from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Greeks (from Latin Graeci , the name for the Greek-speaking peoples of antiquity, etymological origin not known for sure; modern Greek Éllines Έλληνες , Hellenes ') are an Indo-European people whose linguistic roots can be traced back to the second millennium BC. Today over 10.5 million Greeks live in Greece and Cyprus ; still about 7 million people of the Greek diaspora .

Names for the Greeks

Achaeans, Danaers, Argives

In Homer , the Greeks moving towards Troy are referred to as the Danaer ( Δαναοί Danaoí ) or as the Argives ( Ἀργεῖοι Argeîoi ) after the tribe of the Achaians ( Ἀχαιοί Achaioí ) who settled on the Peloponnese , after Danaos , the progenitor of Menelaus and Agamemnon . The tribe of the Dorians , which had shaped ancient Greece since the Doric migration , was never used for the overall name of the Greeks.

Hellenes ( Ἕλληνες )

The term Hellenes ( ancient Greek Ἕλληνες Héllēnes ) - originally the name of a Thessalian tribe after its mythical ancestor Hellen  - for the Greeks is documented by Pausanias , Herodotus and Thucydides and was used in classical Greece as a term for the entirety of the Greek-speaking peoples (opposite term: Barbarians - βάρβαροι bárbaroi ).

In the late ancient Eastern Roman Empire , the term Hellenes was initially only used for the followers of the ancient Greek cults, later for all non-Christians, but was then used again in educated circles towards the end of the empire for Greek speakers ( Plethon 1418: “We are ... the descent according to Hellenes. Both the language and the education inherited from the fathers testify to this ”). Until the 18th / 19th In the 19th century, however, the self-designation of many Greeks remained Ῥωμαῖοι Rhoméi ("Romans" or Rhomeans ), since the reference to the Christian Byzantine Empire was still of great importance during the Ottoman rule and shaped the self-perception of broad sections of the population. This changed fundamentally only when in the early 19th century, fueled by enthusiasm for Greece in England, France and Germany, a return to the pre-Christian civilization of antiquity came.

Contemporary Greeks use the term Έλληνες ( Éllines 'Hellenes'), based on their language and the historical name of the country in which they live ( ancient Greece ). In German usage, the term Hellas is used more literarily for Greece, it can also be found in terms such as Hellenism as a post-classical epoch of ancient Greece, the Hellenists as Greek-speaking Jews, the Philhellenes as friends of Greece and Panhellenism as a political model.

Greeks / Graeci ( Γραικοί )

The Latin name Graecus goes back to the Greeks who settled in Italy, later Magna Graecia , in the 8th century BC and called themselves Graikoí or similar. In Homer, the name of a Boeotian city ​​called Graia ( Γρα belegtα ) is documented, Pausanias mentions Graia as the old name of the Boeotian city Tanagra .

In Aristotle ( Metaphysics , 1352), the oldest source for the Greek name is Graikoi ( Γραικοί ). He mentions the inhabitants of central Epirus , who were originally called 'Greeks' ( Γραικοί ) and were only later called Hellenes. This view is confirmed by other sources; the Parian Chronicle even mentions the year 1521 BC. Given for the time of the renaming of the Greeks in Hellenes.

The Latin term Graeci eventually became the etymological basis for the designation of the people in almost all languages, although translations of the term Hellenes mostly also exist. The neo-Greek enlightener Adamantios Korais suggested reintroducing the term instead of the Romei used at the time .

Byzantines / Romans ( Ῥωμαῖοι / Ῥωμιοί / Ρωμιοί )

In Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire (Greek Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων basileia tone Rhōmaiōn , Empire Roman '), the population is also referred to by the end of antiquity continue as, Romans' ( Ῥωμαῖοι Rhoméi later and Neugriechisch also Ρωμιοί Romií ; see also Rhomäer ) - more often than Greeks again after the schism in 1054, as opposed to the Roman Church ( Γραικοί Graikoi ). Even today the term is used by Greeks when the Orthodox, Byzantine tradition of the people is to be emphasized. The Greeks of the Middle Ages have been referred to as 'Byzantines' by historians since the 19th century.

