Greece Population - History

Greece Population - History


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Population

GREECE

Greece has almost no ethnic divisions within the country. Almost everyone are Greek, and belong to the Greek Orthodox Church. There is a small muslim minority in the country.
POPULATION GRAPH
Population:
10,688,058 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.3% (male 790,291/female 742,902)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 3,562,251/female 3,566,097)
65 years and over: 19% (male 891,620/female 1,134,897) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.8 years
male: 39.7 years
female: 42 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.18% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
9.68 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
10.24 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.43 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.24 years
male: 76.72 years
female: 81.91 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.34 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
9,100 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek
Ethnic groups:
Greek 98%, Turkish and other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Religions:
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Languages:
Greek 99% (official), English, French
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.5%
male: 98.6%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
People - note:
women, men, and children are trafficked to and within Greece for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor


Greece Population Growth Rate 1950-2021

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Spartans ruling capacity when it was in power is unquestionable. They had a positive as well as a negative impact on the ancient Greek population. After conquering Greece, they formed the city Sparta and bestowed it the status of the capital city.

Spartans significance to Greece and its population:

Sparta was located on the banks of the River Eurotas. In 10 B.C. it emerged as a significant seat of power. It soon became a place of military activity. Military establishments and arsenals were set up here.Given its prominence amongst the military, Greek rulers called the shots from Sparta. During the Greek-Persian wars, Sparta overlooked matters concerning wars. Very soon, Sparta attacked Athens and emerged victoriously.

Sparta was politically independent. Until the Romans conquered Greece in 146 B.C, Spartans independent sovereignty remained unperturbed.Spartans contribution to humankind is remarkable. It was here that the population of Greece rose. Sparta laid a lot of emphasis on military training. Spartan citizens, called Spartiates, had a formal military education.

Looking at the ancient Greek population of Sparta:

The estimate of the population in ancient Sparta is created using a piece of the line found in one of the retrieved manuscripts. In one such manuscript, a mention is made about eight thousand Spartan males currently available for war in Sparta. This was told by Democrats, ruler of Sparta, to the King of Persia.

This was around 480 B.C. Scientists estimated based on this calculation that at that time there were more than fifteen thousand males in all age groups. There were around seven thousand adolescent men, six thousand youth and middle-aged men, and about one thousand men above the age of fifty.

Out of this population, many were Spartans, others were Perioikoi and Helots. Perioikoi were non-Spartans freed from jails and allowed to live in the land. The Helots were owned by Sparta and as Serfs.

The rise and decline of population in ancient Greece:

From 800 B.C. to 400 B.C, the population in ancient Greece rose. This was due to healthy standards of living and an increase of medical inventions. It is estimated that by 400 B.C, ancient Greece had a population of 13 million.

It is surprising that given the sheer number of people living in those times, only little remains of their constructs. Probably, the Greeks never imagined that a future lay beyond them for mankind for more than thousands of years.

Ancient Greek population rapidly declined with the arrival of Romans. The Romans completely overturned the cultural fabric of ancient Greece, and this resulted in a decline in ancient Greece population.


Greece Population - History

Initially, Greek immigration to Chicago was primarily a male phenomenon. Young men and boys came to escape extreme poverty or, in the Turkish-occupied territory of Greece, to avoid being drafted into the Turkish army. The vast majority planned to return to the homeland with enough money to pay off family debts and provide marriage dowries for their daughters or sisters. And indeed, some 40 percent of the over 600,000 Greek immigrants to the United States had returned to their homeland by World War II, giving them one of the highest repatriation rates of immigrants in the United States.

Chicago&aposs first Greek woman, Georgia Bitzis Pooley, arrived in 1885 as the bride of Captain Peter Pooley, who had earlier worked as a sea captain on Lake Michigan. Larger numbers followed after 1904, mostly as “picture brides.” In keeping with Greek tradition, women seldom worked outside of the home, although Pooley played an active role in community affairs, especially education and charity. It was not until the Great Depression in the 1930s that Greek women, forced by economic constraints, sought employment outside the home.

