|Official Language||Greek, Albanian (Arvanitika)|
|Other Languages||Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Circassian, Gothic (both Anatolian and Crimean), Hungarian, Ladino, Romany, Venetian, Vlach, Xliponian, Yevanic, Yiddish|
|Main Religion||Eastern Orthodox Church (Ecumenical Patriarchate)|
|Other religions||Armenian Apostolic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Catholicism (Latin and Isidorian Rite), Lutheranism, Buddhism|
|Important Cities||Nafplion (former capital), Athens (former cultural capital), Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos, Larissa, Adrianople|
|Prime Minister||David Galanis|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy|
|Independence||1863 (From the Ottoman Empire)|
|Currency|| Mina; 1 mina = 80 drachmae = 480 oboloi|
1 Mina = £1 European
|Organizations||League of Mediterranean and Pontic Peoples, Community of Hellenophone States|
Early Modern History
Greece first gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1863. At the time, it consisted only of the Peloponnesos. The first monarch of an independant Greece was King George I, son of Archking Christian IX of the Scandinavian Realm. The coronation gift from Scotland consisted of several prominent pieces of the collection of Lord Elgin's Marbles, taken by the eccentric Scottish ambassador to the Sublime Porte in the 18th Century from the Mehmet Camii (now known as the Panagia i Atheniotissa [Παναγία η Αθηνιώτισσα], diocesan cathedral of Athens, known as the Parthenon in antiquity). Most Greeks remained under the Ottoman Empire at the time; in fact, much of the population of the fledgling state was made up not of Greek-speakers, but of Arvanites, the descendants of Christian colonists brought to repopulate the battered and war weary south of Greece from Albania by the Despotate of Ipeiros and the Laskarid-Palaiologan restoration of the Eastern Roman Empire. Greece longed to unite all the regions of the former Eastern Roman Empire under one Christian state, and so, during Great War II, longing to take back Anatolia from the Ottomans, they sided with Germany. At the height of Greek power during GWII, Greek holdings included not just Constantinople (which it had gained after the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First Great War), but also a large portion of the Aegean coastline of Turkey, which were ruled as a puppet "Cappadocian State", which, in a staged referendum, voted for union with Greece in 1945. Greece also controlled parts of Cyprus, and set up a "Regency for the Kingdom of Cyprus". When the German- Russian alliance fell apart, Greece reluctantly sided with Germany against its coreligionist, Russia. A separate peace treaty was signed with the Western allies in 1947, in which Greece returned the parts of Cyprus that it held and much of Anatolia. Shortly afterwards, a civil war broke out, the catalyst being anger over losing Greek gains. After a bloody civil war, a pro-SNOR Orthodox faction took over. Greece remained an ally of Russia, opposed to the CSDS, except during periods of brief anti-SNOR regimes.
Who Is a Greek: The Making of the Modern Greek-Identity
Contrary to popular belief, the people of the Eastern Roman Empire did not only refer to themselves as 'Romans' («Ῥωμαῖοι») in order to retain both their Roman citizenship and their ancient heritage. The people very much conscious of their uninterrupted continuity with the ancient Greeks. A common substitute for the term Hellene other than Romaios was the term 'Graikos' («Γραικός»). This term was used often by the Byzantines (along with Romaios) for ethnic self-identification. These careful distinctions between non-ethnic citizenship and ethnic heritage and the question about what the post-Ottoman Greeks were would be the first question on the minds of those in charge of the revolution and the people that they fought for.
During the War for Independence, the Arvanites were more politically adept and were able to push for their agenda, getting Arvanitika, their language, to be recognized as a co-official language and the state to be called "the Greco-Arvanite Kingdom" officially in Greek. Like *here*, the West thrusts an artificial mantle identity onto Greece, but internally, a compromise is made. "Roman" («Ρωμιός») refers to all citizens of the state, & "Hellene" to 'ethnic' Greeks (itself a murky term, but that can be defined by a thoroughly Greek education just like in the days of the Classical old, and who speaks Greek at home. Even into WWI, there were some monolingual Arvanites left so it was slightly easier to define). This staved off a purely ethnonationalist state ethos and its associated assimilationist policies. Vlachs & Arvanites kept their language & way of life for the most part & Jews can even come out of the woodwork and openly feel political kinship with their Christian neighbors for the first time ever. To summarize, «Ῥωμαῖοι» (or «Ρωμιοί») refer to all citizens of the state (usually, people are referred to as their ethnicity and then "-ρωμαῖοι," such as Turcoromans/«Τουρκορωμαίοι», Vlachoromans/«Βλαχορωμαίοι», etc), while «Ἕλληνες» refers to ethnic Greeks. «Γραικός» does as well, although for the most part, Greeks in countries such as the Two Sicilies or Turkey where it might be disadvantageous to be a Hellene, prefer this term.
