-60150-663-2
*cite book |title=The Constitution of Greece |url= |accessdate=2007-09-20 |year=2004 | |publisher=Hellenic Parliament |location=Athens |isbn=9-605-60073-0|format=PDF
*cite book |last=Venizelos |first=Evangelos |authorlink=Evangelos Venizelos |title=The "Acquis" of the Constitutional Revision |year=2002 |publisher=Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publishers |location=Athens |language=Greek |isbn=9-60150-617-9|chapter=The Contribution of the Revision of 2001
*cite journal |last=Pappas |first=Takis |year=2003 |month=April |title=The Transformation of the Greek Party System Since 1951 |journal=West European Politics|volume=26 |issue=2|pages=90–114|doi=10.1080/01402380412331333338|url=|accessdate=2008-06-08 | doi_brokendate =2008-06-29

Further reading

*Richard Clogg, "A Concise History of Greece", Second Edition, Cambridge University Press 2002.
*Minorities in Greece - historical issues and new perspectives. History and Culture of South Eastern Europe. An Annual Journal. München (Slavica) 2003.

External links


* [ President of the Hellenic Republic]
* [ Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic]
* [ Hellenic Parliament]
* [ Greek News Agenda Newsletter]
* [ Greece] — information and links related to Greece from the ministry of foreign affairs
* [ Greek missions abroad] (embassies, consulates, representations)
* [ Foreign missions in Greece]
* [ Greek National Tourism Organisation]
* [ National Statistical Service of Greece]


* [ Hellenism.Net - Everything about Greece]
* [ National Geographic: Greece]
* [ Encyclopaedia Britannica - Greece's country page]
* [ Hellenic History]
* [ The Greek Heritage]
* [ Open Directory Project: Greece]
* [ Chronology of Greece from the World History Database]
* [ History of Greece: Primary Documents]
* [ Greek Council for Refugees]

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