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maanantai 1. toukokuuta 2017

Greece, Cool Facts #177

<= 176. Bulgaria                                                                                                            178. Turkey => 

Greek War of Independence 1821-1830
According to the legend Bishop Germanos raised the blue-white flag in Lavra in 1821 as a sign of the rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Greece used the blue-white cross flag during the war of independence against the Ottoman crescent moon flag. 

Bavarian King Otto 
Greek independence was recognized in 1830. The Bavarian King Otto ascended into the Greek throne in 1832 and it was easy to him to accept the blue-white flag, because blue and white were also the colors of his home country Bavaria. At the time Bavaria was an independent kingdom. 

Greek flag 1833-1858
Greek naval ensign 1833-1858

Changes in the flag
The Greek flag had the Bavarian pattern under the crown after 1833 when the flag was adopted. Later in 1863 the Bavarian pattern was removed as the new king from Denmark ascended to the throne. Later the crown was removed permanently and the current flag was adopted in 1978.

Symbolism in the flag
The American flag inspired the Greek flag. The stripes represent the motto of the independence war "Eleuthera i Thanatos", which means freedom or death. The flag has 9 stripes and the number represents the Greek and their nine goddesses of art and civilization. 

Greek flags

2. Alexander the Great's Empire  

- Alexander III of Macedon lived in 356BC-323BC
- Alexander was tutored by Aristotle until the age of 16
- In 336BC Alexander succeeded his father Philip II to the throne
- Alexander inherited a strong and an experienced army
- Alexander conquered the whole Persian Achaemenid Empire 
- Alexander's Empire stretched from Adriatic Sea to the Indus River
- Alexander's Empire was the largest that the world had ever seen at the time
- Alexander never lost a battle
- Alexander died at the age of 32
- The Empire was divided into several kingdoms after Alexander's death
- The Greek culture and language spread in the territories conquered by Alexander
- Alexander founded about twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt
- Alexander the Great is considered as one of the most influential people in human history

Empire of Alexander the Great
Map of the Empire

3. Ancient Olympic Games

- 776BC First Olympic Games were arranged
- 393AD The last recorded Olympic Games were held
- For 1168 years the ancient Olympic Games were held every four years
- City states of Ancient Greece competed in the event in different athletic competitions
- The Olympics were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin
- The Olympics were suppressed by Theodosius I in 393 as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as the State religion of Rome
- Only freeborn Greek men were allowed to participate in the Olympics
- The Olympic Truce was enacted during the Olympics to ensure that the athletes could travel from their cities to the games safely
- The Olympics were always held at Olympia
- The statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world
- The winner at the Olympics were honored and their feats chronicled for future generations
- The prizes for winner were olive leaf wreaths or crowns

An artist's impression of ancient Olympia

4. Greek genocide

- Happened during 1914-1922
- Systematic genocide of the Christian Ottoman Greek in Anatolia
- Instigated by the government of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish national movement against the indigenous Greek population of the Empire
- Included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, summary expulsions, arbitrary execution
- Included also destruction of Christian Orthodox cultural, religious and historical monuments
- An estimated 450,000-750,000 Ottoman Greeks died
- Most of the refugees and survivors fled to Greece and some in the eastern provinces fled to the Russian Empire
- Also Assyrians and Armenians were attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period

Smyra 1922, Greek people mourn their relatives
Demotic Greek speakers (yellow), Pontic Greek (orange) and Cappadocian Greek (green)

- Autonomous polity within the Greek Republic
- Official name "Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain" 
- Home to 20 monasteries 
- Nearly 1800 years of continuous Christian presence 
- Monastic traditions date back at least 800 A.D 
- Today 2000 monks from Greece or other Eastern Orthodox countries live an ascetic life in Athos
- Only men are permitted to visit the territory 
- Women are prohibited to enter the territory to make living in celibacy easier for the monks 
- In the 1930s the first Greek Miss Europe, Aliki Diplarakou, dressed up as a man and sneaked into Mount Athos
- Female animals like chickens, cows, ewes, nanny-goats, mares and sows are also prohibited 
- Exceptions are female cats, female insects and female songbirds 
- Mount Athos became part of Greece in 1923 
- The Flag of Mount Athos has the two-headed eagle of the Byzantium on a yellow background 

Flag of Mount Athos
Mount Athos


3200BC Cycladic civilization arose on the islands of the Aegean Sea
2700-1500BC Minoan civilization in Crete
1900-1100BC Mycenaean civilization on the mainland
c. 1100- c.800BC Greek Dark Ages
776BC First Olympic Games
508BC Cleisthenes instituted the world's first democratic system of government in Athens
500BC Persian Empire controlled Greek city states in Asia Minor and Macedonia
492BC Persia invaded mainland Greece
490BC Persia had to withdraw from mainland Greece after the battle of Marathon
480BC Second Persian invasion, which also failed
431-404BC Peloponnesian War, which Sparta won
334BC Combined forces of Greek city states invaded the Persian Empire and by 330BC conquered it entirely
323BC Alexander The Great had created the largest empire in the history at the time of his death
146BC Macedon became a Roman province and the rest of Greece became a Roman protectorate
393 Last recorded Olympic Games were held 1168 years after the first Olympics
395 The Roman Empire divides into two parts
1204 Mainland Greece was split between the Greek Despotate of Epirus and French rule, while some islands came under Venetian rule
1261 Re-establishment of the Byzantine imperial capital in Constantinople
1300s Much of the Greek peninsula was lost by the Byzantines to the Ottomans and Serbs
1453 The Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) fell to the Ottomans 
1700s Greek nationalism started arising
1821-1830 Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire
1830 Greek independence was recognized
1832 Bavarin Prince Otto von Wittelsbach became the king of Greece
1834 King Otto moved the capital from Nafplio to Athens 
1862 King Otto was deposed because of his authoritarian rule and replaced a year later by the Danish Prince Wilhelm
1881 Thessaly and parts of Epirus were ceded to Greece as part of the Treaty of Berlin
1897 Greece lost the war against Ottoman Empire
1901 The government fell after riots erupted in Athens
1913 After the two Balkan Wars, Greece gained Crete, Epirus and southern Macedonia
1913-1922 Greek genocide in the Ottoman Empire
1919-1922 Greco-Turkish War, which Greece lost
1924 Monarchy was abolished after a referendum and the Second Hellenic Republic was declared
1935 Monarchy was restored after a coup
1936 Authoritarian rule of Greece started and continued until 1974 with short breaks
1940-1941 Greco Italian War during WWII, Greece repelled Italian forces into Albania and gave the Allies the first victory over Axis forces on land
1941-1944 Axis occupation of Greece
1946-1949 Greek civil war between communist and anti-communist forces
1952 Greece joined Nato 
1967 Coup by the Regime of Colonels
1973 The military regime declared Greece a republic
1974 Cyprus split into two after Turkey invaded the island
1975 A democratic and republican constitution was promulgated after a referendum, which chose not to restore the monarchy
1980 Greece rejoined Nato
1981 Greece joined the European Communities (predecessor of European Union)
2001 Greece adopted the euro
2004 Greece hosted the Olympic Games in Athens

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