The term Rumi was also used for the Greeks in Turkish and Arabic , for example in the Koran .

Ionians / Yunan ( Ἴωνες )

East of Greece, the Ionian people gave their name to the Greeks. In Hebrew is since biblical times יָוָן Javan the term for the Greeks, the country is called in modern Hebrewיוון and the residents יוונים Jevanim .

The Persians referred to Greece as Yauna , and the term penetrated all languages ​​of the Persian Empire. Borrowed from the Persians is the Sanskrit designation Yavana and Pali -word Yona . So the term ultimately spread throughout the Muslim world and far in the Indian-influenced world, examples are Arabic يوناني, DMG Yūnānī , Turkish Yunan and Indonesian Yunani .


The ancient Greeks according to their own understanding

Spread of the Greek dialects on the Balkan Peninsula

The different peoples of the Greeks defined belonging to the Hellenes via the different variants of the Greek language and via the Olympic cult in religion . Religious festivals such as the Eleusis Mysteries , for which residents of all Greek peoples gathered, formed a unity, quasi-national manifestation in the politically fragmented Greek world, which was often shaped by mutual competition or war. The relatively uniform temple architecture in the entire Greek area is an example of the role of religion for the entire Greek culture. The Panhellenic Olympic Games , a cultic competition on the sacred grove at the Zeus sanctuary in Olympia , were only open to free citizens of this same Greek world. To what extent the Macedonians spoke a language related to Greek or a dialect of Greek is still controversial today, and their affiliation with the Greeks in antiquity - especially of Athens - was doubted. From 408 BC However, there is evidence that they were admitted to the Olympic Games, so they were recognized as Hellenes.

Non -Greeks were referred to onomatopoetically as barbarians ( βάρβαροι bárbaroi ), a word that  reflects the 'stammering' -  bar bar - of the incomprehensible foreign language. Later the word became synonymous with unpolished, uncivilized and cultureless behavior, see also barbarism .

Spread of the Greeks to late antiquity

Greek colonies in the Mediterranean

From around 800 BC Numerous Greek Poleis established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, including the Black Sea. Most of these colonies of the mother city (Metropolis) were friendly but politically independent city-states. Greek foundations are z. B. Massilia ( Marseille ), Nikaia ( Nice ), Neapolis ( Naples ), Syrakusai ( Syracuse ), Taras ( Taranto ), Byzantion (from approx. 337 Constantinople / from 1930 Istanbul ), Dioskurias ( Sochumi ), Kerkinitis ( Evpatoria ), Odessos ( Varna ) and Trapezus ( Trabzon ).

Expansion of the Greeks under Alexander the Great

With the empire of Alexander the Great , Greek became the state language of a huge empire. Greek became the lingua franca of the Middle East and remained so when the Eastern Mediterranean came under Roman rule. Although there were repeated declarations of freedom for some or even all of the Greek poleis - for example by Emperor Nero  - Greece was in fact part of the Roman Empire for centuries , whose elites usually spoke Greek as well as Latin. East of the borders of the Roman Empire, under the rule of the Parthians, Greek lost its meaning until the rule of the Sassanids . In eastern Iran, Greek disappeared under the Kushana of coins and inscriptions, in today's Afghanistan only a Greek alphabet with additional characters remained in use for the native language until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century. In the third and fourth centuries AD, Latin gained importance in the eastern part of the Roman Empire at the expense of Greek. Writers such as Ammianus Marcellinus , who came from Antioch in Syria , wrote their works in Latin. It was not until after the reign of Emperor Justinian , when the Eastern Roman Empire lost the Latin-speaking provinces or were permanently devastated by wars, that Greek became the second official language of the Eastern Roman, later Byzantine Empire - in the 7th century after the reign of Emperor Herakleios it was converted into Latin from this point of view. During this period, Greek continued to lose importance in the Orient, in Egypt in favor of Coptic and in Syria to the Syriac language . Later, after the Islamic expansion (from 632), Arabic prevailed there.