Post-Great War History
Greece has had uneasy relations with her neighbors, which each country in the region coveting land that had been "theirs" in the past. There have particularly been problems with Turkey over Istanbul ("known as Scutari and Chalcedon") and Greek-inhabited areas (there were no population exchanges *there*). The Great Idea remained an element in foreign policy, sometimes dormant, sometimes dominant. This lead, in the 1970's, to the ruling junta supporting a coup in Cyprus, putting a pro-Greek party in power known as EOKA (Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών "National Organization of Cypriot Strugglers"), which staged a staged referendum calling for unification with Greece. Upon the declaration of this unification, the Commonwealth of Nations and Turkey participated in an allied invasion of Cyprus, forcing the Greeks to leave. Turkey also took the opportunity to push the Greeks out of Anatolia, although in several years after the fall of the Islamist party in power, they would return quietly back to their homes in what they referred to as 'The Great Excursion' (H Μεγάλη Εκδρομή). After this disastrous foreign adventure, the ruling regime was ousted in another coup for an anti-irredentist, non-aligned Leftist Party. However, during two election cycles later, yet another far-right party controlled by the military assumed power.
The Theodopoulos Coup
In the year 2000, a coup d'état lead by the centrist politician named Paul Theodopoulos overthrew the military-controlled government and their puppet King Constantine II (XIII) after he became disillusioned with the way the military-backed party was running the state. Their leader was declared King Paul II the following year in 2002, promising to bring about greater democracy and still maintain stability. King Paul undertook a number of reforms and he is remembered by his former subjects well. Shortly after crowning himself, he promulgated a new constitution, establishing greater freedoms and universal suffrage, in addition to religious freedoms (though the Orthodox Church remains rather close to the state). King Paul has declared a desire to improve Greece's foreign relations, and, in 2003, as part of this goal, formally apologized to the Cypriot Government for participating in the coup of the democratically-elected government in the 70's. He was able to re-establish normal diplomatic relations with Cyprus, Turkey, and the Commonwealth. In order to improve trade with the rest of Europe, he reformed the currency, re-establishing the mina as a monetary unit, setting it equal to the European pound, and redefining its divisions as 80 drachmae instead of the traditional 100 drachmae (thus, making the drachma equal to 3 European pence, and the obol equal to ½ penny)
But amidst the reforms, both real and cosmetic, a new wave of nationalism was starting to take hold in Greece, among other things giving rise to the Imperialist Party, which demanded a return to the glories of Greece under Pericles, Alexander and the Byzantine emperors of old. The government, still retaining at least the forms of representative democracy, found these tendencies a movement that needed placating.
Succession and RevolutionAlexandra, Duchess of Sparta was viewed as unacceptable by many. General strikes crippled whole cities. Petitions to abolish the monarchy or disinherit Alexandra were circulated, especially amongst the military units and their officers whom Paul was never fully able to keep out of the political process. The compromise that followed was for Alexandra to wed one of the most popular rising stars of the Imperialist Party, then-heir-apparent Konstantinos Palaiologos. The two would then reign jointly as King and Queen of the Hellenes.
General rejoicing was the response to news of the wedding, which took place within months of King Paul's passing and subsequent funeral in June of 2008. It coincided with the formation of a coalition government wherein the Imperialist Party held the greatest share of parliamentary seats (enough to be a plurality without the coalition partners, but not enough to be a majority).
Yet another crisis arose by the end of July. As the Imperialists insisted on their own policies (or "genuine reform" as they dubbed them), a Vote of No Confidence was held in the legislature which the government lost. A new general election was called and a short but fierce election campaign gave a resounding victory to the new Prime Minister David Galanis of the Imperialists.
One of his first declarations was an end to the "Kingdom of the Hellenes" and the beginning of a return to the official name of the Roman Empire. King Constantine XIII was proclaimed Emperor Constantine XII (in keeping with Byzantine numbering of monarchs). Likewise Galanis declared the government would be submitting a new constitution to the electorate within a year for their approval.
Constantine's initial rule was met with many difficulties. The new wave of irredentism scared foreign investors, and the Greek economy took a turn for the worse months after Constantine's ascendancy to the throne. The King himself was partially responsible for causing investors abroad to panic; he certainly fed into the extreme nationalist rhetoric of the people and said things that embarrassed him personally, the government that backed him fully, and the entire country (still known as Greece to nearly the entire rest of the world). The more it seemed Constantine spoke at political rallies calling for a full restoration of the Byzantine Empire, the more investors started to pull out of the country and the more the Drachma went into free fall. It was at that point that Constantine began to lose the support of his numerous backers, most notably the military. Protests were staged against him in front of the parliament in Constantinople, and in 2009, several leftist members of parliament even staged a walkout, protesting the gross ineptitude of the ruling party. In the 2010, the Imperialist Party and its political allies lost numerous seats, barely maintaining their majority of the parliament at 51%.
