We are currently working on a detailed articles on the history of Greece, including links to specialist websites. Meanwhile here is a brief historical overview.
Greece has been inhabited for over 7000 years. The earliest civilizations were developed by the Minoans on Crete and the Myceneans in the Peloponnese.
Greece was continually subject to waves of invasions by non-Greeks, as well as wars between the various Greek tribes themselves. One of the most famous wars between the Greeks and Trojans was made legend by Homer's epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey.
City building began around the 7th century BC, leading to the flourishing of classical Greek art, architecture, literature, philosophy, science and politics. The genius of ancient Greece was personified by Homer, Hesiod, Sappho, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Pythagoras, Pericles, Pheidias, Praxiteles and others.
The Greek city states, especially Athens and Sparta, were perpetually feuding with each other, uniting only to fight encroachment by other powers such as the Persian empire.
During the 4th century BC Philip the Great of Macedonia forced an uneasy unity among the Greeks, and his son Alexander the Great extended Greece's power and influence as far as India to the east and Egypt to the south.
Following Alexander the Great's death, the Greeks resumed fighting amongst themselves until they were finally absorbed first into the Roman empire, then the Byzantine empire and ultimately the Turkish Ottoman empire. During this time various parts of Greece were also invaded and taken over by Venetians, Genoese, Crusaders and others.
The Greek War of Independence from Turkey began in 1821 and continued intermittently until after World War I, giving Greece the geographical boundaries it has today.
Greece was invaded and occupied during both world wars. The Greek Civil War 1945-1949 saw bitter fighting between left-wing and right-wing forces, a struggle which continued politically through the dictatorship of 1967-1974.
Since Greece joined the European Union in 1981, the political, social and economic situation has stabilized and the country has prospered materially. Today Greece is a developed democracy, although it is mainly economically dependent on agriculture and tourism.