During the late classical mass migration fell from 250 to 396 since first in Thrace and then south into the Peloponnese Visigoths one. In 378 there was the battle of Adrianople (378) later the sanctuary of Epidaurus was sacked by the Goths. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Ostrogoths and Huns invaded what is now Greece. While these peoples were still moving on, the Slavs began a sustained land grabbing of the Balkans in the early 7th century , but this was mainly concentrated in the hinterland, while the (partially) fortified cities along the coastal regions remained uninterrupted in Greek hands. Konstantin Porphyrogennetos stated in the 10th century: "The whole country was Slavicized and barbaric."

Greece in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

Only in the early 9th century was Byzantium able to secure its rule over Greece again. Greek-speaking residents of the Eastern Empire began to be resettled to Europe and the Slavic immigrants to be graced in a targeted manner . The Greek Orthodox culture flourished again in Greece (see also Mystras ), which is interesting from an architectural and historical point of view as it also integrated ancient components into the church buildings and thus for the first time again established a reference to ancient Greek culture, but at the same time also theirs final overcoming took place. With the conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 , new rulers came to Greece: Frankish knights and above all the sea power Venice secured important trading posts for the oriental trade in Greece and threatened the Byzantine-Eastern church culture of the Greeks.

In western Greece and today's southern Albania, however, a Greek successor state to the Byzantine Empire was formed with the despotate Epiros , while in western Asia Minor the empires of Nikaia (today Iznik) and on the south-eastern Black Sea coast with the Empire of Trapezunt, other Greek states emerged as a Byzantine successor. Nikaia then succeeded in re-conquering Constantinople in 1261.

With the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453 , Turkish rule over Greece began. The Ottoman regime exercised its rule in a tribute system, but largely tolerated the church and left local administration and jurisdiction to the locals. From the 16th to the 18th century, a local bourgeoisie emerged again, which included not only Greek, but also Albanian, Sephardic- Jewish, Slavic and Turkish populations. In the Ottoman Empire, the term 'Greeks' was synonymous with members of the Greek Orthodox Church, just as 'Turks' was synonymous with followers of Islam.

The reawakening of a Hellenic nation

Some Greek historians ( Paparrigopoulos , Vakalopoulos ) see the origin of the modern Hellenic consciousness in the return to the ancient Hellenes by late Byzantine authors ( Plethon , see above) after the Fourth Crusade in 1204. This is put into perspective by Greek Marxist historians ( Zevgos , Rousos ); they emphasize the modern character of the formation of the Greek nation. What is certain is that the members of the Orthodox Church, which also included the Greeks, were fundamentally discriminated against in the Ottoman Empire and largely perceived the rule of the Turks to be foreign rule ("Turkish rule", τουρκοκρατία tourkokratía ).

The uprising against Ottoman rule in the 19th century came from Greek-speaking Christians who came from a relatively educated, bourgeois class who controlled a significant part of trade in the Ottoman Empire. As early as the end of the 18th century, in contrast to the Orthodox Church institutionalized in the empire, they had begun to re-adopt Greek antiquity as a model of a non-ecclesiastical, Greek feeling of nation. The support from the West and Central European Philhellenes , who saw the freedom fighters as descendants of the ancient Greeks and dreamed of a return to ancient Hellas, provided additional impetus for a return to ancient Greece.

The Greek state created in 1822, which was sanctioned by the London Protocol in 1830 as well as the national Greek idea, referred to ancient Greece. Geographical names, for example, have been largely regrecised . With the Katharevousa ('pure language') a national language close to ancient Greek was artificially created, which remained the official language in Greece until 1976 and was only abolished as such after the supreme dictatorship was overcome .

