Ionian Islands

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Ionian Islands

(īō`nēən), 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 KérkiraKérkira
or Corfu
, 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 Islands, separated by a narrow channel from the Albanian and Greek coasts.
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, PaxoíPaxoí
or Paxos
, island (1991 pop. 2,175), c.7 sq mi (18 sq km), NW Greece, in the Ionian Sea; one of the Ionian Islands. Olive oil, citrus fruits, and almonds are produced. Tourism is an important industry.
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, LefkásLefkás,
formerly Levkás
or Leucas
, mountainous island (1991 pop. 19,350), c.115 sq mi (300 sq km), W Greece, in the Ionian Sea; one of the Ionian Islands. Lefkás (1991 pop.
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, KefalliníaKefallinía
or Cephalonia
, island (1991 pop. 29,392), c.300 sq mi (780 sq km), W Greece, the largest of the Ionian Islands. It has an irregular coastline and is largely mountainous, rising to c.5,340 ft (1,630 m) at Mt.
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, IthákiItháki
or Ithaca
, island (1991 pop. 3,082), c.37 sq mi (96 sq km), W Greece, one of the Ionian Islands. It is mountainous, rising to c.2,650 ft (810 m) at Mt. Anoyi, and has little arable land. The chief products are olive oil, currants, and wine.
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, ZákinthosZákinthos
or Zante
, Lat. Zacynthus, island (1991 pop. 32,556), c.157 sq mi (407 sq km), W Greece, in the Ionian Sea; one of the Ionian Islands. The chief town is Zákinthos, a port and trade center and the capital of Zákinthos prefecture.
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, KíthiraKíthira
or Cythera
, island (1991 pop. 3,021), c.109 sq mi (282 sq km), S Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea, southernmost of the Ionian Islands, off the S Peloponnesus. Mostly rocky with many streams, it produces wine, goat cheese, olives, corn, and flax.
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, and numerous islets. Largely mountainous, the islands reach their highest point at Mt. Ainos (c.5,340 ft/1,630 m) on Kefallinía. Fruits, grains, timber, olives, wine, and cotton are produced, and sheep, goats, and hogs are raised. Industries include fishing, shipping, and tourism. The islands had no unified history until the 10th cent. A.D., when they were made a province of the Byzantine Empire. Venice took the islands in the 14th and 15th cent. and held them until 1797, when the Treaty of Campo Formio, which ended the Venetian republic, gave the islands to France. In 1799 they were seized by a Russo-Turkish fleet and were constituted a republic under Russian protection. In 1807, by the Treaty of Tilsit, Russia returned the islands to France. From 1809 to 1814 the British navy occupied all the islands except Kérkira. In 1815 the Ionian Islands, known as the "United States of the Ionian Islands," were placed under British protection. The British ceded the islands to Greece in 1864 after considerable popular agitation on the islands. A series of earthquakes in 1953 caused extensive damage.

Ionian Islands

 

a group of islands belonging to Greece in the Ionian Sea off the western shore of the Balkan Peninsula. Area, more than 2,200 sq km. There are five large islands— Ithaki (Ithaca), Levkas (Leucas), Kefallinia (Cephalonia), Zakinthos (Zante), and Kerkira (Corfu)—and many islets, separated from the mainland by a shallow sea and continuing the mountain chains of Greece, broken up by faults. The islands have frequent earthquakes. The sharply defined and precipitous shores create many excellent harbors. The islands are mountainous (maximum altitude, 1,628 m) and composed primarily of limestone and shale; there are foothills along the shores in places and fertile lowlands with olive groves, vineyards, and citrus orchards. Maquis predominates on the slopes; there are also oak forests. The primary industries are sheepherding and fishing. The cities of Kerkira, Argostolion, and Zakinthos are located in the Ionian Islands.