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August 2004



Greece, a parliamentary republic, is officially known as the Hellenic Republic or Elliniki Dhimokratia. Covering a land area (area: 51,146 sq. mi. / 131,957 sq. km.) slightly smaller than the size of Alabama and population (July 2004 est. pop: 10,647,529 million) approximately twice as large as that state, Greece is located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe.

The land area we know as Greece today has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years and, at various times home to, among others, the Minoan, Mycenean, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations. By the late 15th century existing Greek city states were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire and finally achieved its independence in 1829. During the last two centuries Greece’s land area expanded as a result of international treaties.

This year’s Summer Olympics continue the tradition of the modern Olympic Games , held every four years from 1896 to the present. The very first Olympic games were held every four years from 776 B.C to 393 A.D.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. Dept. of State Background Notes; Columbia Gazetteer, 2003

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