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Greece - Country facts

Map

Small map of Greece
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Flag

Country flag: Greece

Capital

Athens

Currency

euro (EUR)
note:

Internet Code

.gr

Location

Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey

Background

Greece achieved its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between royalist supporters of the king and communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece was able to join NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. The 1974 democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the EU in 1992); it became the 12th member of the euro zone in 2001.

Climate

temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain

mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands

Population

10,668,354 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Greek 98%, other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece

Religions

Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%

Languages

Greek 99% (official), English, French

Map of Greece

Large map of Greece
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