Peloponnese

Peloponnese

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The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 (technically an island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 since the 1893 construction of the Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through...

), located in a region
Regions of Greece
The traditional geographic divisions of Greece were also the official administrative subdivisions of Greece until the 1987 administrative reform )...

 of southern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth
Gulf of Corinth
The Gulf of Corinth or the Corinthian Gulf is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece...

. During the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and the Ottoman era
Ottoman Greece
Most of Greece gradually became part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century until its declaration of independence in 1821, a historical period also known as Tourkokratia ....

, the peninsula was known as the Morea
Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

, a name still in colloquial use.

The peninsula is divided among three regions of Greece
Regions of Greece
The traditional geographic divisions of Greece were also the official administrative subdivisions of Greece until the 1987 administrative reform )...

: most of it belongs to the Peloponnese region, and parts belong to the West Greece
West Greece
West Greece is one of the thirteen regions of Greece. It comprises the western part of continental Greece and the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.- Administration :...

 and Attica regions.

The Peloponnese is the heartland of Old Greece (Παλιά Ελλάδα), and it was here that the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 began. Since then, the Peloponnesians have had an almost total dominance of politics and government in Greece, and most of the leading personalities of the modern Greek state have been of Peloponnesian origin.

Geography



The Peloponnese covers an area of some 21,549.6  km² (8,320 square miles) and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. While technically it may be considered an island, since the construction of the Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal
The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through...

 in 1893 – like other peninsulas that have been separated from their mainland by man-made bodies of waters – it is rarely, if ever, referred to as an "island". It has two land connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

, and an artificial one in the shape of the Rio-Antirio bridge
Rio-Antirio bridge
The Rion-Antirion bridge , officially the Charilaos Trikoupis bridge after the statesman who first envisaged it, is the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge...

 (completed 2004).

The peninsula has a mountainous interior and deeply indented coasts, with Mount Taygetus
Taygetus
Mount Taygetus, Taugetus, or Taigetus is a mountain range in the Peloponnese peninsula in Southern Greece. The name is one of the oldest recorded in Europe, appearing in the Odyssey. In classical mythology, it was associated with the nymph Taygete...

 its highest point at 2,407 m. It possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenia
Messenia
Messenia is a regional unit in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese region, one of 13 regions into which Greece has been divided by the Kallikratis plan, implemented 1 January 2011...

n peninsula, the Mani Peninsula
Mani Peninsula
The Mani Peninsula , also long known as Maina or Maïna, is a geographical and cultural region in Greece. Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese in southern Greece. To the east is the Laconian Gulf, to the west the Messenian Gulf...

, the Cape Malea
Cape Malea
Cape Maleas is a peninsula and cape in the southeast of the Peloponnese in Greece. To distinguish it from the cape, the peninsula is sometimes referred to as "Epidavros Limira" peninsula, after the most prominent ancient city located on it. It separates the Laconian Gulf in the west from the...

 peninsula (also known as Epidaurus Limera), and the Argolid
Argolis
Argolis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

 in the far northeast of the Peloponnese.

Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesan coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, and the Ionian Islands
Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e...

 to the west. The island of Kythera, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands.

History




The peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, specifically the legend of the hero Pelops
Pelops
In Greek mythology, Pelops , was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. He was the founder of the House of Atreus through his son of that name....

, who was said to have conquered the entire region. The name Peloponnesos means "Island of Pelops".

Mainland Greece's (and Europe's) first major civilization, the Aegean (or Mycenaean) civilization
Aegean civilization
Aegean civilization is a general term for the Bronze Age civilizations of Greece around the Aegean Sea. There are three distinct but communicating and interacting geographic regions covered by this term: Crete, the Cyclades and the Greek mainland. Crete is associated with the Minoan civilization...

, dominated the Peloponnese in the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, from the stronghold at Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

 in the north-east of the peninsula. The Mycenean civilization collapsed suddenly at the end of the 2nd millennium BC, with many of its cities and palaces showing signs of destruction. The subsequent period, known as the Greek Dark Ages
Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

, is marked by an absence of written records. In 776 BC, the first Olympic Games were held at Olympia, and this date is sometimes used to denote the beginning of the classical period of Greek antiquity. During classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, the Peloponnese was at the heart of the affairs of ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, possessed some of its most powerful city-states, and saw some of its bloodiest battles. It was the site of the cities of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

, Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

, Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 and Megalopolis
Megalopolis, Greece
Megalópoli is a town in the western part of the peripheral unit of Arcadia, southern Greece. It is located in the same site as ancient Megalopolis . "Megalopolis" is a Greek word for Great city. When it was founded, in 371 BC, it was the first urbanization in rustic and primitive Arcadia. In...

, and was the homeland of the Peloponnesian League
Peloponnesian League
The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.- Early history:By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state...

. The peninsula was involved in the Persian Wars and was the scene of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 of 431 BC-404 BC. It fell to the expanding Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 in 146 BC and became the province of Achaea
Achaea (Roman province)
Achaea, or Achaia, was a province of the Roman Empire, consisting of the Peloponnese, eastern Central Greece and parts of Thessaly. It bordered on the north by the provinces of Epirus vetus and Macedonia...

. During the Roman period
Roman Greece
Roman Greece is the period of Greek history following the Roman victory over the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC until the reestablishment of the city of Byzantium and the naming of the city by the Emperor Constantine as the capital of the Roman Empire...

, the peninsula remained prosperous but became a provincial backwater, relatively cut off from the affairs of the wider Roman world
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.

Middle Ages


After the partition of the Empire in 395, the Peloponnese became a part of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. The devastation of Alaric
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

's raid in 396–397 led to the construction of the Hexamilion wall
Hexamilion wall
The Hexamilion wall is a defensive wall constructed across the Isthmus of Corinth guarding the only land route into the Peloponnese peninsula from mainland Greece.- Early fortifications :...

 across the Isthmus of Corinth. Through most of Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

, the peninsula retained its urbanized character: in the 6th century, Hierocles
Hierocles (author of Synecdemus)
Hierocles or Hierokles was a Byzantine geographer of the sixth century and the attributed author of the Synecdemus or Synekdemos, which contains a table of administrative divisions of the Byzantine Empire and lists of the cities of each...

 counted 26 cities in his Synecdemus
Synecdemus
The Synecdemus or Synekdemos is a geographic text, attributed to Hierocles, which contains a table of administrative divisions of the Byzantine Empire and lists of the cities of each. The work is dated to the reign of Justinian but prior to 535, as it divides the 912 listed cities in the Empire...

. By the latter part of that century however, building activity seems to have stopped, either because of the devastation caused by Slavic incursions or because of a more general urban decline. The scale of the Slavic incursions and settlement in the later 6th and especially in the 7th century remain a matter of dispute. The Slavs did occupy most of the peninsula, as evidenced by Slavic toponyms, with the exception of the eastern coast, which remained in Byzantine hands. The latter was included in the thema of Hellas
Hellas (theme)
The Theme of Hellas was a Byzantine military-civilian province located in southern Greece. The theme encompassed parts of Central Greece, Thessaly and, until circa 800, the Peloponnese...

, established by Justinian II
Justinian II
Justinian II , surnamed the Rhinotmetos or Rhinotmetus , was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian Dynasty, reigning from 685 to 695 and again from 705 to 711...

 ca. 690. Under Nikephoros I
Nikephoros I
Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I, Logothetes or Genikos was Byzantine emperor from 802 to 811, when he was killed in the Battle of Pliska....

, following a Slavic revolt and attack on Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

, a determined Hellenization
Hellenization
Hellenization is a term used to describe the spread of ancient Greek culture, and, to a lesser extent, language. It is mainly used to describe the spread of Hellenistic civilization during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon...

 process was carried out. According to the Chronicle of Monemvasia, in 805 the Byzantine governor of Corinth went to war with the Slavs, obliterated them, and allowed the original inhabitants to claim their own; the city of Patras was recovered and the region re-settled with Greeks. Many Slavs were resettled to Anatolia and many Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

n, Sicilian and Calabrian Greeks were resettled in the area, and the inclusion of the entire peninsula in the new thema of Peloponnesos, with its capital at Corinth. There was also continuity of the Peloponnesian Greek population. That the process of re-Hellenization was successful suggests Slavs found themselves in the midst of many Greeks. It is doubtful that such large number could have been transplanted into Greece in the 9th century; thus there surely had been many Greeks remaining in Greece and continuing to speak Greek throughout the period of Slavic occupation. By the end of the 9th century the Peloponnese was culturally and administratively Greek again, with the exception of a few small Slavic tribes in the mountains such as the Melingoi
Melingoi
The Melingoi or Milingoi were a Slavic tribe that settled in the Peloponnese in southern Greece during the Middle Ages. Proto-Slavic tribes settled throughout the Balkans following the collapse of the Byzantine Empire's defense of the Danube frontier in the early decades of the 7th century, with...

 and Ezeritai
Ezeritai
The Ezeritai were a Slavic tribe settled in the Peloponnese in southern Greece during the Middle Ages.Southern Slavs settled throughout the Balkans following the collapse of the East Roman defenses of the Danube frontier in the early 7th century, with some groups reaching as far south as the...