Greek immigrants settled initially in the central city in order to be near their place of work, especially the wholesale Fulton and South Water Streets markets, and to procure produce for their food peddling businesses. At the turn of twentieth century, Greeks began concentrating on the Near West Side at the triangle formed by Halsted, Harrison, and Blue Island Streets, which became known as the “Greek Delta.” There in the shadow of Hull House and amidst other European immigrants, they developed a seemingly self-contained ethnic enclave, with its web of church and school, businesses, shops, doctors, lawyers, fraternal lodges, mutual benefit societies, and hometown associations, along with restaurants and the ubiquitous coffeehouses. The oldest extant Greek American newspaper, the Greek Star, was founded in Chicago in 1904 along with the Greek Press in 1913. By 1930, Chicago had become home to approximately 30,000 first- and second-generation Greek Americans.

Greektown on the Near West Side remained the focal point of Greek life in Chicago until it was displaced by the new University of Illinois at Chicago campus in the 1960s. Residents relocated to other existing Greek settlements such as Ravenswood and Lincoln Square (Greektown North), and to older communities in Woodlawn, South Shore, and Pullman on the South Side and Austin on the West Side. By the end of the twentieth century, large concentrations of Greek Americans could be found in other Chicago neighborhoods such as Rogers Park and West Rogers Park, Edgewater, Forest Glen, Lake View, South Chicago, Hegewisch, Ashburn, and Beverly. The old Greektown business community remained intact and had even expanded through gentrification.

Despite coming from predominantly agrarian backgrounds, Greek immigrants moved quickly into mercantile activities. By the late 1920s, Greeks were among the foremost restaurant owners, ice cream manufacturers, florists, and fruit/vegetable merchants in Chicago. In 1927 the Chicago Herald and Examiner reported that Greeks were operating more than 10,000 stores, 500 of them in the Loop, with aggregate sales of $2 million per day. One-third of the wholesale business in Chicago markets in South Water and Randolph Streets was conducted with Greek American merchants.

This immigrant community worshiped overwhelmingly in the Greek Orthodox Church, beginning in 1885 in rented facilities in cooperation with Slavic Orthodox brethren. A distinct Greek Orthodox house of worship was established in 1892, at Union and Randolph Streets, again in rented quarters, and later relocated to a Masonic hall at 60 West Kinzie Street, close to the wholesale market area where most Greeks were employed. In 1897, the first permanent Greek Orthodox church, Holy Trinity, was established in Peoria Street in the Greektown area. In 1923, Chicago was made a diocesan center of the Greek Orthodox Church in America with jurisdiction over the Midwestern states.

Greek Orthodox parochial schools followed closely behind the establishment of churches. Holy Trinity created the first in the nation in 1908, Socrates Elementary School. Soon, a network of Greek schools sprouted up—some full day schools with a bilingual English and Greek curriculum others, afternoon and Saturday schools with only a Greek-language curriculum. While the vast majority of Greek children attended the Chicago Public Schools (except for those enrolled in Greek day schools), practically all Greek children attended afternoon (following public school attendance) and Saturday schools, where they learned the rudiments of the Greek Orthodox faith along with Greek language and culture.

After World War II a new wave of immigration to the United States took place, with many Greeks coming to Chicago under the Displaced Persons Act. This immigration surge accelerated with the 1965 repeal of the National Origins Act, which enabled some 260,000 Greeks to enter the United States, many of them settling with relatives in Chicago. By 1990 the U.S. census counted more than 70,000 people in metropolitan Chicago claiming Greek ancestry, approximately one-third in the city and two-thirds in the suburbs. The 2000 census counted 93,140 people of Greek ancestry in the metropolitan region. Community estimates, however, ranged from 90,000 to 125,000. Suburban concentrations include Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Glenview, Morton Grove, Prospect Heights, Oak Lawn, Palos Hills, Park Ridge, and Skokie, which together accounted for 13,869 Greek Americans in 1990.

This movement to the suburbs reflects widespread success among Chicagoans of Greek descent. High rates of literacy and college attendance have helped Greek Americans move into medicine, law, education, politics, and business.


