lefkada history

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Lefkada history: Learn about the history of the famous island of Lefkada Greece

  The name Lefkada, Greece, is related to the most southern part of the island, the cape of Levkata, which is characterised by white rocks. Leukos means white in Greek.

Lefkada HistoryLefkada was the name first given to the town and then to the whole island. According to the myth, Sappho, the Lyric poetess, could not endure the torture of her love for Phaon and killed herself falling from these rocks.

In the 7th century B.C. the island was colonised by Corinthians. During this period, the island’s city was called Nirikos. he Corinthians built the new town of Lefkada, and in 650 B.C., for defensive reasons, they started the construction of the canal which separates Lefkada from the mainland and turned it into an island. The bridge that connected Lefkada to the mainland measured 184 metres

In the 3rd century B.C., Lefkada became a part of the Acarnanian federation together with the inhabitants of Acarnania on the mainland.

In 230 B.C., the island allied with the Macedonians against the Romans attack, and in 198 B.C., finally fell under the Roman rule, becoming a part of the Roman province of Nikopolis..

During the Byzantine Period, Lefkada was part of the province of Achaia. Due to the strategically important position of the island, Lefkada became a victim of many attacks.

In the 6th century A.D., the island was included into the “Scheme of Kefalonia” while after a temporary overthrow by the crusaders it became part of the Dominion of Epirus.

In 1204, the Franks conquered Constantinople and Lefkada fell under their rule.

In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice and after the sign of the treaty of Kamboformio, Lefkada became part of the French State. Napoleon Bonaparte came on the island as a liberator and abolished the Noble’s privileges.

Two years later, in 1799, the fleet of the alliance of the Turks, the Russians and the English defeated the French and disembarked on Lefkada.

On March 1800, the “Ionian State” was established in Constantinople in order to create the Septinsular Republic, but the attempt failed in 1807 when the island was ceded to France again.

It was nevertheless a period of prosperity, with many agricultural improvements.

During this time, the English started occupying other Ionians Islands and finally occupied Lefkada in 1810.


During this period, the island had many flourishing autonomous cities even if it remained under the Corinthian influence.
Lefkada participated in the Persians Wars along with the other Greek cities and sent three ships for the naval battle of Salamina in 480 B.C. and 800 men to the battle of Plataeae.
During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.), Lefkada fought on the side of its mother city Corinth, which supported the Spartians.

In 343 B.C, Lefkada allied with the Athenians in order to counter the Macedonians and their king, Phillip II.

Athens was beaten and Lefkada fell under the Macedonian domination. The island only won its autonomy in 312 B.C.

In 1294, the bishop Nikiforos A’Angelos offered the island to the Sicilian Orsini family when his daughter married Giovanni Orsini.

The Orsini family ruled the island until 1331. During this time, they built the fortress of Agia Mavra. After 1331, the island fell under the rule of a multitude of dynasties until 1479, when it was conquered by the Turkish army led by Gedouk Ahmet. The Turks ruled the island until 1684 and applied severe oppressions over the inhabitants.

The island was then conquered by the Venetians under the commands of Morozini and ruled, except for a brief period, until 1797. During this period, the island’s capital was moved to its present position. The economy prospered with the development of trade and navigation.

The occupation was made officially after the Treaty of Paris in 1815.

During their occupation, the Greek language became official, new roads were built and the water supply of the town got well organised.

The English official occupation quickly ended while the English Protection lasted until 1864.

During this period, Lefkada, together with the other islands of the Ionians, offered support to the rest of Greece which was still under the Turkish domination.

Treaty that proclaimed the unification of the Ionian Island to the newly built Greek State was signed the 21st May 1864.


All the majors festivals are related to religious ceremonies... more

In 1948, a major earthquake destroyed the largest part of Lefkada Island... more
There is a wealth of Lefkada churches and monasterie... more





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