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Gr. Hellas or Ellas, officially Hellenic Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 11,218,000), 50,944 sq mi (131,945 sq km), SE Europe. It occupies the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula and borders on the Ionian Sea in the west, on the Mediterranean Sea
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one of the principal groups of ancient Greek tribes, the others being the Ionians and the Dorians. Eastern Thessaly was evidently the most ancient center of Aeolian settlement. From this region, the Aeolians began colonizing the remaining areas of Thessaly and Boetia in the late second millennium B.C.; they then colonized the northwestern parts of Asia Minor—the regions that came to be called Aeolis—and the nearby islands of Lesbos and Tenedos. The Aeolians’ colonization of the coast of Asia Minor and their conflicts with local tribes are described in Homer’s Iliad.