It was after this electoral scare that the upstart head of state began to mellow in his desires to rebuild the glory of the Byzantine Empire. Some say that the birth of his first child in 2010 was the catalyst that lead to Constantine Palaiologos' turn from irredentism although some argue that the declining economic status of the country from 2008-2012 is what really made him set aside such rhetoric in favor of a soft-power approach. Certainly, the years 2010-2012 are when the Emperor began to advocate more for the rights of Greeks and Orthodox Christians abroad than for any sort of return to "Greco-Roman values" and struggle for land rights. It was during this time that the Emperor called for the formation of both the "League of Mediterranean & Pontic Peoples" (Ο Σύνδεσμος των Mεσογειακών και Ποντιακών Λαών) as well as the Community of Hellenophone States (Η Κοινότητα των Ελληνόφωνων Κρατών). The former was formed "in order to better unite the Mediterranean and Black Sea Regions through free trade and mutual defense." To the surprise of many political analysts abroad, it was well received by the invitees. Albania, the Kingdom of Serbia, Ukrainian People's Republic, Libya, Egypt, Dominion of Cyprus, Republic of Dalmatia, Romanian Federation, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, as well as the Republics of Aydgea and the Don of The Russian Federation were all primary signatories (with the latter two as observers due to their membership in the Russian Federation). The new organization was extremely cautious and slow to implement policies, but even the most scathing critics and biggest skeptics of the union recognize that it's done a lot to simplify trade between members and increase the chance of stability in each region due to the mutual defense pact signed by the signatories. Now, even European Federation members, such as Aragon, the Two Sicilies, and Malta are said to be privately considering entering this union. The latter of Constantine's brainchildren, the Community of Hellenophone States, was created to keep the Greek language alive in indigenous Greek-communities around the world. Through its nonprofit Greek cultural association, the Homeric Institute (Tο Ιδρυμα Ομηρικού), Greece has done a lot to turn around its image as that of a paper tiger and into a culture center at the crossroads of three continents. Homeric Institutes operate freely in Berennekka, Durrës, Zalsan Agre, Chicago, Smyrna, several cities in Cyprus and along Crimea's coast, Antioch and Damascus, Perth, Melbourne, and several others. The Homeric Institute is set to inaugurate a branch in Fuzhou thanks to the numerous Orthodox Christian Hellenophiles there who made it possible to open a branch which traditionally never had more than a handful of Greek merchants every couple of centuries. What makes the Homeric Institute unique amongst the cultural institutes of other countries such as France or Castile and Leon is that the Homeric Institute tries to offer as many types of Greek as possible. Numerous linguists and literature majors from Greek universities are shipped abroad to teach Ancient/Homeric Greek, Biblical/Koine Greek, the standard Greek as regulated by the linguistic council in Athens, as well as the native dialect of the branch's region. A Greek from Crimea can go to Jalta in order to learn standard Greek to be able to communicate with other Hellenophones around the world as help students from the mainland preserve his own native dialect. Likewise, an Orthodox Goth from Mangup or Fuzhou can learn how to read the Bible in its original without feeling any sort of pressure to take Modern Standard Greek at all. Thanks to the second of the Emperor's creations, numerous dialects that would otherwise be swept up in the globalization process now stand at a chance at sticking around for awhile longer. These two bodies are some of the Emperor Constantine's biggest and best legacies.
Soon, stability returned to the country and with stability came international investment once more. Greece, never really an industrial power (although it had numerous factories in the north, most of which were lost to outsourcing in places like Albania or the dirt poor Sanjak in the late 1990's), finally found its niche in the world market as a producer of capital-intensive, "luxury" agricultural-goods. Greek olive oil and wine enjoy now a much greater popularity on the world stage and exports increased tenfold thanks to government subsidies going to the right businesses and just not all businesses. Tourism, always a crowd pleaser, began to reassert itself as tourists even from away as Japan and Beihanguo began to turn up to spend time on Greece's beaches as well as retrace the footsteps of Saint Paul in Kavala and Aristotle in Athens. Greece's favorable climate not only lent itself to good agricultural output and tourism for the physically-well, but to the elderly and infirmed. With an increased standard in living and commitment to much better healthcare as well as the increase in private hospitals and nursing homes and cheap cost of living in the country, retirees from Northern/Western Europe, Russia, and Japan began to move to seaside communities for the first time. As Greek nursing schools swelled in size, more and more nurses began to emerge onto the labor market where they were picked up by newer and newer private hospitals which attempted to outdo the other in terms of quality (and price).