This also means that the thesis of the German orientalist Fallmerayer , published in 1830 , that the ancient Greeks died out in the Middle Ages and were ousted by Hellenized Slavs and Albanians, was fiercely opposed by the emerging Greek elite. Fallmerayer's argument, which assumes an ancient “dynasty of the Hellenes” and states that no “drop of noble and unmixed Hellenic blood” flows in the veins of the modern Greeks, was soon contradicted scientifically (today it is considered refuted, while the Albanian- and the proportion of the population of the modern Greek state population of Slavic origin is no longer contested); nevertheless Fallmerayer involuntarily encouraged the Greek nationalists to emphasize cultural continuity. The classic of Greek historiography, Konstantinos Paparrigopoulos ' History of the Hellenic Nation from the Earliest to Modern Times , has fundamentally shaped the self-image of the Greeks as the successors of the ancient Hellenes.

Immigration to Greece

Ethnographic map of the Balkans from 1898

Only about a third of the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire lived in the newly created state on the territory of today's central and southern Greece. B. Smyrna or Constantinople were still in Turkish hands. At the same time there were still members of Slavic peoples, Albanians and Turks in the Greek state.

By the end of the 19th century, Greek historians had completed the rediscovery and rehabilitation of the Byzantine past. The glory and splendor of the Byzantine Empire temporarily faded classical antiquity in their eyes and also provided them with the theoretical framework for the Megali Idea ( μεγάλη ιδέα 'great idea'), the vision of the Greek people striving for freedom. This vision, which sought to unite all areas of Greek settlement from the Balkans to Asia Minor within the boundaries of a single state with the capital Constantinople, dominated the independent state during the first century of its existence.

By 1920 the Greek state managed to expand its territory (with the exception of the Dodecanese) to what is now the state territory. Further attempts at enlargement were stopped by the so-called Asia Minor catastrophe : In the Treaty of Lausanne , the territorial borders (still valid today) were drawn and an extensive "population exchange" between the states was ordered - i.e. the targeted expulsion of the respective national minorities. This means that the Greeks residing in Asia Minor (around 1.5 million) were forced to emigrate to Greece, while the Turks (around 0.5 million) living in the area that had now fallen to Greece were forced to emigrate to Turkey.

At the same time, however, residents of other eastern communities were given an opportunity to immigrate to the newly created Greece. At the same time, numerous Slavs and Albanians moved to the emerging nation states of the Balkans.

Historical events as a reason for migration movements

The Greek emigrants

Migration is an almost continuous part of the history of the Greeks: One can define four phases of Greek emigration from the home country:

  • The ancient colonization of the Mediterranean and Black Seas
  • The spread of Greeks in the empire of Alexander the Great during Hellenism
  • The spread of Greeks in the territory of the Ottoman Empire after 1453
  • The flight of scholars and traders to Western Europe during the Ottoman Empire
  • Modern emigration to Western Europe and overseas since the 19th century

Modern emigration begins around the middle of the 19th century. According to the Greek National Statistical Service, around 511,000 people emigrated from Greece between 1850 and 1940, 463,000 of them to the USA alone. The highest number of emigrants can be found in the years 1906–1915. After the Second World War, emigration from Greece increased again in the mid-1950s, with annual figures of 12,000 to 30,000 until 1975, with the USA increasingly taking a back seat in favor of Western Europe. There is also a return migration to Greece, but this is much less than the emigration.

At the beginning of the 20th century, more Greeks emigrated overseas from the settlement areas outside the Greek state than to the Greek state itself.

Similar to the ancient colonists, many of the modern Greeks abroad have always maintained contact with their mother country and have preserved the language, religion and customs in their new homeland. The self-confidence as Greeks or Greek diaspora has been preserved to this day among many of the up to 4 million Greeks abroad, often even after adopting the nationality of their new home country.

Self-image of today's Greeks

"It is indeed astonishing how many aspects of today's political life in Greece - especially Athens - have ancient parallels", writes Heinz A. Richter in his work Greece in the 20th Century, giving examples such as "the passionate part in life the Politeia, the events of which are eagerly discussed ”and goes up to character similarities between modern and ancient Greeks.