. Although they were to remain relatively autonomous until Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 times, such tribes were the exception rather than the rule. Following the Arab capture of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 in the 820s, the Peloponnese suffered greatly from repeated Arab raids. After the island was recovered by Byzantium in 961 however, the region entered a period of renewed prosperity, where agriculture, commerce and urban industry flourished.

In 1205, following the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the forces of the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, the Crusaders under William of Champlitte
William of Champlitte
William I of Champlitte was a French knight who joined the Fourth Crusade and became the first prince of Achaea .- Early years and the Fourth Crusade :...

 and Geoffrey of Villehardouin
Geoffrey I of Villehardouin
Geoffrey I of Villehardouin was a French knight from the County of Champagne who joined the Fourth Crusade. He participated in the conquest of the Peloponnese and became the second prince of Achaea ....

 marched south through mainland Greece and conquered the Peloponnese against sporadic local Greek resistance. The Franks
Frangokratia
The Frankokratia or Frangokratia , also known as Latinokratia is the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade , when a number of Western European Crusader states were established in Greece, on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire .The term derives from the fact that Orthodox...

 then founded the Principality of Achaea
Principality of Achaea
The Principality of Achaea or of the Morea was one of the three vassal states of the Latin Empire which replaced the Byzantine Empire after the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. It became a vassal of the Kingdom of Thessalonica, along with the Duchy of Athens, until Thessalonica...

, nominally a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 of the Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

, while the Venetians
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 occupied a number of strategically important ports around the coast such as Monemvasia
Monemvasia
Monemvasia is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 metres above sea level, up to...

, Pylos
Pylos
Pylos , historically known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It was the capital of the former...

 and Koroni
Koroni
Koroni or Coroni is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is a municipal unit. Known as Corone by the Venetians and Ottomans, the town of Koroni Koroni or Coroni is a...

, which they retained into the 15th century. The Franks popularized the name Morea
Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

for the peninsula, which first appears as the name of the Frankish Castle of Mouria in Gortynia
Gortynia
Gortynia is a municipality in the Arcadia peripheral unit, Peloponnese Periphery, Greece. The seat of the municipality is the town Dimitsana.-Municipality:...

 during the 13th century.The Castle of Mouria was part of the Baronies of Akova - Mategrifon,Passava,Dafni Kalavriton, property of The Sovereign Princess Heiress of Morea Margarita of Akova-Mouria, the Lady of the Bridge of Ladona river who is lake today. Frankish supremacy in the peninsula however received a critical blow after the Battle of Pelagonia
Battle of Pelagonia
The Battle of Pelagonia took place in September of 1259, between the Empire of Nicaea and the Despotate of Epirus, Sicily and the Principality of Achaea...

, when William II of Villehardouin
William II of Villehardouin
William II of Villehardouin, was the last Villehardouin prince of Achaea and ruled the principality at the height of its power and influence.William was the son of Geoffrey I Villehardouin...

 was forced to cede the newly-constructed fortress and palace at Mystras
Mystras
Mystras is a fortified town and a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Sparti, of which it is a municipal unit. Situated on Mt...

 near ancient Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

 to a resurgent Byzantium. This Greek province (and later a semi-autonomous Despotate) staged a gradual reconquest, eventually conquering the Frankish principality by 1430. The same period was also marked by a very small influx of Albanian
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 settlers to Central Greece
Central Greece
Continental Greece or Central Greece , colloquially known as Roúmeli , is a geographical region of Greece. Its territory is divided into the administrative regions of Central Greece, Attica, and part of West Greece...

 and the Peloponnese, who became the ancestors of the Arvanites
Arvanites
Arvanites are a population group in Greece who traditionally speak Arvanitika, a dialect of the Albanian language. They settled in Greece during the late Middle Ages and were the dominant population element of some regions of the Peloponnese and Attica until the 19th century...

. Despite repeated and destructive raids by Turakhan Beg and Murad II
Murad II
Murad II Kodja was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1421 to 1451 ....

 and internal strife between the despots the peninsula enjoys a period of relative prosperity during the middle decades of the century.

