Surface area: 131.957 km²
Number of inhabitants: 11 million
Religion: Greek orthodox, Muslim
Form of Governmen: parliamentary republic
Greece has a score of 0.866 on the Human Development Index (HDI). This is a composite number that includes numbers related to life expectancy, education and per capita income. This number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. Greece ranks number 29 out of 186 countries worldwide.
Greece is known for having a high-quality civilization at an early stage. Archaeological findings show that a Minoan civilization was present from 3500 BC. Especially Crete was an important location with regards to maritime trade. The Minoan civilization went on for about two thousand years until a volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini put an end to this. After the Trojan War in the 12th and 13th centuries BC, Greece became the target of the Dorians, after which the area increasingly decayed and unrest between the city states increased. Only in the fifth and sixth centuries BC did this become a little more stable which is when Athens became the richest and most powerful city state in Greece under Pericles’ rule. In the centuries that followed, Greece was the target of the Macedonians, Romans, Turks, Normans and Bulgarians. Greece as we know it has only been an independent country since 1830, the first four years with Nafplio as its capital. In the first 150 years of independence, Greece experienced many turbulent times, such as changes in government forms and leaders, two world wars, a civil war that followed immediately upon World War II and coup d’état in 1967. Only since joining the NAVO in 1980 and the European Union in 1981, the situation has become much more stable.
Greece is known for its turbulent political history. After the Second World War, a civil war broke out, which lasted until 1949. In 1967 the democratic situation was disrupted once more by a military coup. The colonel regime banished the king. In 1973, Greece became a presidential, parliamentary monarchy after the colonel regime collapsed in 1974. From then on, politics was dominated by two parties: a socialist party and a conservative party. Between 2009 and 2015 there was a lot of political unrest. In 2015, early parliamentary elections were held which were won by the left party Syriza.
Tourism is the main source of income for Greece. This also makes the country vulnerable, because tourists are not loyal to a certain country and because in times of recession tourism decreases. (source: landenweb.nl)
Many Greek customs and traditions find their roots in the Christian Greek Orthodox religion. The church plays an important role in the daily life of the Greeks, and religion and tradition are closely linked. Greek superstition finds its source in both religion and paganism. Some Greeks, especially people in the villages, believe that someone can catch the evil eye, a curse given by a glare that has negative intensions. Many Greeks carry a blue eye in the form of an ornament as protection.