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INTRODUCTION

The name of Greece differs in Greece in comparison with the names used for the country in other languages and cultures, just like the names of the Greeks. Although the Greeks call the country Hellas or Ellada (Greek: , ) and its official name is Hellenic Republic, in English the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia as used by the Romans and literally means 'the land of the Greeks'; however, the name Hellas is sometimes used in English too.

HISTORY OF GREECE
While the area around Attica was inhabited during the Upper Paleolithic period (30000 10000 BCE), archaeological evidence suggests that the small caves around the Acropolis rock and the Klepsythra spring were in use during the Neolithic Period (3000 2800 BCE). Greece was the first area in Europe where advanced early civilizations emerged, beginning with the Cycladic civilization of the Aegean Sea, the Minoan civilization in Crete and then the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland. Later, various Greek kingdoms and city-states emerged across the Greek peninsula and spread to the shores of the Black Sea, South Italy and Asia Minor, reaching great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, that of classical Greece, expressed in architecture, drama, science and philosophy, and nurtured in Athens under a democratic environment. Athens and Sparta led the way in repelling the Persian Empire in a series of battles. Both were later overshadowed by Thebes and eventually Macedonia, with the latter under the guidance of Alexander the Great uniting and leading the Greek world to victory over the Persians. The Hellenistic period was brought only partially to a close two centuries later with the establishment of Roman rule over Greek lands in 146 BC.[24] Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria, Antioch, Seleucia and the many other new Hellenistic cities in Asia and Africa founded in Alexander's wake.[25]

The subsequent mixture of Roman and Hellenic cultures took form in the establishment of the Byzantine Empire in 330 AD around Constantinople. Byzantium remained a major cultural and military power for the next 1,123 years, until the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. On the eve of the Ottoman conquest, much of the Greek intelligentsia migrated to Italy and other parts of Europe not under Ottoman rule, playing a significant role in the Renaissance through the transmission of ancient Greek works to Western Europe. Nevertheless, the Ottoman millet system contributed to the cohesion of the Orthodox Greeks by segregating the various peoples within the empire based on religion, as the latter played an integral role in the formation of modern Greek identity. After the Greek War of Independence, successfully waged against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 to 1829, the nascent Greek state was finally recognized under the London Protocol in 1830. In 1827, Ioannis Kapodistrias, from Corfu, was chosen as the first governor of the new Republic. However, following his assassination in 1831, the Great Powers installed a monarchy under Otto, of the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach. In 1843, an uprising forced the king to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Due to his unimpaired authoritarian rule, he was eventually dethroned in 1863 and replaced by Prince Wilhelm (William) of Denmark, who took the name George I and brought with him the Ionian Islands as a coronation gift from Britain. In 1877, Charilaos Trikoupis, who is credited with significant improvement of the country's infrastructure, curbed the power of the monarchy to interfere in the assembly by issuing the rule of vote of confidence to any potential prime minister.

Administrative divisions
Since the Kallikratis programme reform entered into effect on 1 January 2011, Greece consists of thirteen peripheries subdivided into a total of 325municipalities. The 54 old prefectures and prefecture-level administrations have been largely retained as sub-units of the peripheries. Seven decentralized administrations group one to three peripheries for administrative purposes on a regional basis. There is also one autonomous area, Mount Athos (Greek: Agio Oros, "Holy Mountain"), which borders the periphery of Central Macedonia.

Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Number (14) Attica

Peripheries

Capital Athens Lamia Thessaloniki Heraklion

Area (km) 3,808 15,549 18,811 8,259 14,157 9,203 2,307 3,836 15,490 5,286 14,037 11,350 9,451 Area (km) 390

Area (sq. mi.) 1,470 6,004 7,263 3,189 5,466 3,553 891 1,481 5,981 2,041 5,420 4,382 3,649 Area (sq. mi.) 151

Population[6] 3,812,330 546,870 1,874,590 621,340 606,170 336,650 206,470 197,810 581,980 308,610 730,730 680,190 282,120 Population[6] 1,830