Ottoman period



The Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 overran the Peloponnese between 1458–1460, with the exception of the Venetian strongholds, which were taken gradually over decades of intermittent Ottoman–Venetian Wars. The peninsula was made a sanjak
Sanjak
Sanjaks were administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Sanjak, and the variant spellings sandjak, sanjaq, and sinjaq, are English transliterations of the Turkish word sancak, meaning district, banner, or flag...

of the Rumelia Eyalet
Rumelia Eyalet
The eyalet of Rumeli or eyalet of Rumelia , also known as Rumeli Beylerbeyliği was a eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. The capital was in Adrianople , Monastir and Sofia. Its reported area in the 19th century was .It was formed during the reign of Murad I as the first Beylerbeylik of the Ottoman Empire...

, with Corinth (Turk. Gördes) as its capital. The Venetians occupied the entire peninsula during the successful Morean War
Morean War
The Morean War is the better known name for the Sixth Ottoman–Venetian War. The war was fought between 1684–1699, as part of the wider conflict known as the "Great Turkish War", between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire...

 (1684–1699), establishing the "Kingdom of the Morea" (It. Regno di Morea) to rule the country. Venetian rule lasted until the re-establishment of Ottoman control in 1715.

The Ottomans re-established a Morea Eyalet
Morea Eyalet
The Eyalet of the Morea was an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. It was located on the Peloponnese Peninsula.-History:...

, which also included parts of mainland Greece around Nafpaktos and Preveza
Preveza
Preveza is a town in the region of Epirus, northwestern Greece, located at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. It is the capital of the regional unit of Preveza, which is part of the region of Epirus. An immersed tunnel, completed in 2002 which runs between Preveza and Actium, connects the town...

. Corinth, then Nafplion (Tr. Anaboli) and later Tripolitza
Tripoli, Greece
Tripoli is a city of about 25,000 inhabitants in the central part of the Peloponnese, in Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture of Arcadia and the centre of the municipality of Tripolis, pop...

 (Tr. Trabliçe) were the province's capitals. Throughout the 18th century, Ottoman authority remained relatively solid and opposed only by rebellions in the semi-autonomous Mani Peninsula
Mani Peninsula
The Mani Peninsula , also long known as Maina or Maïna, is a geographical and cultural region in Greece. Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese in southern Greece. To the east is the Laconian Gulf, to the west the Messenian Gulf...

, the southernmost part of the Peloponnese, and the activities of the bands of the klephts. The Russian-instigated Orlov Revolt
Orlov Revolt
The Orlov Revolt was a precursor to the Greek War of Independence , which saw a Greek uprising in the Peloponnese at the instigation of Count Orlov, commander of the Russian Naval Forces of the Russo-Turkish War...

 of 1770 temporarily threatened Ottoman rule, but was quickly and brutally subdued.

Modern Greece



The Peloponnesians played a major role in the Greek War of Independence
Greek War of Independence
The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between...

 – the war actually began in the Peloponnese, when rebels took control of Kalamata
Kalamata
Kalamata is the second-largest city of the Peloponnese in southern Greece. The capital and chief port of the Messenia prefecture, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf...

 on March 23, 1821. Greek control over the peninsula, with the exception of a few coastal forts, was established with the capture
Siege of Tripolitsa
The Siege of Tripolitsa or the Fall of Tripolitsa to Greek rebels in the summer of 1821 marked an early victory in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, which had begun earlier in that year....

 of Tripolitsa in September 1821. The peninsula was the scene of fierce fighting and extensive devastation following the arrival of Egyptian troops under Ibrahim pasha
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...

 in 1825. The decisive naval Battle of Navarino
Battle of Navarino
The naval Battle of Navarino was fought on 20 October 1827, during the Greek War of Independence in Navarino Bay , on the west coast of the Peloponnese peninsula, in the Ionian Sea. A combined Ottoman and Egyptian armada was destroyed by a combined British, French and Russian naval force...

 was fought off Pylos on the west coast of the Peloponnese, and a French expeditionary corps
Morea expedition
The Morea expedition is the name given in France to the land intervention of the French Army in the Peloponnese, between 1828 and 1833, at the time of the Greek War of Independence....

 cleared the last Turko-Egyptian forces from the peninsula in 1828. The city of Nafplion, on the east coast of the peninsula, became the first capital of the independent Greek state
First Hellenic Republic
The First Hellenic Republic is a name used to refer to the provisional Greek state during the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire...

.