2 Answers 2

There are no really reliable estimates for the population of Mycenaean Greece, although scholars have supplied some (more or less educated) guesses. On the more conservative end of the scale, Stanford's Mitsotakis professor Josiah Ober has written that:

The population of Hellas in the Mycenaen period (including Thessaly and Crete) was somewhere in the range of 600,000 people. 1

At the opposite end, the British historian and Stanford classics professor Ian Morris says:

Mycenaean material culture dominated about 100,000 square kilometers, covering the modern nation-state of Greece (except its northern part) with enclaves on the west coast of Turkey. The population of this area was perhaps a million. 2

This uncertainty is because our knowledge of the period is too piecemeal to support reliable, precise estimates. A significant corpus of contemporary written records do exist, but it is fragmentary and specific to regional polities. Population estimates thus necessarily rely upon extrapolations from archaeological surveys of settlement sites. Yet not all of these has been, or can be, found.

Nonetheless, relatively rigorous estimates have been created for specific regions where surviving records or archaeological attention have been comparatively more concentrated.

Perhaps the best studied case is in Messenia, where the palatial state of Pylos thrived. Between 1962 and 1968, the Queen's professor Richard Hope Simpson and Minnesota historian William Andrew MacDonald led an interdisciplinary effort to survey the region. Their pioneering effort is known as the University of Minnesota Messenia Expedition.

Based on the results of their survey, McDonald and Hope Smith cautiously estimated the Mycenaean population of Pylos to be at least 50,000 based on the 250 settlements discovered from the period. 3 This figure has since been generally accepted. More recently in 2001, Todd Whitelaw, Professor of Aegean Archaeology at University College London, made the same estimate. 4

In addition, Messenia's Palace of Nestor housed a large trove of Linear B tablets. These reported administrative inventories from the Pylian polity's final year, attesting to some 4,000 people. As a sidenote, the distinguished British Linear B scholar, John Chadwick estimated the Mycenaean Messenian population might have been about 100,000, 5 though this is not supported by existing archaeological evidence.

By far the largest collection of Linear B texts are found at Knossos, on the island of Crete. Using a multifactored approach that combined the written records and archaeological surveys, Richard Firth in 1995 proposed a total of 110,000 residents on the island in the Post Palatial period (LM IIIB). 6 For comparison, the Sheffield archaeologist Keith Branigan estimates that Neo-Palatial Crete (MM IIIB) a few centuries earlier had a population of 140,000 to 160,000. 7

1. Ober, Josiah. The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece. Princeton University Press, 2015.
2. Morris, Ian. "The collapse and regeneration of complex society in Greece, 1500-500 BC." After Collapse: the Regeneration of Complex Societies. Schwartz, Glenn M., and John J. Nichols, eds. University of Arizona press, 2010.
3. McDonald, W. A., and Hope Simpson, R. "Archaeological exploration." McDonald and Rapp, eds. The Minnesota Messenia Expedition: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Regional Environment. University of Minnesota Press, 1972.
4. Whitelaw, Todd. "Reading between the tablets: assessing Mycenaean palatial involvement in ceramic production and consumption." Sofia Voutsaki and John T. Killen (eds.), Economy and Politics in the Mycenaean Palace State. Cambridge Philological Society, 2001.
5. Chadwick, John. "The Mycenaean Documents."McDonald and Rapp, eds. The Minnesota Messenia Expedition: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Regional Environment. University of Minnesota Press, 1972.
6. Firth, R. "Estimating the population of Crete during LM IIIA/B." Minos: Revista de Filología Egea 29 (1994): 33-56.
7. Branigan, Keith. "Aspects of Minoan urbanism." Urbanism in the Aegean Bronze Age (2001): 38-50.


Immigration Begins

Following the end of its war of independence, Greece faced a number of internal economic challenges. The country was slow to industrialize through the nineteenth century. As late as 1879, more than 80 percent of its people still lived in rural communities. Currants were Greece’s chief export product, and their price declined so much that many Greek farmers went bankrupt and were unable to pay their taxes. This poor economic climate prompted many Greeks to emigrate.

With the encouragement of the Greek government, young men began leaving the country during the late nineteenth century in the hope of gaining employment in the United States. Large-scale Greek immigration to the United States began in 1880, with the largest numbers immigrating during the early twentieth century. Between 1900 and 1920, more than 350,000 Greeks immigrated to the United States. About 95 percent of the immigrants who came between 1899 and 1910 were men. In keeping with Greek tradition, these men often worked to secure dowries for their sisters back home. In 1905 alone, Greek immigrants remitted more than four million dollars to their families in Greece. Most did not intend to stay in the United States.