Central Greece Central Macedonia Crete

East Macedonia and Thrace Komotini Epirus Ionian Islands North Aegean Peloponnese South Aegean Thessaly West Greece West Macedonia Autonomous state Mount Athos Ioannina Corfu Mytilene Tripoli Ermoupoli Larissa Patras Kozani Capital Karyes

Foreign relations
Prominent issues in Greek foreign policy include the enduring Cyprus dispute, the Aegean dispute with Turkey over the Aegean Sea and the Macedonia naming dispute with the Republic of Macedonia, which Greece refers to internationally by the provisional reference "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". Also the British government in 1816 purchased the Parthenon Marbles, forming a part of the collection known as the Elgin Marbles and placed on display in the British Museum, where they stand now on view in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery. The debate continues as to whether the Marbles should remain in the British Museum or be returned to Athens

Economy
The main building of the Bank of Greece in Athens.

The Greek economy (that is gross domestic product, GDP) expanded at an average annual rate of 4% from 2004 2007 and 2% during 2008 (at constant prices of 2000), one of the highest rates in the Eurozone. However, in 2009 GDP decreased by 1.9%. In 2010, a decrease of GDP by 2.5% to 4% is estimated, due to the current economic crisis. The tourism industry is a major source of foreign exchange earnings and revenue accounting for 15% of Greece's total GDP and employing, directly or indirectly, 16.5% of the total workforce. The Greek labor force totals 4.9 million, and it is the second-most-industrious betweenOECD countries, after South Korea. The Groningen Growth & Development Centre published a poll revealing that between 1995 and 2005, Greece ranked third in the "working hours per year ranking" among European nations; Greeks worked an average of 1,811 hours per year.[47] In 2007, the average worker produced around 20 dollars per hour, similar to Spain and slightly more than half of average U.S. worker's hourly output. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, occupied in mainly agricultural and construction work. Greece's purchasing power-adjusted GDP per capita is the world's 25th highest. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it had an estimated average per capita income of $29,882 for the year 2009, a figure slightly higher than that of Italy and Spain. According to Eurostat data, Greek PPS GDP per capita stood at 95 per cent of the EU average in 2009.[49] According to a survey by The Economist,[when?] the cost of living in Athens is close to 90% of the costs in New York City; in rural regions it is lower.

Greece introduced the euro in 2002.


In Greece, the euro was introduced in 2002. As a preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001, however all Greek euro coins introduced in 2002 have this year on it; unlike some other countries of the Eurozone where mint year is minted in the coin. Eight different designs, one per face value, were selected for the Greek coins. In 2007, in order to adopt the new common map like the rest of the Eurozone countries, Greece changed the common side of their coins. Before adopting the euro in 2002, Greece had maintained use of the Greek drachma from 1832. In 2009, Greece had the EU's second-lowest Index of Economic Freedom (after Poland), ranking 81st in the world. The country suffers from high levels of political and economic corruption and low global competitiveness relative to its EU partners. The Greek economy faces significant problems, including rising unemployment levels and an inefficient government bureaucracy.
Greece's economic growth between 1961 and 2010, compared with Eurozone average from 1996.

Although remaining above the euro area average, economic growth turned negative in 2009 for the first time since 1993. An indication of the trend of over-lending in recent years is the fact that the ratio of loans to savings exceeded 100% during the first half of the year.

20102011 economic crisis


History of the Greek debt between 1999 and 2010. See also: Economy of Greece#2010-2011 debt crisis and 2010 European sovereign debt crisis

By the end of 2009, as a result of a combination of international and local factors (respectively, the world financial crisis and uncontrolled government spending), the Greek economy faced its most-severe crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1974 as the Greek government revised its deficit from an estimated 6% to 12.7% of gross domestic product (GDP). In early 2010, it was revealed that successive Greek governments had been found to have consistently and deliberately misreported the country's official economic statistics to keep within the monetary union guidelines. This had enabled Greek governments to spend beyond their means, while hiding the actual deficit from the EU overseers.[57] In May 2010, the Greek government deficit was again revised and estimated to be 13.6% which was one of the highest in the world relative to GDP and public debt was forecast, according to some estimates, to hit 120% of GDP during 2010, one of the highest rates in the world. As a consequence, there was a crisis in international confidence in Greece's ability to repay its sovereign debt. In order to avert such a default, in May 2010 the other Eurozone countries, and the IMF, agreed to a rescue package which involved giving Greece an immediate 45 billion in bail-out loans, with more funds to follow, totaling 110 billion. In order to secure the funding, Greece was required to adopt harsh austerity measures to

