Greece (English)Timeline: The Fires of God
Ελλάδα (Greek)Graecia (Latin)
"For the Senate and People of Rome"
"Hymn to the Emperor"
Greece (in green) and neighbouring countries as of 2015
(and largest city)
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|-||Prime Minister||Alexis Tsipras|
|-||Independence from the Persian Empire||1832|
Greece, officially known as the Hellenic State, the Byzantine Empire or the Eastern Roman Empire, is a country located in southeastern Europe. According to the 2011 census, Greece's population is around 10.8 million. Constantinople is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Athens, which is commonly referred to as the co-capital.
Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest and the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north. Greece consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin, featuring a vast number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,917 m (9,570 ft).
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece, which is considered the cradle of all Western civilization, including democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected in large part by its 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe and the world.
Spanning an assortment of independent city-states, the Greeks had for centuries resisted foreign domination before being unified by Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. Through his rapid conquest of the ancient world, Greek culture and science flourished, spreading from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River. Annexed by Rome in the second century BCE, Greece became an integral part of the Roman Empire. The Greek Orthodox Church, rooted in the first century CE, shaped the modern Greek identity while transmitting Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Following centuries of Persian rule, the nation state of Greece was established in 1830 following the war of independence. The modern nation of Greece is ruled by Emperor Constantine XIII, and considers itself to be the continuation of the Eastern Roman Empire, though this is a disputed claim.
Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities (precursor to the European Union) and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. It is also a member of NATO. Greece, which is one of the world's largest shipping powers and top tourist destinations, has the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor.