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Corfu(kôr`fo͞o), Lat. Corcyra, island (1991 pop. 104,781), 229 sq mi (593 sq km), NW Greece, in the Ionian Sea, the second largest of the Ionian IslandsIonian Islands
, chain of islands (1991 pop. 193,734), c.890 sq mi (2,310 sq km), W Greece, in the Ionian Sea, along the coasts of Epirus and the Peloponnesus. The group is made up of Kérkira, Paxoí, Lefkás, Kefallinía, Itháki,
..... Click the link for more information. , separated by a narrow channel from the Albanian and Greek coasts. Though rising 2,980 ft (910 m) at Mt. Pantokrator in the northeast, Kérkira is largely a fertile lowland producing olive oil, figs, wine, and citrus fruit. Livestock raising (poultry, hogs, and sheep) and fishing are important sources of livelihood. Tourism, centered in Kérkira city, the capital, has increased dramatically in recent years; the island is known internationally. The island has been identified with Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians in Homer's Odyssey. It was settled c.730 B.C. by Corinthian colonists and shared with Corinth in the founding of Epidamnus on the mainland but became the competitor of Corinth in the Adriatic Sea. The two rivals fought the first recorded (by Thucydides) naval battle in 665 B.C. In 435 B.C., Kérkira (then Corcyra) made war on Corinth over the control of Epidamnus, and in 433 it concluded an alliance (often renewed) with Athens; this alliance helped to precipitate (431) the Peloponnesian WarPeloponnesian War
, 431–404 B.C., decisive struggle in ancient Greece between Athens and Sparta. It ruined Athens, at least for a time. The rivalry between Athens' maritime domain and Sparta's land empire was of long standing. Athens under Pericles (from 445 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. . The island passed under Roman rule in 229 B.C. and in A.D. 336 became part of the Byzantine Empire. It was seized from the Byzantines by the Normans of Sicily in the 1080s and 1150s, by Venice (1206), and later by Epirus (1214–59) and the Angevins of Naples. In 1386 the Venetians obtained a hold that ended only with the fall of the Venetian republic in 1797. Under Venetian rule, the island had successfully resisted two celebrated Turkish sieges (1537, 1716). The island was under the protection of Great Britain from 1815 to 1864, when it was ceded to Greece. It was occupied (1916) by the French in World War I, and in 1917 the union of Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia was concluded there. In 1923, after Italian officers trying to establish the Greek-Albanian border were slain in Greece, Kérkira was bombarded and temporarily occupied in retaliation by Italian forces. A major earthquake in 1953 did little damage.
(Corfu), an island in the Ionian Sea; one of the Ionian Islands, which belong to Greece. Area, 592 sq km. Its surface consists of a hilly plain in the south and low hills, composed chiefly of limestones and shales, in the north. Elevations reach 906 m. Subtropical fruit is cultivated, and there are winter health resorts. The principal city and port is Kerkira.
(Italian, Corfu), a city and port in Greece, on the Channel of Kerkira. It is the administrative center of the island and nome of Kerkira. Population, 26,700 (1971). The city is a trading center, exporting olive oil, grain, wines, and citrus fruits. Major industries include food processing, the production of textiles, soap, and paraffin, and fishing.
From the 14th to the 18th century the city was, with some interruptions, a Venetian fortress. In 1797 it was seized by France, and from 1797 to 1864 it was the capital of the Ionian Islands. On Oct. 24, 1798, during F. F. Ushakov’s Mediterranean campaign (1798–1800), a Russo-Turkish squadron under Admiral Ushakov’s direct command began a blockade of Kerkira. The city was garrisoned by a French force of about 4,000 men with 636 guns and protected by a squadron of two ships of the line, one frigate, and one bombardier. On November 9 the siege of Kerkira was begun, and in December 1798 and January 1799 the Russo-Turkish forces were strengthened to 12 ships of the line, 11 frigates, and two corvettes. On February 18, with artillery support, 2,000 men landed on the island of Vido, whose garrison surrendered. At the same time the troops besieging Kerkira seized the approaches to the fortress. General Chabot, the commanding officer, surrendered on February 19. Ushakov’s operations at Kerkira provide a classic example of successful cooperation between a landing force and naval artillery.