bring its deficit under control. Their implementation will be monitored and evaluated by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. On 15 November 2010, the EU's statistics body Eurostat revised the public finance and debt figure for Greece following an excessive deficit procedure methodological mission in Athens, and put Greece's 2009 government deficit at 15.4% of GDP and public debt at 126.8% of GDP making it the biggest deficit (as a percentage of GDP) amongst the EU member nations (although some have speculated that Ireland's in 2010 may prove to be worse). The financial crisis particularly the austerity package put forth by the EU and the IMF has been met with anger by the Greek public, leading to riots and social unrest, while peaceful demonstrations have been taking place every evening in front of the Greek parliament since 25 May 2011. On 27 June 2011, trade union organizations commenced a forty-eight hour labor strike in advance of a parliamentary vote on the austerity package, the first such strike since 1974. Massive demonstrations were organized throughout Greece, intended to pressure parliament members into voting against the package. In Athens alone, 38 arrests were made in addition to 75 people being detained, while 46 civilians and 38 policemen were injured. The second set of austerity measures was approved on 29 June 2011, with 155 out of 300 members of parliament voting in favor. The vote had been seen as crucial for the country's future, as the EU and IMF had made future funding conditional on a positive outcome.

A crisis that could tear Europe apart


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Just imagine living in a Britain in which the state had broken down completely. You would see mobs rampaging through the streets and fires burning in the capital city. You would see governments rise and fall; you would see taxes rise and social services cut. You would see faceless European bankers flying in to take over Britains economy, and you would see thousands of people take to the barricades, blazing with outrage at their betrayal by the political classes. This may sound like the stuff of science fiction. But it is precisely what is happening right now in Greece, at the epicentre of what may prove to be one of the most terrifying political and economic crises in our lifetimes. Riot: Protesters wielding weapons clash with riot police during the general strike against austerity plans that was held on Wednesday

Violent: Left and right wing demonstrators used weapons on each other during a mass fight at Syntagma square in front of the Greek Parliament in central Athens The Battle of Athens may seem an awfully long way away. And when most of us think of Greece, we picture bearded philosophers, island sunsets and welcoming tavernas. But this weeks events pose what some are describing as the biggest threat to international stability since the chaos of the 1930s, when the spectre of the Great Depression stalked through the Western world, with Nazism and Communism flourishing in its wake.
Let Greece default on its debts, demand top Tories as EU bailout set to hit 1trillion

The story is becoming frighteningly familiar. As the Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, struggled to win support for a new round of austerity measures, thousands of ordinary people took to the streets, venting their fury in scenes of shocking violence. But this is not just another political crisis in a far-off country of which we know nothing. Its ramifications go to the heart of the European project and could have seismic implications not just for our own desperately precarious economic recovery, but for the livelihoods of millions of British families. Kicked while he's down: A riot officer puts the boot into a protester during a demo in the centre of the Greek capital What has happened in Greece is a chilling lesson in the dangers of European federalism, financial indiscipline and economic hubris. Ten years ago, Greece joined the euro, abandoning its traditional drachma and signing up to a currency union dominated by the Germans and the French. For decades, Greece had lagged well behind its new partners in living standards and development. But now, benefiting from low interest rates, the Greek governments borrowed massively to fund their social programmes. In order to stick within the eurozones monetary guidelines, the Greeks shamelessly and consistently lied about their levels of debt, bribing banks to hide their transactions. Like their counterparts in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, they used the cover of the euro to spend and spend, defying the dictates of economic reason. But when the credit crunch hit Europe at the end of the last decade, the true scale of the disaster became apparent. Greece, it emerged, had not merely been running annual deficits of at least 14 per cent, its overall public debt was an estimated 130 per cent of GDP.

