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Kérkira (kĕrˈkērä) or Corfu (kôrˈfo͞o), 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. 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 War. 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Until now its eastern distribution limits were formed by the islands of Kerkira and Thira (Santorini).
Mr Marsden had been making the descent - described as a "difficult and dangerous manoeuvre" - in order to pick up his captain, Eric Beetham, from shore in Kerkira Bay after sunset at about 9.45pm on May 25, 1993.
The son of an Austrian from Banat and a Greek woman from Kerkira, he has always been fascinated by the "scent of the lemon trees in bloom", as he confesses in the book prologue, and he has never been able to cut the roots that go deep in the holy soil of Kerkira.
The Israeli was dismissed for being too defensive, but the Greeks sorely missed Shum's organisational skills when they were beaten 2-0 by newly promoted Kerkira in their second domestic match under new coach Zdenek Scasny.
Born on Corfu (Kerkira) (January 16, 1853); joined the army in 1872; later transferred to the 92d Highlanders, serving with them in the Second Afghan War (November 1878-September 1880) and winning the notice of Gen.
Kerkira, a Danehill three-year-old, could hardly have had a more timely pedigree as the filly shares the same grand-dam as High Chaparral.