The final stage in Greece's economic success story began in late 2010. Previously, the politicians in charge of the country had favored import-substitution industrialization, although this process had never once worked. The new government instead decided that it wanted to try export-oriented industrialization instead even as it was subsidizing capital-intensive agricultural businesses. Greece severely lacked infrastructure, as well as an international train system which had been closed off after the Second Great War when the northern countries went communist. Using state funds, Parliament approved the King's proposal to begin numerous great works to improve Greece's ports, railroads, and roads. The Via Egnatia highway (not the same one from the Roman Era) which connected Constantinople to Thessaloniki was repaved, widened, and extended through Ioannina (an important bordertown) to the Xliponian capital, Bovlai in February of 2011. The rusty, narrow railroads in most parts of the country were torn up and replaced with more wider and sturdier tracks in order to move more goods faster from port cities around the country. In March 2012, work began on a high speed rail project that was determined to connect Constantinople to Nafplion. Despite setbacks, work continued at a decent pace (this was the Emperor's personal pet project and he cleared the way through all the bureaucratic red tape, firing anyone found to be corrupt or too inept by one of his internal investigation agencies) and is set to be completed by October of 2016 with the inaugural run set for the last day of the same month. Later on in the year 2011, work began on a smaller, more direct high speed rail system specifically built to get freight between Patras and Constantinople by way of Athens, Larissa, and Thessaloniki. This line, although farther, had much less stops and was simpler to build. The freight high speed rail service was finished late in 2015 with little to no fanfare. The passenger trains will be able to safely travel at 300 km/h and the freight trains now go at a maximum speed of 200 km/h. Thanks to a complete legal overhaul in 2009-2010 which greatly simplified doing business in Greece, Greece's credit score went up for the first time in decades, which secured greater investment and foreign loans. The railroads played no small part in assuring investors the world over that for the first time possibly ever, Greece was committed to economic development and stability. Now, goods were being unloaded in Patras and Nafplion and making it Thessaloniki and Constantinople in record times. Greece's location also was instrumental and linking up its bustling ports and now smoother highways and faster rail with the rest of the Continent. Some European shipping companies even bemoan the ease of getting their goods from one end of Greece to another and then onwards through old track in Bulgaria and Dalmatia built during the communist era. It has become easier to get goods from the entire length of Greece than it did from the length of the Bulgarian province of Macedonia, from the Greek border to Skopia and Tetovo into Dalmatia. It was precisely Greece's fortunate location that lent it to export-oriented industrialization and connection to the greater European markets.
For the first time ever, the Greek Government's more authoritarian characteristics became its strength, not its weakness. The Imperialist Party, at the Emperor's behest, was able to introduce a new, streamlined law code to make business and lawsuits easier to do in Greece without much input from the rest of parliament, dedicated to the memory of the Emperor Justinian (much of the terminology in the laws is derived from the Roman tradition). Although a risky move, it did pay off because international businesses took note. Likewise, government ownership of much of Greece's infrastructure as well as ailing companies meant that work on them could begin as soon as possible without having to go through private owners to convince them they badly needed reform. Curiously, though, as the smaller Greek-owned businesses began to become lucrative, they were sold to private firms at fair prices. As quickly as Greece created small companies to do anything from process bauxite into alumina/aluminum oxide to build software for aerospace technology, they were sold. A new era of a high rate of development has finally begun in the country that had been the laughing stock of the European Continent for decades.
There was however, one minor setback. On the 15th of July, 2015, there was a sudden and unexpected coup attempt by the Greek military. The military, having brought Constantine Palaiologos into this world, believed that it could take him out after they were extremely dissatisfied with his policies meant to bring greater rapprochement in the Eastern Mediterranean in the name of economic development. He was tried in-absentia and found guilty of "insulting Hellenism in the name of pure profit" and "being a tool for foreign oligarchs" while he was vacation on his private island of Hersonisos in the Petalioi island chain off the coast of southwestern Euboea (where his maternal family hails from), he was overthrown by his detractors. The military attempted to take over government buildings in Constantinople, Nafplio, and Athens, with mixed results. After 15 years without a coup, the people had become happy to finally settle down, and they absolutely did not stand by idly while the military attempted to have its way. All aspects of society took to the streets to say enough was enough; the trade unions, the Church hierarchs, the parliamentarians, and people from all non-political walks of life had taken to the streets in protest. Even factions of the military such as the Navy and Air Force sided with their sovereign. The rogue army colonels grossly overestimated their support, and within 24 hours' time and after nearly two dozen deaths and over a hundred casualties reported in the cities, the rebels were subdued and arrested with habeas corpus suspended by imperial fiat. With this, in hindsight rather minor revolt of perhaps no more than 3,000-5,000 armed soldiers, Constantine was able to do what his predecessor could not; he was able to neuter the military and finally box it out of the political sphere. The military was placed in the hands of civilian control and the internal investigative agencies set up by King Paul and enlarged by his nephew-in-law were finally able to get their hands on all ledgers and documents kept by the military. Every single colonel but two were sacked without a severance package and with their bonuses slashed. A new constitution was ratified unanimously by parliament that explicitly set up the parameters of how the military could operate and what it could and could not do. In effect, its role was relegated to only defense of the country and patrolling the land, air, and sea borders (the Sultans' Air Force loved flying through Greek air space whenever it pleased). Numerous soldiers were sent back into civilian life and most of the generals who had been in charge since even as long as the 1970's were forced into retirement. The military's budget was slashed in half and those funds that were to be allocated to spending on the military were now being re-allocated to farm subsidies and social services. The weapons-manufacturing factories in Greece were sold, mostly to conglomerates in the HRE and Russia but also to much smaller, native companies. This was a first for Greece; the people had made it clear that they were no longer going to allow their country to be torn apart by the cycle of dictators and military coups. The monarch had finally fulfilled his job, as that of a unifier for all of society. Now, the Emperor and the civilian government had no one to oppose them.