Profile of Greek immigrants

Primary regions of U.S. settlement

East Coast states, Midwest

Earliest significant arrivals

Twenty-first century legal residents*

*Immigrants who obtained legal permanent resident status in the United States.

Source: Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2008.


Political Life

Government. Greece is a parliamentary republic modeled after the French system. The redrawn constitution of 1975 established a single legislative body with three hundred seats. The president serves as the ceremonial head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government. Suffrage is universal for those over eighteen years of age. A large civil service bureaucracy administers a host of national, provincial, and local agencies. Governmental functioning often is described as hierarchical and centralized. A municipal reorganization in 1998 combined smaller communities into larger ones in an effort to strengthen the power of local government.

Leadership and Political Officials. Greek political history has been marked by frequent moments of uncertainty, and there have been several military coups and dictatorships, the last being the junta that reigned from 1967 to 1974. Since the end of the junta, two major parties have alternated in power: New Democracy, which controlled parliament from 1974 to 1981 and from 1989 to 1993 and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), which controlled it from 1981 to 1989 and from 1993 to the present.

Citizens maintain a wary skepticism toward politicians and authority figures. Support in national elections often was garnered through patronage, extensive networks of ritual kin, and personal ties in the nineteenth century. The rise of the early twentieth-century politician Eleftherios Venizelos initiated a gradual shift toward ideology and policy as the basis of support.

Local-level politics operate differently from politics on the national level. Municipalities elect leaders more on the basis of personal qualities than political affiliation, and candidates for local office often do not run on a party ticket.

Dealing with the large civil service bureaucracy is seen as a matter for creativity, persistence, and even subtle deception. Individuals often are sent from office to office before their affairs are settled. Those who are most successful operate through networks of personal connections.

Social Problems and Control. The legal system is based on modified Roman law, with strong protection for the rights of the accused. There are criminal, civil, and administrative courts, and since 1984, the police force, which previously was divided into urban and rural units, has operated as a single force. There is little violent crime. Tax evasion often is considered the most serious legal concern. Peer pressure, gossip, belief in forces such as the evil eye, and the strong sense of proper behavior and social responsibility engendered by philotimo operate as informal mechanisms of social control.

Military Activity. Continuing disputes and past wars are important parts of social memory, but since the Civil War there has been a different climate, especially since the end of the Cold War and the removal of most foreign troops. The country stills spends a high percentage of its budget on defense. The Hellenic Armed Forces are divided into an army, an air force, and a navy. There is a universal draft of all males at age twenty for eighteen to twenty-one months of service, with some deferments and exemptions. There are 160,000 soldiers on active duty and over 400,000 reservists.


Greece Population - History

  • 3000 - The Bronze Age begins in Greece.
  • 1240 - The beginning of the Trojan War.
  • 1130 - Iron is introduced. The Iron Age begins.
  • 700s - The city-states of Athens and Sparta emerge and become major powers in the region.



    324 - Byzantium is founded by Constantine the Great. Greece is part of the Western Roman Empire, also called Byzantium.



The Olympic Athletic Center in Athens

Brief Overview of the History of Greece

Greece is a country steeped with ancient history and civilizations. As far back as 3000 BC the Cycladic civilization inhabited the area of Greece. Over time other civilizations would emerge. The city states of Ancient Greece such as Athens and Sparta created one of the most advanced ancient civilizations in history. Giving birth to many advanced concepts in government and philosophy that are still used today. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great came into power. He would unite the Greek peoples and conquer the Persian Empire. To learn more about Ancient Greece see Ancient Greece for kids.

By 30 BC, all of Greece became part of the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire split, Greece become a part of the Byzantium Empire. Greek culture would have a significant influence on both the Roman and Byzantium cultures. Greece remained part of the Byzantium Empire until the arrival of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s.

The Greeks broke free of the Ottomans after the Greek War for Independence. Throughout the rest of the 1800s and 1900s, Greece slowly added nearby islands to its territories. In World War II Greece was invaded by Italy and taken over by Germany. Greece joined NATO after Germany was defeated and the war ended. Greece is now a member of the European Union.