As the 'direct descendants of the ancient Greeks', the Greeks place great value on knowledge of antiquity. History is already on the curriculum in elementary school, and ancient Greek is a compulsory subject. Ancient scholars and their writings such as Homer, Plato and Socrates are important, the critical examination of the legacy of antiquity often plays a major role culturally. In the name dispute over the name of the state of Macedonia , the Greek state refers to the succession of the northern Greeks from the ancient Macedonians and is very critical of the appropriation of Alexander the Great by Macedonia.

At the same time, many Greeks, even those who grew up outside of today's Greek national territory, still feel that they are Romii ('Romans', cf. Romiosini). This strong identification with Byzantium is explained not least by the traditionally large, fundamentally identity-creating influence of the Greek Orthodox Church on Greece. The Byzantine heritage goes beyond religion, it is also reflected in popular belief, in manners, customs, music, etc. Byzantine legends such as For example, the “emperor petrified to marble” (the last Byzantine emperor Konstantinos Palaiologos ), who would one day rise again and liberate the Romaii from foreign Ottoman rule, live on to this day as a popular belief.

This identification of the Greeks with their medieval empire also shapes the distrust of the - Franconian i. e. Catholic - West, which in their eyes left them alone and betrayed them in the fight against the Ottomans for reasons of religious power struggles and influence (cf. Schisma ).

Even modern Greek scholars such as Adamantios Korais , who deeply despised Byzantium as a priestly obscurantism and identified himself exclusively with antiquity, could not do anything against this deeply rooted identification of the people with Byzantium .

The Greeks in Greece and Cyprus


The Greeks form the national people in Greece ; their number is around 11 million. Since the Greek constitution defines the Orthodox Church as the state church, members of other, in Greek usage “foreign denominations” ( ξένα δόγματα xena dogmata ) are often not considered to be Greeks in the real sense. Legal recognition exists only for the Muslim minority (formed by Turks and Pomaks ), other minority languages ​​such as Albanian , Aromanian and Aegean Macedonian have no official status in Greece. The approximately 50,000 members of the Greek Catholic Church as well as younger Christian churches are statistically listed as Greeks of a foreign religion.


About 721,000 Greeks ( 2004 ) make up around 78 percent of the population in Cyprus . They emerged from a mixture of the ancient Greek island population with Greeks who moved from the mainland in the Middle Ages. Due to the long political and spatial isolation in the Middle Ages and modern times, some linguistic archaisms from the Middle Ages have survived to this day. As a result, Cypriot Greek , the colloquial language of the Cypriot Greeks , differs noticeably from the standard Greek language. The latter is still used in all formal contexts (education, offices, media) and in writing. The Greek Cypriots have been religious , earlier also in contrast to the Cypriot Turks as Cypriots , since 431 autocephalous ( Church of Cyprus ). Nevertheless, the cultural connection to the Greek mother country has always been very strong, so that the Greek Cypriots still understand each other according to their own understanding of the Greeks, but also set themselves apart from them. Since the Turkish invasion of 1974 , almost all Greek Cypriots (except for a small minority of around 500 people) have lived on the remaining territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

Greeks abroad

Traditional Greek settlement areas


Location of the Greek language islands in southern Italy

The languages ​​of the Greek enclaves in Italy are grouped under the name Griko . According to various theories, the Griko-speaking Italians are either descendants of Greek colonists in Great Greece ( Magna Graecia ) of antiquity or descendants of Byzantines who settled in southern Italy in the 9th century. The number of speakers is estimated at around 70,000. The language islands are concentrated in nine villages each in two regions, Grecìa Salentina on the Salento peninsula and Bovesìa ( Greek-Calabrian dialect ) in southern Calabria . The Griko has the status of a minority language in Italy.


