Corfu's history
A view of Corfu from the north - engraving by J.C.Weigel, 1720

Ancient Corfu Drachmas (coins) Archaeological and literary research takes the history of Corfu back to the very earliest times; the first myths refer to it as a stop on the voyage of Iason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece and Medea.
It is also described in the 'Odyssey' where Homer calls Corfu the rich Island of the Phaeacians, rulled by Alcinoos, whose daughter Nausicaa found Odysseus wading ashore from his wrecked ship.

The island, whose ancient name was Corcyra, appears to have been inhabited since the Paleolithic period. In 734 B.C. it was colonized by the Corinthians who built the present day Analipsi, the ancient town and its acropolis.
Corfu developed into an important commercial center, acquired a powerful fleet, its own colonies and did not hesitate within several years from its foundation to revolt against Corinth itself and to acquire autonomy.
In 432 B.C. Corfu became the cause of the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War and passed under the authority of the Spartans.
Silver helmet
This was followed by the Syracusian occupation, King Pyrrhus of Epirus and the Illyrians, ending with Roman rule.

St. John Damascene's icon (1682) During the Byzantine period the fortifications of the new town began with the walls of the Old Fortress (8th century) in an endeavor to confront the attacks of the island's enemies, particularly the Normans. During this period the name Coryfo prevailed.
In 1204 it was occupied by the Genoans and continually changed masters until 1356 when the Venetians took command and stayed until 1797.
In the meantime Turks made their appearance starting in 1537. After the attacks by the Turks, Corfu experienced a flowering in the arts and letters which continued until the 19th century.
In 1797 it was occupied by the French and ten years later by the Russo- Turkish fleet. This was followed by the Anglo- French struggle for the domination of the island.
The union of Corfu and the other Ionian Islands with Greece finally took place in 1864.

The Perama ferry & Pontikonisi (copper engraving 1821)

Photos and text taken
from "Corfu - Today and yesterday"
(Toubis Editions)
Toubis Editions