Greece

The Hellenic Republic (Elliniki Dhimocratia), the southernmost country in Europe, lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa. A land of mountains and sea, it is simultaneously European, Balkan, and Mediterranean. Mountains occupy about 80 percent of the country and have, at times, restricted internal communications. But the sea opened wider horizons, and Greece has had a naval tradition throughout history.

Greece occupies 131,957 square miles (50,949 square kilometers), approximately the size of Alabama. The Greek Islands make up one-fifth of this territory. Although there are about 2,000 islands, only 170 are inhabited the largest is Crete. To the east is the Aegean Sea, to the south the Mediterranean, to the west the Ionian. To the north, Greece's continental frontier borders Albania, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.

Geography has had a big influence on the country's economic, historical, and political development. The landscape has been a strong factor for Greek migration, both internally&mdashfrom rural to urban areas&mdashand to other countries for employment and a better life. The result over centuries was depopulation of certain areas. In the 1980s, some repatriation occurred.

As of the 1991 census, the population was 10,2590,000, excluding Greeks living in Australia, Canada, and the United States. Of these, 5,055,408 were males and 5,204,492 were females 58.8 percent lived in urban areas, 12.8 percent in semi-urban, and 28.4 percent in rural. Nineteen percent of the population was 14 years or younger, 67 percent were between 15 and 64, and 14 percent were older than 65.

Between 1991 and 1996, births decreased from 10 per thousand to 9.6, while deaths for the same period increased from 9.3 per thousand to 9.6 (NSSG 1998).

As of the March 18, 2001, census, the population was 10,939,777, an increase of 6.6 percent over 10 years. Women made up 50.4 percent, men 49.6 percent (Hellas Letter April 2001). Approximately 6.8 percent of the population is illiterate of this figure, 9.8 percent are female, 3.7 percent male (NSSG 2000).

Modern Greece is the heir of classical Greece and the Byzantine Empire (300-1453). From ancient Greece it has inherited a sophisticated culture and language that has been documented for almost three millennia. The language of Periclean Athens in the fifth century B.C. and the present language are almost the same. Few languages can demonstrate such continuity. From Sparta (600 B.C.) and Athens (450-350 B.C.) came group teaching, the humanistic curriculum, and the three levels of education. Primary education was for children 7 through 12 years old secondary was for those 13 through 17 and tertiary, for those 18 and older. Tertiary education was paid by the State. When a boy reached the age of 18, he spent two years training to be a soldier and a citizen. Until the industrial revolution, preprimary education took place within the family.

The Romans adopted this three-level educational system when they conquered Greece in 146 B.C. It was modified and became bilingual&mdashGreek and Latin. In A.D. 364, the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western Roman Empire. The Eastern became the Byzantine Empire, and the educational system was continued. Eventually it became Greek-Christian from the reconciliation and harmonizing of classical Greek humanism with Christian beliefs.

From the Byzantine Empire, Greece inherited Eastern Orthodox Christianity. There was "one holy catholic and apostolic church" until the Great Schism in 1054, when the church was separated into Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic.

For nearly 400 years (1453-1821), Greece was under Ottoman rule (Tourkokratia). The Ottomans had no provisions to educate their non-Muslim subjects. The Orthodox Church was the only institution where the Greeks could look as a focus. Through the use of Greek in the liturgy and through its modest educational efforts, the church helped to a degree to keep alive a sense of Greek identity. Many times, members of the clergy were executed in reprisal when the Greeks disobeyed orders or tried to revolt.

The most serious disability for the Christian population was the janissary levy (paidomazoma). At irregular intervals, Christian families in the Balkans were required to deliver to the Ottoman authorities a given proportion of their most intelligent and handsome male children to serve as elite troops, after they were forced to convert to Islam.

Ottoman rule prevented Greece from experiencing the important historical movements of the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution, which shaped the destinies of the western European countries. The intellectuals who had fled to the West, especially to Italy, established intellectual centers wherever they settled. They began to publish Greek books in the sixteenth century and send them to the enslaved Greeks to educate and enlighten them.

