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Lefkada, -the White Rock (Lefki Petris) according to Homer- was known in the antiquity as Nirikos, bearing the name of its capital town. According to the main theory, the present name of the island derives from the wild white cliffs of the south cape, Lefkatas. Legend has it, that Sappho, the famous poetess, ended her life there out of love despair.

The first human traces on the island are dated from the palaeolithic era. The German archaeologist Wilhelm Dorpfeld (who was the assistant of Heinrich Schliemann, the archaeologist who discovered Troja and Mycenae) developed and supported the theory that Lefkada was Homer/s Ithaca..

During his excavations in Nydri, he brought to light significant finds from the bronze age (about 2000 BC). The ancient 7th century Nirikos, discovered in Kalligoni, at the location of Koulmos , was the first capital of the island and was surrounded by large walls. The island in the antiquity was colonised by the Corinthians and participated in many historical events.

It fought against the Persians, took part in the Peloponnesian War and the wars of Alexander the Great, fought against the Romans, in the 3rd AD century. During the Byzantine era, Lefkada was incorporated into the Despotate of Epirus. Little is known however about that time. The Ionian Islands came under the Venetian rule in 1293.
In 1300, the fort of Santa Maura was built, where the capital town of Lefkada was transferred for several years. From that time on, Venetians and Turks followed each other to power until 1503, when Lefkada –through a treaty- was given over to the Turks. In 1684 Lefkada was once again conquered by the Venetian Francesco Morosini. It is at that time, that the capital was transferred outside of the fort, to its present location and was given the name Amaxiki. The people of Lefkada lost their power over harbour and trade to the Venetians.

Those were hard years for the people. Cut off from the rest of Greece and with the Venetians showing no interest at all in developing a social and cultural background in Lefkada-the way they had done in Zante and Corfu- the people of Lefkada tried hard to create their own cultural identity. Nevertheless, the Venetians organised the public infrastructure of the island, founded courts and set the foundation of administration. A period of constant changes
  • Venetian rule: 1684-1797
  • French republic: 1797-1798
  • Russo-Turkish rule: 1798-1800
  • Ionian State: 1800-1807
  • Imperial French rule: 1807-1810
  • British protectorate: 1810-1864
  • Lefkada is united with Greece: On the 21st May 1864 Lefkada, along with the rest of the Ionian Islands, becomes part of Greece.
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Contact numbers :
+30 (26450) 21608.
+30 (26450) 21266.
+30 (26450) 21267.
fax : +30 (26450) 21226 . 21266
email : oseedlef@otenet.gr
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