During the 19th and early 20th century, the region became relatively poor and economically isolated. A significant part of its population emigrated to the larger cities of Greece, especially Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, and other countries such as the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. It was badly affected by the Second World War and Greek Civil War
Greek Civil War
The Greek Civil War was fought from 1946 to 1949 between the Greek governmental army, backed by the United Kingdom and United States, and the Democratic Army of Greece , the military branch of the Greek Communist Party , backed by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania...

, experiencing some of the worst atrocities committed in Greece during those conflicts. Living standards have improved dramatically throughout Greece since then, especially after the country's accession to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 in 1981. The rural Peloponnese is renowned for being amongst the most traditionalist and conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 regions of Greece and is a stronghold of the right-wing New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 party, while the larger urban centres like Kalamata
Kalamata
Kalamata is the second-largest city of the Peloponnese in southern Greece. The capital and chief port of the Messenia prefecture, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf...

 and especially Patras
Patras
Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

 are bastions of the centre-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

. Villages still continue to see a population decline due the lack of economic opportunities, industrial farming, and the aging population. Despite the relative poverty of the region itself however, the Peloponnesians have always had an almost total dominance of politics and government in Greece; since Greek independence in the 1820s, the vast majority of Prime Ministers have been of Peloponnesian origin, and the most powerful political families (Zaimis, Mavromichalis, Varvitsiotis, Stephanopoulos and of course Papandreou
Papandreou
Papandreou is a Greek surname and may refer to:Family members of a political dynasty that gave rise to three Prime Ministers of Greece:* Georgios Papandreou , former Prime Minister of Greece...

) hail from the region. Currently, both the Prime Minister (George Papandreou
George Papandreou
Georgios A. Papandreou , commonly anglicised to George and shortened to Γιώργος in Greek, is a Greek politician who served as Prime Minister of Greece following his party's victory in the 2009 legislative election...

) and the Leader of the Opposition (Antonis Samaras
Antonis Samaras
Antonis Samaras is a Greek economist and politician who has been leader of New Democracy, Greece's major conservative party and main opposition party, since 2009. A Member of Parliament for Messenia, he was Minister of Finance in 1989, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1990 and again...

) are Peloponnesians; the business elite of Greece is also mostly Peloponnesian, with the Angelopoulos and Latsis families being a typical example, while the Maniots
Maniots
The Maniots or Maniates are the Greek inhabitants of the Mani Peninsula located in the southern Peloponnese in the Greek prefecture of Laconia and prefecture of Messinia. They were also formerly known as Mainotes and the peninsula as Maina. The Maniots are the direct descendants of the Spartans...

 of Southern Peloponnese traditionally dominate the Armed Forces. All this has gained the Peloponnesians a reputation for cunning and political connections in Greek popular culture.

In late August 2007, large parts of Peloponnese suffered from wildfires
2007 Greek forest fires
The 2007 Greek forest fires were a series of massive forest fires that broke out in several areas across Greece throughout the summer of 2007. The most destructive and lethal infernos broke out on August 23, expanded rapidly and raged out of control until August 27, until they were put out in early...

, which caused severe damage in villages, forests and the death of 77 people. The impact of the fires to the environment and economy of the region are still unknown. It is thought to be the largest environmental disaster in modern Greek history.

Prefectures


  • Arcadia
    Arcadia
    Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

     - 100,611 inhabitants
  • Argolis
    Argolis
    Argolis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

     - 108, 636 inhabitants
  • Corinthia
    Corinthia
    Corinthia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated around the city of Corinth, in the north-eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula.-Geography:...

     - 144,527 inhabitants (except municipalities of Agioi Theodoroi
    Agioi Theodoroi
    Agioi Theodoroi is a town and a former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Loutraki-Agioi Theodoroi, of which it is a municipal unit. It is a suburb of Athens, located around 12 km east of Corinth and about 63 km W...

     and most of Loutraki-Perachora
    Loutraki-Perachora
    Loutraki-Perachora is a former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Loutraki-Agioi Theodoroi, of which it is a municipal unit. Loutraki being the most important settlement is a seaside town having a population of...

    , which lie east of the Corinth Canal
    Corinth Canal
    The Corinth Canal is a canal that connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnesian peninsula from the Greek mainland, thus effectively making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through...

    )
  • Laconia
    Laconia
    Laconia , also known as Lacedaemonia, is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the southeastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. Its administrative capital is Sparti...

