|~ Greece Population: 10,737,428
~ Greece achieved 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 neighbouring 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 supporters of the king and Communist rebels.
~ Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. In 1967, a group of military officers seized power, establishing a military dictatorship that suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country.
~ In 1974, democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy.
~ In 1981, Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001.
|~ Strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands.
~ Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey.
~ Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
~ Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
~ Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
~ Natural resources: lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnetite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
~ Nationality: noun: Greek(s) adjective: Greek
~ Ethnic groups: population: Greek 93%, other (foreign citizens) 7% (2001 census) note: percents represent citizenship, since Greece does not collect data on ethnicity
~ Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
~ Languages: Greek 99% (official), other 1% (includes English and French)