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Stamps issued: 1861-PRESENT

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10d Acropolis and Parthenon single

Greece was the center of the Minoan civilization of Crete during the 2nd millennium B.C., and of the Hellenic civilization after c. 800 B.C. After the 7th and 8th centuries B.C., Greek colonies were established throughout the Mediterranean, producing a civilization that greatly influenced subsequent European development. The conquests of Alexander the Great spread Greek culture throughout western Asia, and Alexandrine successor states maintained Greek cultural dominance in the Middle East and northern India for two centuries. By 146 B.C., Greece was conquered by Rome, although the Romans soon became thoroughly Hellenized and so perpetuated Greece's cultural influence. Greece remained a part of the Eastern Roman Empire until it was occupied by the French and Italian crusaders. In 1456, the country was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Greek nationalism began to emerge in the late 18th century, culminating in revolution in 1821.

By 1832, Greece had become an independent kingdom. Greece has since expanded to include Greek-speaking territories in the southern Balkans, as well as Crete and the Aegean Islands. The period 1912-19 saw the rapid expansion of Greece's borders, producing many occupation issues. Greece successfully resisted an Italian invasion in 1940, but German intervention in 1941 brought the country's rapid defeat and occupation by Germany, Italy and Bulgaria. Communist elements, defeated by the royalist government and Britain in 1944-45, waged a guerrilla war against the regime during 1947-49. The communists were suppressed, with U.S. assistance. In the postwar years, Greece experienced rapid economic growth. Increasing tension between liberal and conservative factions, however, brought a military coup in 1967. After unsuccessfully attempting to moderate the harshness of the regime, King Constantine and the royal family fled the country. In 1973, this government was overthrown in a second military coup. The new government, in turn, was overthrown in 1974, and democratic civilian government was restored.

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Precedent Countries:

Stamps issued: 1922-1932

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10c Map of Castellorizo and Flag of Italy single

Small island in the Mediterranean off the southwest coast of Turkey. Occupied by France in 1915, Castellorizo was transferred to Italy in 1920. After World War II, the island, along with the rest of the Dodecanese Islands, passed to Greece.

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Stamps issued: 1913-1920

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25L Surcharge and Overprint on 1p stamp of Turkey single

A district in the southeastern Balkans, bordering on the Aegean and Black seas. Under Turkish rule from the 14th century, the western portion of Thrace was occupied by Bulgaria in 1912. In 1913, an autonomous Moslem regime briefly ousted the Bulgarians. During its ephemeral existence, this regime issued lithographed stamps, as well as overprints on Turkish, Greek and Bulgarian issues. In 1913 western Thrace was incorporated into Bulgaria, using regular Bulgarian issues. In October 1918, this area was taken from Bulgaria by the Allies, who overprinted Bulgarian stamps for use in the zone. In May 1920, western Thrace was mandated to Greece, and in August, Greece annexed the territory. Eastern Thrace remained in Turkish hands until 1918, when it, too, was occupied by the Allies. Like the western portion of the province, it was turned over to Greece in 1920. After the Greek defeat in the Graeco-Turkish War (1922), it was returned to Turkey.

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Stamps issued: 1914-1916

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50L Flag of Epirus, Koritsa Issue single

A region in southeast Albania. Inhabitants set up a provisional government in February 1914, and were united with Greece in December 1914. In 1916, Franco-Italian forces occupied the area, giving it to Albania after World War I.

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Stamps issued: 1898-1913

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5d Arkadi Monastery and Mt. Ida single

A large island in the Aegean Sea, Crete was a province of Turkey from the 15th century. Continuous religious civil strife between the Christian and Muslim natives provided an excuse for the Great Powers to intervene in the island's affairs in 1898. In 1899, the island was declared an autonomy under Prince George of Greece. In 1908, the Cretan Assembly voted for union with Greece, which finally occurred in 1913. Crete used Turkish stamps until 1899. Stamps of Crete were used until 1913, when Greek stamps came into use. During 1898-1914, various stamps were issued by the Powers for use in their districts of Crete, including Britain (1898-99), Russia (1899), Austria (1903-14), France (1903-13) and Italy (1900-12). During World War II, German military air parcel post stamps were overprinted "Inselpost" for use by German troops on Crete and nearby islands, after their isolation following the German withdrawal from Greece.

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Stamps issued: 1859

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(1p) Queen Victoria single

A group of islands off the western coast of Greece. Occupied at various times by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Turks, French, Russians and British, the islands were united with Greece in 1864. Three stamps were issued by the British (1859-64), and an additional 13 during World War II by the occupying Italian forces (1941-43).

Narrative by Linn's Stamp News

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