Greece in a Paragraph
Greece is the world’s first and oldest democracy and the cradle of Western civilization. It fell to Rome in 146 BC, but the Romans adopted Greek culture and continued to spread it all over the world. In 1453, the Ottoman Empire invaded Greece. Greece remained under Ottoman, then Turkish, domination for 400 years. In 1821, Greece fought and won its independence from Turkey. European powers stepped in and installed a king in the newly independent Greece. Greece fought for the allies in WWI and WWII and was occupied by Germany. A brutal civil war followed WWII, some say funded by the same allies to keep communists from coming to power. Unrest between left and right continued for years and a military junta took over in 1967 in a coup d’état. The dictatorship continued until July 1974, when the junta collapsed. This was quickly followed by a referendum that abolished the monarchy and reintroduced democracy for the first time since the 15th century. From the late 70s until 2010, Greek governments borrowed heavily to fund their election promises. After the financial collapse of 2009, this borrowing was exposed, and the European Union and International Monetary Fund (EU/IMF) took the debt off private lenders’ hands and extended rescue funds in a “bailout” of Greece. Greece was now in debt to the EU/IMF at levels they could never pay back. Austerity required by EU/IMF put Greece into depression. On July 5, 2015 Greece will vote in a referendum whether to accept continued austerity terms and remain in the Euro or reject those terms and effectively leave the Eurozone.