Corfu’s strategic geographical position at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea determined from very early times the special role to the island would play in the history of the Mediterranean.
Lying as it does on major seaways and on the routes taken by migrant populations, Corfu was the forefront of all the main developments of the political history in Europe.
The city founded by Corinthian colonists in the 8th century B.C., later passed through the hands of Macedonians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Angevins, the Venetians, the French and the British before finally being reunited with Greece.
The town took its name from the two rocky crags, for the medieval town was called Koryfo, Korfi or Korfous, meaning “peaks”, hence the name Corfu by which it is known in the west.
First the Byzantines and then the Despots of Epirus (1214-1267) and the Angevins (1267-1386) fortified the acropolis and its twin peaks.
For the next four centuries (1386-1797) Corfu was ruled by Venice, which the islanders accepted as their “ruler and protector”. It was chiefly in this period that the island acquired its distinctive characteristics.
The departure of the Venetians in 1797 was followed by republican France (1794-1807), imperial France (1807-1814). The fall of Napoleon in 1814 and the treaty of Paris (1815) brought into existence the Unites States of Ionian Isles as a free and independent state under the protection of Great Britain (1814-1864).