Gela

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Gela

(jā`lä), city (1991 pop. 61,319), S Sicily, Italy, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a port, industrial center, and seaside resort. Petrochemicals are produced nearby, and petroleum is refined in the city. Much cotton is grown in Gela's hinterland. The city was founded c.688 B.C. by Greek colonists from Crete and Rhodes and soon flourished, founding (c.580 B.C.) Acragas (the later AgrigentoAgrigento
, Lat. Agrigentum, city (1991 pop. 55,283), capital of Agrigento prov., S Sicily, Italy, on a hill above the Mediterranean Sea. It is an agricultural market and a tourist center, but per capita income is among the lowest in Italy. Sulfur and potash are mined.
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). It attained its greatest prosperity under the tyrants Hippocrates and GelonGelon
, d. 478 B.C., Greek Sicilian ruler. As tyrant of Gela, his native city, he interfered in the struggle for power in Syracuse (485 B.C.) and made himself the leader of the popular party there. From that time he ruled Syracuse and dominated Greek Sicily. In 480 B.C.
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 in the 5th cent. B.C. However, the city was sacked by Carthage in 405 B.C. and never fully recovered. In 282 B.C., Mamertine mercenaries (see MessinaMessina
, city (1991 pop. 231,693), capital of Messina prov., NE Sicily, Italy, on the Strait of Messina, opposite the Italian mainland. It is a busy seaport and a commercial and light industrial center.
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) destroyed the city, and Phintias, tyrant of Acragas, resettled the inhabitants in the new city of Phintias (now Licata). In a necropolis near Gela, Greek vases and other objects have been found; excavations (begun in 1901) have uncovered the ancient Greek wall of Gela (5th–4th cent. B.C.) and two temples. The modern city was founded by Emperor Frederick II in 1230; until 1927 it was known as Terranova di Sicilia. In World War II, Gela was a landing point (July, 1943) for the Allied invasion of Sicily.

Gela

 

a city in southern Italy, on the island of Sicily in the province of Caltanissetta. It is a port (with a freight turnover in 1969 of 6.6 million tons) on the Gulf of Gela of the Mediterranean Sea. Population, 65,300 (1969). In Gela are petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants, as well as manufacturers of sulfuric acid and fertilizer, which make use of oil, natural gas, and sulfur extracted locally.

Gela was founded in approximately 690 B.C. by the Rhodians and Cretans; in the classical age it was given the name Gela. In the early fifth century B.C. under the tyrants Cleander, Hippocrates, and Gelon, it was the strongest city-state in Sicily and conquered the eastern half of the island. Gelon conquered Syracuse and transferred his capital there, so that after 485 B.C., Gela fell into decay. In 282 B.C. it was destroyed by the Mamertini (Campanian mercenaries). Frederick II founded the city of Terranova di Sicilia on the site of ancient Gela in 1230, and this name was retained until 1927.

Remnants of an ancient Greek acropolis (sixth century B.C.), with a temple of Athena, have been preserved in Gela, as well as traces of a regular plan of the town from the fourth century B.C. with remains of fortifications, a bath house, and other buildings. The Church of San Biagio and a castle from the 14th century are there. Gela has a national archaeological museum.