Published: June 15th 2012June 15th 2012
I happen to find the history really interesting, so if you don't want to read about it, just skip past the bullets :)
• Greece has over 1300 islands, but only 240 are occupied.
• Greece was very advanced for it'd tme and invtented democracy, science, math, comedy, tragedy, politics....and....the yoyo
• It's a country of contrast. They invented all that stuff, yet you can't flush toilet paper, and only ine bathroom so far has had a toilet *seat*, I kid you not.
• Exciting tme to be here because of the elections. The Greeks got way into debt, and if the country collapsed, the euro would suffer, so the other eu countries didn't want that. They gave Greece 110 billion euros (that was to pay off the interest, not even the principle of the debt) to help them, but gave them sone stipulations. One was that the Greeks had to for realsies impose a tax. Tax up to this point had been voluntary and naturally next to no one paid it. For example, they made a pool tax and ony 200 people said they had a pool. The eu didn't believe them and hired a helicopter to check.... 3000 pools. Promotions were frozen for 4 years, pensions were frozen for 4 years, bonuses were ended ( they got bonuses for crazy things like showing up for work. They also had verrry good pensions). It's nit a wonder the country was bankrupt!
• Apparently greece also falsified some info to get into the eu. Partially because of that, the euro is too strong a currency for them. Tey think going back to the dragma would be ther best thing for them in the long run. But until then, people could lose up to 25% of their savings, some business could collapse and prob about 4 years of struggling. so that's kinda what the elections are going to be for.
• For some perspective, the Greeks were successful traders, architects, artists, politicians, and in America, the Indians were in tents and in Australia the aboriginals were still running around.
• Five thousand years ago, the Minoans were mostly in the islands. King Minos of Crete was most famous ruler. He angered the gods, so they made his wife fall in love with a bull. She made a baby with the bull and it was a child with a bulls head. The wife begged the king not to kill it since it was her son, so Minos put the child under his castle in a maze so it couldn't get out. Every year 7 girls and 7 boys had to be sacrificed to it. So that's the legend of how minotaurs came to be!
• Eventually, Theseus came to kill the Minotaur and did with Minos's daughter. Then he went and founded Athens.
• The island people of the Minoans ended. It's believed because a volcano on Santorini blew and caused a tidal wave. This makes some people think the Minoan kingdom may have been Atlantis. Santorinis volcano explosion was huge. They go on a scale up to 8 and it was a -7. Scientists think there have only been a few more violent, but they were all prehistoric. Santorinis was obliterated in the center, and the round island was changed to a crescent shape.
• After the Minoans were wiped out, Theseus, from the mainland, and his Myceans took over.
• Everything wwas going fine until the Greeks reached the 200 years if the dark years. The city states ended up banding together to try and pull out of it. They were called polys, and that where we get politics from. Because they worked together, Greece entered the golden age.
• 500 years for the golden age when brilliant minds like Socrates, Plato, and homer were working
• 400 bc, Greece started having conflicts with persia. Persia twice tried to defeat The Greeks. Fnally at Marathon, the Greeks wwere victorious! A man had run from Athens to see what had happened. They had won, but the persians wwere still going to try and sack Athens. The man had to run all the way back to Athens (13.1 miles so 26.2 roundtrip!) to say the ood and bad news. He did, but died on the spot. So that's why marathons are 26.2 miles!
• The Greeks won the first marathon in the first Olympics. Also pretty much the only thing they won that year.
• Nike means victory in Greek.
• Athens was the top city state in Greece at he time. Sparta decided they wanted to be. Each side gathered allies to battle. This war went on for 70 years and were called The Pelopenese wars. (they took place on the Pelopenese peninsula). Sparta ended up winning, but it was near the end of the golden age.....then Phillip of Macedonia came...
• King Phillip of Macedonia came and took over all the Greek states. He ended up being murdered and his son took over. You may have heard of his son.... Alexander the great!
• Alexander the great decided to not only continue his fathers legacy, but take it to the max. He decided he wanted the world. He beat the Persians and pushed east to India, and even china!
• Alex died young and his vast empire was broken up among his generals. Not as united as they had once been, the Romans ended up taking over them. Which is why if you were wondering from my Gallipoli post, why the Byzantines ( the east roman empire) spoke Greek!
• 1800s til the early 1900s, the Greeks were still ruled by the ottomans ( more details about all that in my other journal). The Greeks finally get it together to fight for independence. Britain and Russia helped. They decided Greece should have a king, but the Greeks said they didn't have a royal family! They said no prob and gave them one. They gave them Otto of Bavaria.
• Otto took one taste of the Greek beer and decided it was awful. He brought German beer technology over and that's why they have good beer now.
• Otto bavarian line stayed ruling Greece until 1970. The last one was king Phillip is married to queen Elizabeth the second, and he is always in the news for saying inappropriate things. The Bavarian royal family was in charged until the 70s when Greece decided they didn't want. Royal family nymore.
• In ww1, Greece allied with the allies. In ww2, they decided to be neutral.... Toooo bad because Italy ended up invading them anyway. When Italy decided they didn't want to be in. The war anymore and pulled out, so the nazis that were in Greece too killed all the Italian soldiers. This really threw the Greeks because the Italians were actually pretty nice to the occupied grreeks. Captain correlli's mandolin is supposd to be about this.
• Once the Italians were gone, the Germans shipped out the Jews. Thessonoliki (where I spent my first night) had a huge population of Jews. Thye fled there during the Spanish inquisition and the ottomans actually were surprisingly tolerant of other religions. They were actually the people that traveled the farthest to get to auschwitz-it took 11 nights. Because of that, 95% of the Jewish population was wiped out, so there isn't a strong Jewish population there anymore.
• When communism was spreading everywheree, it tried to come to Greece. There was a civil war to prevent it, but it took 30 years to fully stabilize from it. They even had a dictator at one point! Then in 1970, that's when they decided to kick out the royal family and get a president.
• Thessonoliki is where I spent my first night, the two monks that made the Cyrillic alphabet, alexander the great, and mustafa kamel were born here! Mustafa kamel is betteer known as Ataturk. My Gallipoli post has way more info about him.
• These has 800k people and is the second largest city. It was also the second most important city of the Byzantine empire besides constantinople.
Actually, this is a really long post. I'll make a new one about my experience in Greece :)