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Corfu (Municipality, Greece)


Last modified: 2023-07-15 by randy young
Keywords: greece | corfu | lefkimmi | parelioi |
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[Flag of Corfu]
image by Olivier Touzeau, 7 October 2017

See also:

Presentation of Corfu

The municipality of Corfu (102,071 inhabitants in 2011, 61,460 ha) was formed in the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities of Agios Georgios (Άγιος Γεώργιος, 4,958 inh.), Achilleio (Αχίλλειο, 10,319 inh.), Corfu (39,847 inh.), Ereikoussa (Ερείκουσα, 698 inh.), Esperies (Εσπερίες, 8,136 inh.), Faiakes (Φαίακες, 6,488 inh.), Kassopaia (Κασσωπαία, 2,787 inh.), Korissia (Κορισσία, 5,122 inh.), Lefkimmi (Λευκίμμη, 6,704 inh.), Mathraki (Μαθράκι, 297 inh.), Meliteieis (Μελιτειείς, 6,690 inh.), Othonoi (Οθωνοίς, 631 inh.), Palaiokastritsa (Παλαιοκαστρίτσα, 4,395 inh.), Parelioi (Παρέλιοι, 7,197 inh.), and Thinali (Θινάλι, 5,512 inh.).

The town of Corfu is the capital of the island and of the Corfu regional unit. The town has become known as a Kastropolis (Castle City) because of its two castles. In 2007, the old town was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Greek name of the island, Kerkyra or Korkyra, is related to two powerful water symbols: Poseidon, god of the sea, and Asopus, an important Greek mainland river. According to myth, Poseidon fell in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, daughter of Asopus and river nymph Metope, and abducted her. Poseidon brought Korkyra to the hitherto unnamed island and, in marital bliss, offered her name to the place: Korkyra, which gradually evolved to Kerkyra.

The island in prehistoric times has been inhabited by an Illyrian tribe. Approximately 734 BC, Corinthian colonists built about at the middle of the east coast a city. The city's castle consisted of two fortified hilltops, in Greek called Koryfo, which then caused the newer name of Corfu. This colony soon rose to a prosperity that attracted the parent state's envy. Corfu fleet defeated in 665 BC the Corinthian on the Adriatic. Disagreements between Corinth and Corfu was a contributory factor to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War ( 431-404 BC). Right from that time Corfu's power and prosperity began to decline.

Corfu was long a throw ball during the fighting between the neighboring powers, until the 229 BC. In the hands of the Roman Empire, it became an important naval station during the wars against Macedonia. As a free state under Roman protection Corfu had a certain prosperity, which persisted when Corfu in 337 AD became part of the Byzantine Empire.

Corfu was ruled during periods of Goths and Normans, and after several changes the island in 1386 belonged to the Republic of Venice until its dissolution in 1797. The fortifications of the island were used by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic. Corfu repulsed several Turkish sieges in 1537, 1571, and 1716.

By the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio, Corfu was ceded to the French, who occupied it for two years as the Departement de Corcyre, until they were expelled by a joint Russian-Ottoman squadron under Admiral Ushakov. For a short time it became the capital of the self-governing federation of the Heptanesos ("Seven Islands"), under Ottoman suzerainty; in 1807 after the Treaty of Tilsit it was under French administration, and in 1809 it was besieged in vain by a British fleet, which had taken all the other Ionian islands. When, by the Treaty of Paris of 5 November 1815, the Ionian Islands became a protectorate of the United Kingdom as the United States of the Ionian Islands, Corfu became the seat of the British Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. The period of British rule was a prosperous period for Corfu. Unification with modern Greece was concluded in 1864 under the Treaty of London.

On August 27 in 1923, the Italian General Enrico Tellini, three of his assistants and their interpreter fell into an ambush and were assassinated by unknown assailants at Kakavia, near the town of Ioannina, within Greek territory. Italy sent an ultimatum to Greece on 29 August 1923, Greece replied to Italy on 30 August 1923, accepting only some of the demands: Mussolini was not satisfied with the reply of the Greek government and declared that it was unacceptable, and Italy bombed and occupied Corfu. The Corfu incident was submitted to the League of Nations, who gave to Italy practically everything she demanded.

During WWII and the Greek-Italian war, Italy occupied Corfu in April 1941. In 1943, the Germans occupied the island, which was then liberated by Allied forces on 14 October 1944.
Olivier Touzeau, 2 November 2013

Flag of Corfu

The flag of Corfu (photo) is dark blue with a dark red/maroon/purple large outer border, a dark gold thin inner border, and the town seal in the centre in dark gold.

The town seal shown an ancient Greek sailing ship. ΔΗΜΟΣ (Municipality) is written above the seal, ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑΣ (of Corfou), below the seal.
Olivier Touzeau, 7 October 2017

Former municipalities


[former Corfu flag]
image by Olivier Touzeau, 30 April 2004

The flag of the former municipality of Corfu was similar to the flag of the present-day's municipality of Corfu, differing only by the writing ΚΕΡΚΥΡΑΙΩΝ (of Corfou) below the seal.

The flag in actual use was 1.65 m high and 2.65 m wide, which gives prportions of 11:19. The width of the outer border is 19 cm, while the width of the inner border is 4 cm.
Olivier Touzeau, 10 April 2004


[Lefkimmi flag]
image by Olivier Touzeau, 30 April 2004

Lefkimmi is the southernmost municipal unit on the island. Its flag (Kokkonis website) was white with the municipal emblem.
Olivier Touzeau, 30 April 2004

Former municipality of Parelioi

[Parelioi flag]
image by Olivier Touzeau, 12 December 2014

The seat of the municipality was the village of Kokkini (Κοκκίνι, 733 inh.). The economy of Parelioi is mainly based on tourism, with beaches in Agios Gordis, Glyfada, Kondogialos and Ermones, the Historic and Folklore Museum of Central Corfu in Sinarade, and the water park Aqualand in Agios Ioannis.

The flag of Parelioi (Kokkonis website) was light purplish pink with the emblem of the municipality in blue the middle and its name below.
Olivier Touzeau, 12 December 2014

Unidentified flag

[Photo of unidentified flag]
Photo by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 2005

This flag was hoisted on top of the roof of the bureau of the local cathedral; it referrs to St. Spiridon, the patron saint of the parish church, the town and the island of Corfou.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 February 2021