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(kĕfälēnē`ä) or


(sĕfəlō`nyə), island (1991 pop. 29,392), c.300 sq mi (780 sq km), W Greece, the 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,
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. It has an irregular coastline and is largely mountainous, rising to c.5,340 ft (1,630 m) at Mt. Ainos, which in ancient times was crowned by a temple to Zeus. Argostolion, a port, is the island's main town and ships local products such as fruit and wine. Sheep raising and fishing are important occupations on the island. Kefallinía was an ally of Athens in the Peloponnesian War and later was a member of the Aetolian League. The island was taken by Rome in 189 B.C. After the division of the Roman Empire (A.D. 395), it was held by the Byzantine Empire until its occupation (1126) by Venice. It subsequently was ruled by several Italian families, was seized by the Ottoman Turks (1479), and was ceded (1499) to Venice, which held it until the Treaty of Campo Formio (1797). Its subsequent history is that of the Ionian Islands. In 1953 the island was devastated by earthquakes of such force that Mt. Ainos was split.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Cephalonia), an island in the Ionian Sea, the largest of the Ionian Islands. A possession of Greece. Area, 752 sq km.

Kefallinia is mainly limestone, which forms a plateau with steep-sloped short ridges. Maximum elevation, 1,628 m (Mt. Ainos). There are thickets of evergreen and deciduous shrubbery and smaili pine forests. Vineyards, orchards, and olive and tobacco plantations are located on the island. Argostolion is the principal city and port.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.