The northern part of the Epirus region ( Ήπειρος Ípiros ) belonging to Albania is still inhabited by Greek people today. The region around the city of Argyrókastro ( Αργυρόκαστρο ), in Albanian Gjirokastër , was inhabited by more than 100,000 Greeks. There are quite different information about the current number. According to Albanian information, they number around 66,000 people. Several thousand Greeks also live in the Albanian cities of Vlora and the capital Tirana , but their families all originally come from the northern Epirus . Many are likely to have immigrated to Greece after the border was opened due to the poor economic situation in Albania. Cultural and political rights for minorities are guaranteed in Articles 3 and 20 of the Albanian Constitution .

Black Sea Region

The Pontier ( Πόντιοι Póndii ) are the largest Greek group to the Black Sea was established. Their settlement area reached from the city of Sinop (Greek Σινώπη Sinópi ) in the west to shortly before Batumi in the east. The largest city in the region was Trabzon (Greek Τραπεζούς Trapezous ). Many cities in what is now the Turkish region were populated almost exclusively by Greeks until 1922, but after the Asia Minor catastrophe in 1922, almost all Greeks had to leave the country. Most settled in areas of northern Greece from which many non-Greek-speaking residents had emigrated to Bulgaria and Turkey. Their dialect, the Pontic , is still cultivated there today.

Greeks from the Pontus ( Πόντος Póndos ) settled on the Georgian Black Sea coast in the Middle Ages , as did the Urumians in Abkhazia . Many of these families were assimilated by the locals , the others mostly immigrated to Greece after the fall of the Iron Curtain .

In addition, Greeks settled on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast around the city of Burgas and in Eastern Thrace until the 20th century . They formed large communities in the cities of Constanța , Plovdiv (Greek Φιλιππόπολη Philippópoli ), Varna and Odessa . In the Ukraine , in parts of the Crimea and around the city of Mariupol, there are still considerable Greek minorities who also speak a variant of Pontic.

The rums are descendants of the Greek Byzantines. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, many of the Greek Christians who remained in the Black Sea region converted to Islam . Their Muslim descendants also speak Pontic ( Rumca in Turkish ).

Asia Minor and Middle East

Ethnological map 1910, the Ottoman Greeks in blue

Besides the already mentioned Pontians , Greeks lived in other regions of Asia Minor until 1922 . The largest Greek city at that time was Smyrna ( Σμύρνη Smyrni ), now İzmir . Almost all of today's Turkish Aegean coast was settled by Greeks, as Greek colonies had already been founded there in pre-Christian antiquity . In some regions they made up the overwhelming majority of the population, around ten percent of the population in total. All but the Greek residents of Constantinople had to relocate to Greek territory in the course of the population exchange after 1922 . After the Istanbul pogrom in 1955, most of the Greeks who remained in Istanbul also left their homeland. Today, apart from the Turkish Aegean islands Gökçeada (Greek Ίμβρος Imbros ) and Bozcaada (Greek Τένεδος Tenedos ) as well as in Istanbul (Greek Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoúpolis ), there are no longer any Greeks living in Turkey . 1650 of them lived in Istanbul in 2006.

Many Greeks also lived on the south coast, in what is now the Turkish province of Hatay . In the Sanjak of Alexandretta lived Antiochian Greeks ; the number fell from 50,000 in 1895 to around 30,000 in the 1930s, and in 1995 the population of Turks of Greek descent was estimated at 10,000. The remaining Greeks in Hatay Province were forced to speak Turkish , so that they were quickly assimilated. In 1999 there were 2,500 Greeks living in Turkey.

The Greek Congregation founded in Jerusalem in 1937

While almost 500,000 Greeks lived in and around the city of Alexandria in Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century , there were only just under 100,000 in 1950 and barely more than 800 in 2000. In addition, there were and still are some smaller Greek communities in Iraq and Lebanon .

Since the 1930s and after the Holocaust , Greek Jews began to emigrate to Israel , who are now largely assimilated into Israeli society.

The Greeks in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have migrated there as professionals or business people in recent decades.

Modern Greek Diaspora

Like other European countries, Greece was hit by a wave of emigration to North America and Australia in the late 19th century. Sometimes there were also political reasons.