     - 100,871 inhabitants
  • Messinia - 180,264 inhabitants
  • Achaea
    Achaea
    Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

     - 331,316 inhabitants
  • Elis - 198,763 inhabitants
  • Piraeus
    Piraeus Prefecture
    Piraeus Prefecture was one of the prefectures of Greece. It was part of the Attica region and the Athens-Piraeus super-prefecture. The capital of the prefecture was the city of Piraeus...

     (only the municipalities of Methana
    Methana
    Methana is a town and a former municipality on the Peloponnese peninsula, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Troizinia, of which it is a municipal unit....

    , Troizina, and part of Poros
    Poros
    Poros is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance about 58 km south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel, with the town of Galatas on the mainland across the strait. Its surface is about and it has 4,117...

    )

Cities


The principal modern cities of the Peloponnese are (2001 census):
  • Patras
    Patras
    Patras , ) is Greece's third largest urban area and the regional capital of West Greece, located in northern Peloponnese, 215 kilometers west of Athens...

     (169,242 inhabitants)
  • Kalamata
    Kalamata
    Kalamata is the second-largest city of the Peloponnese in southern Greece. The capital and chief port of the Messenia prefecture, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf...

     (54,065 inhabitants)
  • Corinth
    Corinth
    Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

     (30,434 inhabitants)
  • Tripoli
    Tripoli, Greece
    Tripoli is a city of about 25,000 inhabitants in the central part of the Peloponnese, in Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture of Arcadia and the centre of the municipality of Tripolis, pop...

     (28,976 inhabitants)
  • Argos
    Argos
    Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

     (25,068 inhabitants)
  • Pyrgos (24,765 inhabitants)
  • Aigion (21,966 inhabitants)
  • Sparta
    Sparti (municipality)
    Sparti is a municipality of Laconia, Greece. It lies at the site of ancient Sparta. The population in 2001 was 38,079, of whom 15,828 lived in the town itself.-History:...

     (16,473 inhabitants)
  • Nafplion
    Nafplion
    Nafplio is a seaport town in the Peloponnese in Greece that has expanded up the hillsides near the north end of the Argolic Gulf. The town was the first capital of modern Greece, from the start of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until 1834. Nafplio is now the capital of the peripheral unit of...

     (13,124 inhabitants)

Archaeological sites


The Peloponnese possesses many important archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages. Among the most notable are:
  • Bassae
    Bassae
    Bassae or Bassai, Vassai or Vasses , meaning "little vale in the rocks", is an archaeological site in the northeastern part of Messinia Prefecture that was a part of Arcadia in ancient times. Bassae lies near the village of Skliros, northeast of Figaleia, south of Andritsaina and west of Megalopolis...

     (ancient town and the temple of Epikourios Apollo)
  • Corinth
    Ancient Corinth
    Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

     (ancient city)
  • Epidaurus
    Epidaurus
    Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros : Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the peripheral unit of Argolis...

     (ancient religious and healing centre)
  • Messene
    Messene
    Messene , officially Ancient Messene, is a Local Community of the Municipal Unit , Ithomi, of the municipality of Messini within the Regional Unit of Messenia in the Region of Peloponnēsos, one of 7 Regions into which the Hellenic Republic has been divided by the Kallikratis...

     (ancient city)
  • Mistra (medieval Byzantine fortress-town near Sparta
    Sparta
    Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

    )
  • Monemvasia
    Monemvasia
    Monemvasia is a town and a municipality in Laconia, Greece. The town is located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The peninsula is linked to the mainland by a short causeway 200m in length. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 metres above sea level, up to...

     (medieval fortress-town)
  • Mycenae
    Mycenae
    Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

     (fortress-town of the eponymous civilization
    Mycenaean Greece
    Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

    )
  • Olympia
    Olympia, Greece
    Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

     (site of the Ancient Olympic Games)
  • Sparta
    Sparta
    Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

  • Pylos
    Pylos
    Pylos , historically known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It was the capital of the former...

     (the palace of Nestor
    Nestor (mythology)
    In Greek mythology, Nestor of Gerenia was the son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings...

    )
  • Tegea
    Tegea
    Tegea was a settlement in ancient Greece, and it is also a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Tripoli, of which it is a municipal unit. Its seat was the village Stadio....

     (ancient religious centre)
  • Tiryns
    Tiryns
    Tiryns is a Mycenaean archaeological site in the prefecture of Argolis in the Peloponnese, some kilometres north of Nauplion.-General information:...

    (ancient fortified settlement)

External links