History

Timeline

7th century BC: Lefkada was colonised by the Corinthians, who first excavated the channel to enable the passage north of their ships. The island’s capital in those days, Nirikos, lay to the southeast of present-day Lefkada town at a distance of 2.5 km, between the villages of Kalligoni and Karyotes. Lefkas became the capital of the Akarnanian League from 272 to 197 BC. It was a big walled city populated by 20.000 people inside the walls. The city had 3, maybe 4, citadels. Inside the walls there were also a large ancient theatre, agora, a port and shrines dedicated to the gods of the ancient greek religion. The city took part in the Battle of Salamis, the Battle of Plataea and the Peloponnesian War (as allies of the Spartans). In 338 BC, it was conquered by Philip of Macedon. In 197 it fiercely resisted the Romans siege but was eventually vanquished.

1204: The island is incorporated into the Despotate of Epirus.

1294: The Despot of Epirus, Nikiforos I, married his daughter Maria to Ioannes Orsini (later ‘Ruler of Kefallonia, Zakynthos and Lefkas’) giving him Lefkada as her dowry. Orsini built the kernel of the fort, still standing today at the tip of the island, on the side looking towards Akarnania, where the medieval capital of Aghia Mavra was situated.

1331 – 1362: The island is conquered by the Andegivs. The name of Santa Maura from this period is used both for the castle and the island.

1357: The peasants of Lefkada rebel against the island’s ruler Gratiano Zorzi (the rebellion is the subject of Valaoritis’ legendary Photeinos).

1362 – 1479: The Tocco family is the new ruler of Lefkada

1410-1420: Charles A Tocco transforms the small castle of Santa Maura into a bigger pentagonal castle.

1479: Leonardo C Tocco refuses to pay the vassalage tax to the Ottomans. An attack is launched immediately and after a siege the island is conquered.

1502 – 1503: A short-lived Venetian occupation.

1503: The island is re-conquered by the Ottomans.

1684: Francesko Morosini after 16 days of siege conquers the castle of Santa Maura. The city inside the castle is sacked and moved to it’s current location. The name of the new capital of the island is Amaxiki.

1684 – 1797: Reversion to Venetian sovereignty with a brief interval of Turkish rule in 1715.

1797: The Republican French take control of the island.

1798: Russo-Turkish forces siege the castle of Santa Maura for 12 days without result. Finally they trick the French commander and he decides to surrender the castle and the island.

1798 – 1807: Russo-Turkish occupation. From 1802, the island is part of the Republic of the Ionian Islands (also called Septinsular Republic) the first (semi-) independent Greek state -under Russo-Turkish protection.

1807 – 1810: The island is conquered by the Imperial French.

1864: The British siege the castle of Santa Maura for 40 days. After an explosion inside the castle the French surrender.

1810 – 1864: Rule of the British, who incorporate it into what they called the United States of the Ionian Islands.

1819: Peasant uprising in Lefkada. Suppression, persecution, exe-cutions. Participation of Lefkadians in the 1821 Greek War of Independence.

1864: Lefkada is united with Greece, together with the other Ionian Islands.