Brief History of Greece:Greece is a country steeped with ancient history and civilizations. As far back as 3000 BC the Cycladic civilization inhabited the area of Greece. Over time other civilizations would emerge. The city states of Ancient Greece such as Athens and Sparta created one of the most advanced ancient civilizations in history. Giving birth to many advanced concepts in government and philosophy that are still used today. In 323 BC, Alexander the Greatcame into power. He would unite the Greek peoples and conquer the Persian Empire. To learn more about Ancient Greece see Ancient Greece for kids.
Later Greece would be conquered by the Roman Empire and then become a part of the Byzantium Empire. Greek culture would have a significant influence into both Roman and Byzantium cultures. Greece would remain part of the Byzantium Empire until the coming of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s.
The Greeks would break free of the Ottomans in 1829 after the Greek War for Independence. Throughout the rest of the 1800s and 1900s, Greece slowly added nearby islands to its territories. In World War II Greece was invaded by Italy and taken over by Germany. Greece joined NATO after Germany was defeated and the war ended. Greece is now a member of the European Union.
The Geography of GreeceTotal Size: 131,940 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Alabama
Geographical Coordinates: 39 00 N, 22 00 E
World Region or Continent: Europe
General Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
Geographical Low Point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Geographical High Point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
Major cities: ATHENS (capital) 3.252 million; Thessaloniki 834,000 (2009), Patras
The People of GreeceType of Government: parliamentary republic
Languages Spoken: Greek 99% (official), English, French
Independence: 1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
National Symbol: Greek cross (white cross on blue field; arms equal length)
National Anthem or Song: Ymnos eis tin Eleftherian (Hymn to Liberty)
Economy of GreeceMajor Industries: tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Agricultural Products: wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products
Natural Resources: lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
Major Exports: food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Major Imports: machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Currency: euro (EUR)
National GDP: $293,900,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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