Main article: Greeks in Germany

From 1700, it was mainly Greek merchants who emigrated to Germany, they were active in the fur trade , tobacco and tropical fruit trade.

About 1 million Greeks were in the Federal Republic of Germany during the period of guest workers . However, since there was constant fluctuation , the resident population reached its highest level with over 400,000 Greeks in 1973 and 1974. After the fall of the Greek military dictatorship from 1974 to 1976, it fell by an eighth. Today around 300,000 live in Germany; however, the distribution is very different from region to region. There is a strong south-north divide . In addition, more Greeks live in urban areas than in the countryside.

During and after the Greek civil war, many Greek communists emigrated to the GDR for political reasons or sent their children to children's homes there. This wave only ended with the end of the military dictatorship.

The development of the Greek resident population in Germany (since 1967)
year 1967 1970 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997
number 200,961 342,891 407.614 353.733 296,803 300,824 280.614 274.973 336.893 355,583 363.202
year 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
number 365.438 354,600 315,989 309.794 303.761 294,891 287.187 278.063 276,685 283,684

Source: Federal Statistical Office


Main article: Greeks in Austria

Greek merchants and entrepreneurs came to Austria since the 17th century. You worked in trade and banking, and many students came in the middle of the 20th century. In contrast to the Greeks in Germany , this foreign community is characterized by greater homogeneity and lower fluctuation over the various decades.

United Kingdom

About 212,000 Greeks live here. There are many Greek Cypriot immigrants living in London in particular, which is due to the fact that Cyprus was under British rule from 1878 to 1960.


About 35,000 Greeks live in France. Many well-known Greek personalities were in exile in France during the Greek military dictatorship .

North America

Greek immigrants in New York on parade on July 4, 1915

As part of the waves of European immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Greeks also emigrated to the USA and Canada . Many of them retained their cultural identity . The Greek embassy in the USA estimates the number of Greeks there at 2 million. Another 350,000 live in Canada.

Around 200,000 Greeks live in and around Chicago , and another 200,000 in and around New York . The US community with the highest Greek-born population (9.3%) is Tarpon Springs , Florida . In Montréal and Toronto , Canada, the number of Greek residents is estimated at 120,000 each. Roads in these residential areas in North America are often signposted in Greek.

In the year 2000, 1,153,295 people of Greek descent lived in the USA, 365,435 of whom still spoke their Greek mother tongue. In 2012, 133,917 US residents were born in Greece.

Immigration of Greeks to the USA
year number
1890-1917 450,000
1918-1924 70,000
1925-1945 30,000
1946-1982 211,000
1986-2012 37,000

South America

During the wave of emigration to North America, around 50,000 Greeks also ended up in South America, especially in Brazil , where 20,000 Greeks live in São Paulo alone .


These Greeks are also emigrants and their descendants. 75 percent of the approximately 700,000 Greeks in Australia live in Sydney and Melbourne . Melbourne is now the third largest city in the world inhabited by Greeks and the largest outside of Greece.

Peoples with ties to the Greeks


According to one hypothesis, the (obviously Indo-European) people are the Dayuan , who lived around 130 BC. Chr. In China is described sources of Greek descendants of settlers from the time of Alexander the Great emerged. So z. B. speculates that the yuan component of the name is a transliteration of the words Yona or Yavana , which in Pali describe the word 'Ionians' (cf. also Persian یونانی‌ها, DMG Yūnān-hā , "Greeks"). According to this, Dayuan (literally: 'Big Yuan') would actually mean 'Big Ionians'. The contact of the Dayuan with the Chinese is considered to be a key historical event as it was the first contact between an Indo-European and Chinese culture. This encounter laid the foundation for the emergence of the Silk Road , which was the central link between East and West, both for the exchange of goods and for cultural identity. Until the 15th century.