Hands up in support: Hundreds of people makes gestures at the Greek Parliament during the rally These are truly staggering figures, making even Britains debt about 76 per cent of GDP when Gordon Brown left office look puny by comparison. And once they became public knowledge, the markets went into meltdown. Government bonds through which nations fund their borrowing, paying for the essential services on which society depends lost their value overnight. And with Greece facing a debt rollover of more than 11billion euros, the European Union and the IMF were forced to step in with an unprecedented 110billion euro bail-out. Under the terms of the bail-out, Athens lost control of its own destiny. On the orders of the European elite, the Greeks have been forced to slash public services, cut pensions, hike taxes and deflate their economy. But what hurts many Greeks is not merely the international humiliation. It is the fact that they are now staring into an economic abyss. Unemployment is more than 16per cent; among school-leavers, a staggering four out of ten are out of work. Soup kitchens serve thousands of people a day. Suicide lines are deluged with calls. And yet none of this is working. With the markets plunging, Greece now needs another 85billion euros to stave off total bankruptcy. But not only would this mean yet more debt at whacking interest rates and it is worth noting that other bailout recipients, such as the Irish, are already pleading for a rate reduction it would also mean yet more savage austerity measures. And this weeks fighting on the streets of Athens bodes ill for the survival of the Greek government. The really terrifying thing, though, is what this means for the rest of Europe. For Greece is not the only country to find itself in this appalling mess. Many experts are convinced that the contagion will spread to similarly profligate members of the eurozone. Only a month ago the EU had to bail out Portugal to the tune of 78billion euros, demanding massive spending cuts in return.

Last year Ireland, which had mismanaged its finances with breathtaking irresponsibility, was forced to accept a massive 85billion euro bail-out, including some 7billion from British taxpayers. But the real fear is that the infection will spread to Spain, where the collapse of the property and construction industries has left unemployment at 20 per cent and an economy teetering on the brink of meltdown. There are those who insist that Spains economy is robust enough to avoid disaster. But if the markets lose confidence in Spain, then the whole house of cards could collapse. And even though European officials refuse to admit it, there is a good chance the euro itself will not survive. Thank goodness, then, that we in Britain never signed up to this disastrous exercise in economic idealism. Indeed, whatever his flaws, we should be grateful that Gordon Brown dug in his heels and stubbornly refused to let Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson drag us into the eurozone. It will go down as Gordon Browns finest achievement. Had he gone along with New Labours metropolitan Euro-enthusiasts, then we, too, would be staring into the face of economic catastrophe. Yet even though we have kept our economic sovereignty, we have no reason to be complacent.

Smashed: A group of tourists walk past the damaged window of cafe in central Athens Only two days ago, it emerged that George Osborne has promised some 9billion to the IMF on top of the 12.5billion he has already committed to defending the Eurozone. What is more, British banks, manufacturers and construction firms, let alone airports and travel companies, are terribly exposed to the risks of disaster in Greece, Ireland and Spain in particular. And as one of the worlds major financial centres, the City of London would suffer a devastating blow. If the worst happens and Greece goes under, and the disease spreads west across the Mediterranean, then Europe will find itself in the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. At the very least, the European project itself will be severely compromised; at worst, we could well see the rise of far-Right nationalist extremists, exploiting public fury at their betrayal by the political elites.

Make no mistake: this is a crucial moment in European history. Exactly 80 years ago, in the summer of 1931, an international banking crisis sent the Western economy into freefall and unleashed the terrible political anger that brought Hitler and the Nazis to power. For the leaders of the EU, this is the supreme test. If they get it wrong, they will not only condemn the European project to the dustbin of history, but they will bring disaster, division and destitution on the peoples of our continent. Meanwhile, here in Britain, our economic recovery remains desperately fragile. A European meltdown could well plunge us back into recession, with incalculable consequences for millions of ordinary families. If that were the case, then nothing the Coalition could do would really matter. Our fate would have been decided hundreds of miles away. On the streets of Athens, in the boardrooms of Frankfurt and in the committee rooms of Brussels, the story of the next ten years is being written. We can only pray that Europes leaders have learned the lessons of history.