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OVERVIEW OF LEFKADA'S HISTORY

Edward Lear's etching of Lefkada 1863

7th century BC: Lefkada was colonised by the Corinthians, who first excavated the channel to enable the passage north of their ships. The island’s capital in those days, Nirikos, lay to the southeast of present-day Lefkada town at a distance of 2.5 km, between the villages of Kalligoni and Karyotes. Nirikos became the capital of the Akarnanian League from 272 to 197 BC. It had taken part in the Battle of Salamis, the Battle of Plataea and the Peloponnesian War (as allies of the Spartans). In 338 BC, it was conquered by Philip of Macedon. In 1970 it fiercely resisted the Romans but was eventually vanquished.

1204: The island is incorporated into the Despotate of Epirus.
1294: The Despot of Epirus, Nikiforos I, married his daughter Maria to Ioannes Orsini (later ‘Ruler of Kefallonia, Zakynthos and Lefkas’) giving him Lefkada as her dowry. Orsini built the kernel of the fort, still standing today at the tip of the island, on the side looking towards Akarnania, where the medieval capital of Aghia Mavra was situated.

1331 - 1362: The island is conquered by the Angevins. The place name Antzusis is a vestige of those times.
1357: The peasants of Lefkada rebel against the ‘Frank’ (as the Latins from the West were then called) Gratiano Zorzi (the rebellion is the subject of Valaoritis’ legendary Photeinos).

1362 - 1479: The island passes into the hands of the Tocco family.
1479: Ottoman conquest.
1502 - 1503: A short-lived Venetian occupation.
1503 - 1684: The island is re-conquered by the Turks
1684 - 1797: Reversion to Venetian sovereignty with a brief interval of Turkish rule between 1715-1716. The island’s capital is transferred from Kastro to today’s capital, previously named Amaxiki.

1797: The Republican French take control of the island.
1798 - 1807: Russo-Turkish occupation. From 1802, the island is part of the Republic of the Ionian Islands (also called Septinsular Republic) the first (semi-) independent Greek state -under Russo-Turkish ‘pro-tection’- since the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

1807 - 1810: The island is conquered by the Imperial French.
1810: Rule of the British, who incorporate it into what they called the United States of the Ionian Islands.
1819: Peasant uprising in Lefkada. Suppression, persecution, exe-cutions. Participation of Lefkadians in the 1821 Greek War of Independence.
1864: Lefkada is united with Greece, together with the other Ionian Islands.

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