Some speculate that Greece will be applying to membership into the European Federation, although Constantine refuses to comment on such rumours in official interviews. He maintains that much needs to be done in Greece and that for now, the free trade agreement with other Mediterranean and Black Sea countries is more than enough for Greece to sustain itself with. However, the small, Mediterranean nation has a way of surprising the world, and more is yet to come for the small success story of the eastern Med.
- 1 Drachma (Η δραχμή) (½d European)
- 2 Oboloi (Diobol; 1d European)
- 1 Drachma (3d)
- 2 Drachmae (Didrachm; 6d)
- 4 Drachmae (Tetradrachm; 1/-)
- 10 Drachmae (2/6)
- 20 Drachmae (5/-)
- 40 Drachmae (10/-)
- Mina (ἡ μνᾶ)
- Talent (Το Ταλέντιο) (60 mina)
- 5 Talents (300 mina)
- 10 Talents (600 mina)
- 20 Talents (1200 mina)
The Imperialist Party (To Aὐτοκρατορικό Kόμμα Ῥώμανίας/Ἑλλάδος)
Though one might say Eastern Orthodoxy is even stronger in IB Greece, less of the population is actually Eastern Orthodox. With there being a much stronger Jewish population *there* and a New-Age movement combining elements of Orthodox with Buddhism, only 90% of Greece belongs to the Eastern Orthodox Church (as opposed to 97% *here*). Recently, after the ban of discrimination of religious minorities in Greece, Greek Muslims exiled after GWII and now Muslim immigrants have begun to pour in, holding as of now, a noticeable portion of the non-Orthodox population. Judaism in Greece has had a long history, having arrived six-hundred years before Christianity. When the rest of Western Europe began expelling Jews, they settled in Ottoman Greece, mostly in Thessaloniki. With no Holocaust, Thessaloniki's Jewish population rose to 60% of the city. Islam was introduced with the advent of the Ottoman Empire. Although during the Ottoman era there were no legal distinctions amongst the Muslim populace and in daily parlance "Muslim" is synonymous with "Turkish," this is a misnomer. During the twilight of the Empire, refugees from the north poured south, who were ethnic Magyars, Slavs, Circassians, and Tatars. To this day, there is a Muslim populace crowded around Lake Prespa, about 10% of the city of Thessaloniki is Muslim, and numerous Muslim communities still exist in Crete, the Dodecanese, Macedonia, and Thrace, even after the permanent exodus of the Ottoman Empire from Europe. Catholics form a majority of the population on the island of Syros (51%) and are a significant minority on the islands of Naxos, Tinos, Mykonos, Crete, and the Ionian Isles. Many Catholics trace their ancestry back to the Catalan Company mercenaries who settled there as well as the Venetians and Genoese who took control of parts of the region after the Frankish colonies fell apart during the Roman resurgence and the rise of the Ottomans. Because of this, Catholicism is divided evenly between Greek-speaking Isidorian Rite Catholics on Syros, Tinos, Rhodes, and Naxos with Latin Rite, and Latin Rite Venetian speakers in Crete and the Ionian Isles. Armenians, Levantines, Italians, Kemrese, and forced or nominal converts would swell their ranks and help bolster the ranks of the faith around the country. Many would convert to Orthodoxy and bring their cultures with them into Orthodoxy. For this reason, many Orthodox Christians in the Cyclades and Crete utilize the architectural and artistic styles of their old Latin overlords. Lutherans in Greece are some of the country's newest religious minorities. In the 1860's, the Danish King George brought thousands of young, Danish and German professionals with him in order to develop his new kingdom and bring it kicking-and-screaming into the modern era. These Danes and Germans came as schoolteachers, architects, engineers, soldiers, administrators, and even farmers to bring farming practices in Greece up to speed. Although more than half would return to their home countries within a few decades' time, many stayed, having children with local women and preserving their faith even after King George's children were baptized into the Orthodox Church. These Northern Europeans tended to cluster together in the small neighborhood of Anavathmon in Nafplion and Palaio Irakleion in Athens. These two neighborhoods were built from the ground up, so they were all completely constructed in the Danish-style. By the early 20th Century, almost the entire population spoke Greek, and after the Second Great War, both communities completely shifted to Greek. For the first time, in the 1950's, they celebrated their church services in Greek, not Danish or German. A curious practice of these two small communities was to send for wives from not just Denmark and Germany, but Banat in the Ottoman Empire where the Bulgarian-speakers of the region had converted en-masse to Lutheranism along with