Chitral Kalasha

The Chitral Kalasha or Black Kafiri people are an ethnic minority of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in northwestern Pakistan . She lives in a remote mountain region of Chitral , the Bumburiet, Birir and Rumbur valleys , and sees herself as a direct descendant of the Macedonians from the time of Alexander the Great . However, since there is evidence of a much earlier existence long before Alexander's invasion of Persia , these assumptions have been heavily questioned in recent times. The Chitral Kalasha speak Kalasha-mun , also called Kalasha , an Indo-Iranian or Dardic language that is threatened with extinction . Around three thousand members of this ethnic group are the only people in the present to have retained a polytheistic religion with presumed references to that of the ancient Greeks or the early Proto-Indo-Europeans . The partly clear European traits in their culture as well as in their physical characteristics have led to various hypotheses, for example a direct descent from the ancient Greeks or the Proto-Indo-Europeans.


The Urum (own name: Urum , Pl. Urumları ) are a small Turkic-speaking minority predominantly in the Caucasus , southwestern Ukraine , the Crimea and the Balkans . The term Graeko-Tatars is also known as an alternative term from German Turkology . From an ethnic point of view, the members of this ethnic group are to be regarded as Greeks (Turkish rum , Greek), whose ancestors (around 9,600 people) adopted the Tatar language around 1780 . The Urum ethnic group today comprises around 13,000 people. The Urum are Greek Orthodox Christians . In censuses , the Urum in Georgia are listed as "Greeks" rather than Turkic people because of their beliefs .


  • Gerhard Grimm: Greeks . In: Edgar Hösch, Karl Nehring, Holm Sundhaussen (Hrsg.): Lexicon for the history of Southeast Europe . Böhlau Verlag, 2004, ISBN 3-205-77193-1 , p. 255 ff .
  • Richard Clogg : History of Greece in the 19th and 20th Centuries. A demolition . Cologne (Romiosini) 1997, ISBN 3-929889-13-7
  • Edgar Hösch : History of the Balkan Countries. From the early days to the present . Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-45631-6
  • Manfred Kaiser: Migration and Remigration - The Example of Greece . In: Communications from labor market and occupational research . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1985, (PDF; 1.5 MB)
  • Mark Mazower : The Balkans . BVT, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-442-76040-2
  • Gotthard Strohmaier : The Greeks weren't Europeans. In: Eckhard Höfner, Falk P. Weber (eds.): Politia Litteraria. Festschrift for Horst Heintze on his 75th birthday. Glienicke (Berlin) / Cambridge (Mass.) 1998, pp. 198-206.
  • Pavlos Tzermias : Modern Greek History. An introduction . Francke, Tübingen / Basel 1999, ISBN 3-7720-1792-4

Individual evidence

  1. Ἐσλαβώθη δὲ πᾶσα ἡ χώρα καὶ γέγονε βάρβαρος Eslavothi de pasa i chora ke gone varvaros  - Konstantin Porphyrogennetos: De thematibus
  2. "Barbaric" in the sense of non-Roman
  3. ^ Minorities in Albania. Autonomous Region Trentino-South Tyrol. → Greeks: 105,000 people
  4. ^ Atlas of the Albanian population . Tirana 2003
  5. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Albania , website of Euralius
  6. ^ Günter Seufert, Christopher Kubaseck: Turkey - Politics, History, Culture . CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54750-8 , p. 162
  7. ^ Peter Alford Andrews: Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey . Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1989, ISBN 3-89500-297-6
  8. Marios D. Dikaiakos: The Greeks of Turkey, 1992–1995 Fact-sheet ( Memento of December 20, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Greece. The Turks of Western Thrace . (PDF; 350 kB) Human Rights Watch, 1999, p. 2, footnote
  10. D'une frontière à l'autre: Mouvements de Fuites, Mouvements discontinus dans le monde neo-hellénique. Présences néo-hélleniques dans les pays francophones ici-maintenant et ailleurs ( Memento from January 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 201 kB) XXe Colloque International des Néo-Hellénistes des Universités Francophones, Université Charles-de-Gaulle – Lille 3 , May 24-25-26, 2007
  11. ( Memento of the original from January 21, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. Immigration Statistics | Homeland Security.; Retrieved July 29, 2013