Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
an ancient Greek military-farming colony established in subjugated or allied states.They were set up to provide landless citizens with land and to consolidate military-political control over allies. The Athenians created the largest number (the first was founded on the island of Salamis around 570 B.C.), especially during the existence of the Delian League. The inhabitants of the colonies remained Athenian citizens. The cleruchies aroused the discontent of the allies, and, around the time of the Second Athenian League (founded 378–377 B.C.), the Athenians were forced to relinquish them.