the local Saxon populace in the 16th Century. For this reason, many Helleno-Danes of Anavathmon and Palaio Irakleion are of Slavic ancestry and occasionally even have names that are neither of Germanic nor Hellenic origin. As Greece became a tourism mecca in the mid to late 20th Century, many of these Helleno-Danes cashed in the trend and attracted numerous establishments for numerous German and Scandinavian tourists. Nowadays, thanks to exogamy, many of these Greeks of Danish/German ancestry are also Eastern Orthodox. It's not uncommon to find an Orthodox Christian in the cities of Nafplion or Athens who speaks rudimentary Danish he was taught by his grandmother, or a Lutheran whose family hasn't spoken Danish for three generations. The Aragonese language has mostly died out in the Cyclades, mostly hiding in loanwords in the local dialect, although there is still an Aragonese-speaking community in the extreme northern tip in Rhodes as well as a twin community of Isidorian Rite Catholics in the city of Nueva Alicarnà now known as Selimiye who mostly only speak Aragonese in private after successive regimes of Turkish nationalist and Islamist governments. There are about 100,000 indigenous Catholics roughly split between the Isidorian and Latin Rites and approximately 40,000 Lutherans.
Ethnic Groups of Greece
Arvanites & Vlachs. Jews The biggest portion of the non Orthodox-Christian population made up of Romaniotes (the largest group), Sephardim (the second largest), Ashkenazim (the smallest group). The next largest portion of the non Orthodox-Christian community. Made up of Turks, Magyars, Slavic Muslims, and Dönmeh (a messianic Jewish group who converted to Islam at the behest of their ousted leader). In the late 19th Century, after the empires of Russia, Austria-Dalmatia, and Hungary began to gain ground against the Ottomans, hundreds of thousands if not millions of Muslim refugees fled southward with the Ottoman state. As such, the panicked Ottoman government settled these now homeless refugees in what is today northern Greece, mostly in the far northwest corner near what are now Bulgaria and Albania. Most were Hungarian Muslims, Bosniak Dalmatians, or South Slavs, and as such, numerous hamlets named Slavochori (Σλάβοχώρι), Vosnochori (Βοσνοχώρι) and Mayiarochori (Μαγυαροχώρι) sprouted up along the shores of Lake Vitola. When the area was awarded to Greece in 1919, most non-Turkish Muslim communities went out of their way to welcome the new Greek occupiers, offering bread-and-salt to soldiers as a way of greeting them and wishing peace upon them (a very old Slavic custom that no doubt the Greeks understood from their interaction with their Bulgarian coreligionists). For this reason, in 20th Century Greek slang, "αλατοψώμιδες" (lit. "salt-breaders") came to be used jokingly to refer to the country's Muslim subjects. The terms of the treaty that gave Macedonia and Thrace made stipulations that Greece had to respect local custom and not bother the religious sensibilities of the community. For those Muslims in the city of Constantinople and other urban areas, the more liberal Greek state of the time decided to utilize them as potential voters and courted them as new constituents. In the rural areas, a policy of benign neglect ensued; the Muslim villagers were left to their own devices to worship as they please and speak whatever they wanted. It is for this reason that to this day, many Muslims in Macedonia and Thrace still speak the languages of their ancestors. Roma have been present in the Byzantine Empire since the late 10th Century. They make up an estimated 1.5%-2%, although it is very difficult to gauge their numbers because the vast majority to this day are still nomadic or semi-nomadic, with only perhaps four or five villages of permanently settled Roma. Unlike its neighbour to the north, the Bulgaria, Greece never tried forcibly settling its Roma populace into villages or cities. There are approximately 250,000 Armenians in Greece. Most are Oriental Orthodox Christians, although a small number of them are Eastern Orthodox, the descendants of refugees from inland Anatolia who felt more comfortable in the new Constantinople than the Republic of Armenia dominated by their Oriental Orthodox brethren, who call them "Cayt" or "Tzatoi" (Τζα̑τοι, Τζα̑θοι). Still an even smaller number are Catholics, the descendants of those Armenians who went into schism in the 15th Century and entered into communion with Rome. Approximately 50,000-60,000 Greeks are of German and/or Scandinavian Ancestry. These people are the descendants of Germans & Danes the first King of Greece, George, called to follow him to Nafplion. They were mostly young professionals with backgrounds in engineering, teaching, or the military. Although many of these Danes & Germans went home, even more stayed, forming their own unique neighborhoods in Nafplion & Athens. Around 200,000 people in Greece are considered Levantines, "ethnic Catholics" of mixed Iberian, Kemrese, Italian, Catalan, French, English, & Armenian origin. Around 100,000-106,000 are religiously Orthodox at this point, especially in the city of Rethymnon in Crete where Venetian is still widely spoken, and Lesbos, Naxos, & Chios, where one can get by with even a scant knowledge of Genoese. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Ethiopians, Filipinos, Arabs, and Circassians (more or less all Eastern or Oriental Orthodox) have also moved to Greece, a country which served as a safe haven for anti-Russian, Orthodox Christians, particularly the Circassians. It estimated that there could be up to a million and a half people descended from Syrian refugees that fled to Greece after the 1955 Muslim coup alone; this figure would not count Muslims that can trace their ancestry back to Arab colonists sent to Greece during Ottoman rule, or much more recent Lebanese, other Syrian, and Christian Arabs coming from Judea. There is also an Assyrian archbishopric in Constantinople to suit the needs of the ethnic Assyrian, Borneian-Filipino, and Turkestani populations. Another group calling Greece home are the so-called Black Greeks («Οι Μαύροι Ρωμιοί»), the mixed descendants of both former slaves held by Cyrenaicans who had been there for centuries as well as more recent and willing immigrants to Libya from Nilo-Saharan ethnic groups of the Upper Nigervolta & Cordofania. They were so overjoyed to be given new economic and political opportunities and be respected by the Greek colonial government that the long-oppressed and highly heterogenous group mass-converted to Orthodox Christianity, abandoned their dialect of Cyrenaican for standard Greek, and threw themselves into their new culture with gusto. When decolonization began & Qaddafi's subsequent coup happened, many fled with their "white" countrymen to Greece, where they were set up in villages, towns, & cities across Greece. A small amount of those from the older generation usually have their own accent, a relic of a bygone era (after all, the oldest of the Black Greeks can still remember their birthplace of the Upper Nigervolta & their Nilo-Saharan mother tongues or the unique Cyrenean dialect of Greek spoken by slaves before the standard Greek based off what was spoken in Constantinople). Because of their "Romiosyne" & the perception of them being "more Greek than the Greeks themselves" they were hailed as heroes coming from Libya and elevated for the international community to see as a sort of "model minority," not mistrusted as some newcomer immigrant groups. They even benefited from an affirmative action program started by the Theodopoulos Government of the late 1990's that is still in effect to this day.
Nearly 42.8% of the people of Greece live in urban areas. Greece's largest and most influential metropolitan centres are those of Constantinople and Nafplion, which is commonly referred to in Greek as the "συμπρωτεύουσα" (lit. "co-capital"), with metropolitan populations of approximately 6.15 million and 1 million inhabitants respectively. Greece's second largest city is actually Thessaloniki, which has a little over 3 million inhabitants (many of them Jewish). Athens was considered as a possible capital immediately after independence especially to conform to the Western European pressure that Greece should harken back to its classical roots, but in the end, it was not chosen over Nafplion with its natural harbor. Instead, Athens was Greece's first planned city. It had grown into great disrepair during the Ottoman era, with most of its populace being Arvanite (Christian Albanian) or Muslim Albanian. All Islamic influences in the city were removed; the Parthenon (Our Lady of Athens, a cathedral since the days of Justinian with a 200 year period as a Catholic Church and 100 year period as a mosque)'s minaret was torn down, and the mosque built inside Hadrian's library was torn down. The city was built on a grid system and rebuilt in the neo-classical style. As such, along with Nafplion and Patras, it is one of Greece's more 'Western' cities. Due to its noble history under the Athenian Republic, Athens (along with the Byzantine city of Ioannina on the Xliponian border) has become very much a college town, with some of Greece's best universities housed here. Αthens has approximately 950,000 people. Other prominent cities with urban populations above 100,000 inhabitants include those of Patras (500,000), Heraklion (225,000), Ioannina (200,000), Larissa (177,000), Volos (176,000), Adrianople (173,000) Raidestos (169,000), Alexandroupoli (120,000), Chania (115,000), Rhodes (110,000), Karystos (105,000), and Grevena (100,000).