The eighteenth century saw the emergence of a Greek mercantile middle class in the Ottoman Empire. They were also active in southern Russia, in several central European cities, and in the Mediterranean, where they established communities (paroikies), each with its own church. Greeks came in contact with the ordered societies of Western Europe. Their wealth provided for the intellectual revival of the Greeks. Moved by a sense of patriotism they endowed schools and libraries in the occupied mainland and in Asia Minor. They also financed the education of Greek schoolteachers in the universities of Italy and the German states. Influenced by the ideas of the European Enlightenment and the nationalistic beliefs of the French Revolution, these teachers became aware of the reverence in which the language and the culture of ancient Greece were held throughout Europe. This realization sparked an awareness that they were heirs to this same civilization and language.

Greece became a state in 1830, following the War for Independence (1821-1829). The treaty of 1832 between Bavaria and the Great Powers&mdashBritain, Russia, and France&mdashformally recognized Greece's existence as an independent state, although Greece did not participate in the treaty. The Greeks were the first of the subjugated peoples of the Ottoman Empire to gain full independence. Even so, the new state contained only a part of the Greek population, the remaining population in Asia Minor being still under Ottoman rule. The first century of state-hood was dominated by the struggle to expand the nation's boarders. It was in 1947 that Greece's present borders were established, after the incorporation of the Dodecanese Islands.

The Great Powers also decided that Greece should be a monarchy. They chose a 17-year-old Bavarian prince, Otto, as king. Because he was a minor, the Great Powers further decided that three Bavarian regents should rule the country. They imported European models of administration without regard to local conditions, consequently, Greece's educational system is heavily influenced by the German and French models.

The past is somewhat a burden to Greeks, who identify themselves as "modern" to differentiate themselves from the ancients. References to Greece are usually to ancient Greece. Greeks, however, are proud of their cultural heritage and have made every effort throughout the centuries to maintain it. The continuity between past and present is an essential element of the Greek self-image and national identity.

Greece became a member of the European Council in 1949, NATO in 1952, and the European Community in 1961. This last relationship helped modernize and democratize Greece's educational system and stabilize its government.

There was a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1974. Since 1974, Greece has been a parliamentary democracy with a president whose powers are restricted. (A plebiscite in 1975 abolished the monarchy.) The president is elected by the parliament (Vouli) and may hold office for two five-year terms. The Prime Minister, leader of the majority party, has extensive powers. The parliament consists of 300 deputies elected for four-year terms by direct, universal, and secret ballot.

The parliament has the power to revise the constitution. Incumbent governments, regardless of political affiliation, have amended the electoral law to benefit their own party. The judicial system is essentially the Roman law system prevalent in continental Europe.

The 1980s brought about changes: civil marriage was introduced parallel to religious marriage, divorce was made easier, legal equality between the sexes was recognized. The right to vote also was extended to 18-year-olds.

Greece's unification with the European Community in 1981 (renamed European Union in 1994) reaffirmed its orientation toward Europe. It was the first eastern European country to join EU. Its heritage of Orthodox Christianity and Ottoman rule set it apart from the other European member states.

The 1990s brought economic refugees from Albania and other former Communist countries, from Asia, and from Africa. Repatriated Greeks also came from the former Soviet Union.

Religion is an important aspect of Greek life. In spite of the long Ottoman occupation, most Greeks belong to the Orthodox Church of Greece. A Muslim Turkish minority (3 percent) live mostly in the northeastern part of the country, in Thrace. Roman and Greek Catholics are found primarily in Athens and in the Ionian Islands.


1. Ancient Greece was not as democratic as most believe

It was widely believed, and rightly so, that Athens gave democratic government to posterity. It was the world&rsquos first known democratic form of government, but it was a limited democracy. The poorest citizens of Athens were not allowed to participate. Nor were slaves or former slaves. Slavery was rife in Athens, as it was in all of the Greek city-states, and slaves were owned by both individuals and by the state itself. Slaves were not allowed to marry without permission of their owner. Nor were they allowed to have children, unless they received permission. Controlling the behavior of slaves was a form of population control practiced by the state.

Both the state and individual owners could grant their slaves their freedom, and often manumission was promised to provide incentive for harder work. The freed slaves were not granted a path to citizenship, and former slaves were not allowed to participate in the democratic process. Former slaves remained non-citizens, and relocation to another city did not alter their status. Following the development of democracy in Athens several other Greek city-states adopted similar governments and policies towards non-citizens, all of them restricting certain liberties among the lowest classes of society.



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