Greece's imperial capital is Constantinople, an ancient city founded by the people of Megara as the colony of Vyzantion (Byzantium). It was only named "Constantinople" during the reign of the Roman Emperor and Saint, Constantine the Great. It served as the new Roman capital for nearly 1,100 years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks on Tuesday, November 29th, 1453 (a bit different from our world). The Turks renamed it "Konstantiniyye" (قسطنطینية), and was their imperial capital until their capitulation in the First Great War. Under the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, all of the remaining European possessions of the Ottoman Empire, the shoreline of the Çatalca-Kocaeli Peninsula, and the North Aegean Islands were awarded to Greece. On August 15th, 1919, Greek forces entered the city of Konstantiniyye after the gates were opened by the occupying Anglo-Kemrese joint force. At that time, 31% of the city was Greek and they came out in the thousands to celebrate the return of the city to Christian rule. The Turkish populace, meanwhile, considered August 15th a day of mourning, decorating each of their 3,000 mosques in black (with the Jewish community ambivalent and the Armenians hopeful but still apprehensive). The treaty guaranteeing Constantinople to Greece was signed by the Allied Powers and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Almost immediately, Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Hagia Sophia, which the Muslims had taken from Christendom in 1453 and which the Christians took back from the Muslims nearly five centuries later. A jubilant Greece began to immediately begin to restore the Hagia Sophia to its former glory. The utmost archaeological care was taken in refurbishing the building to look exactly how it would have during the reign of Emperor Justinian. Likewise, the Fatih Mosque and the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque were confiscated from the Muslim community; the former was once more named the Church of the Holy Apostles and the Sultanahmet Mosque, built over the grounds of the Imperial Palace, was converted into the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen. While neither were not torn down and rebuilt to fit the neo-Byzantine aesthetic of the city, their minarets each were dynamited, and the interiors were scraped out and replaced with mosaics and frescoes and an altar complete with an iconostasis. The new Church of the Holy Apostles was also given commemorative placards for each of the Roman emperors previously buried there and disturbed by the Catholics in 1204. The Sultan's palace, Dolmabahçe, was now the Greek Royal Family's Constantinopolitan residence. In order to pay for the numerous restoration projects, the other Ottomans imperial possessions, such as Yıldız Palace, were sold to private families, namely the Russian nobles fleeing the civil war raging in the former Russian Empire. While the Muslims were left with many thousands of mosques, their largest and most historic ones were all confiscated, causing a moral panic and exodus to the east. Many of these refugees would have no choice but to flee back west again into Greece after the Ottoman Civil War broke out between loyalist and republican forces, although they would not be allowed to settle back into their hometown (for many Greeks had already moved into these Turks' former homes), and were resettled into shanty towns across Thrace and Macedonia. Constantinople became an artistic and economic jewel in the region (shipping through the Dardanelles never stopped being lucrative, even during the Russian Civil War) and attracted people from all over the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and Levant. After the Second Great War, the Greek city received a crippling blow. Greece capitulated to the Allies in 1947, who occupied the city and the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits. In 1949, the Allies used the previous Treaty of Versailles against the Greek state, combining all cities and towns on the eastern side of the Bosporus Strait into the new city of "İstanbul," administratively separate from Constantinople and its environs on the western side. The Allies maintained that they would honor the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and let Greece keep Constantinople, but it could not keep Istanbul, named after the antiquated, Greek colloquialism "Εἰς τήν πόλιν," meaning "to the City [of Constantinople] which had entered into the Turkish lexicon as "İstanbul". Rather embarrassingly however, after decreeing that the Ottoman Empire would receive the new city of İstanbul, the Allied powers forgot all about the islands around the Straits, such as Imvros, Tenedos, the Rabbit Islands, the Princes' Islands, and Kalolimnos. All islands off the coast of Thrace and northwest Anatolia stayed in Greek possession. Although the monarchs would go back and forth between the two capitals of Nafplion and Constantinople for 90 years, it was the Imperialist Party and Emperor Constantine Palaiologos who would settle the Greek capital there permanently in 2009, slowly easing the country into the transition of one executive, legislative, and judicial capital. With 7,100,000 people, it is Greece's largest, most important, and most cosmopolitan city.
Arms of the Kingdom
Coat of Arms
|Attiki | Thessaloniki | Central Greece | West Makedonia | Krētē | Adrianople | Rhodos| Kırklareli | Constantinople | Central Greece | Central Macedonia | East Makedonia and Thrakē | Ípiros | The Ioanian Islands | North Aegean | Peloponnesos | South Aegean | West Greece|
|GRE | Makedonia|
|Realm Capital Territories|
|Athena | Constantinople ||