700,000–160,000 B.C. Human remains, including a Neanderthal skull, suggest long habitation of Petralona Cave, Chalkidiki peninsula.

40,000 B.C. Signs of human habitation appear in several caves in the Louros Valley, Epirus.

7000-3000 B.C. People begin to live together in small villages, such as Sesklo and Dimini in Thessaly and Lerna, in the Argolid.

4000 B.C. Neolithic settlement on Athens Acropolis.

3000 B.C. Waves of invaders from Anatolia (today's Turkey) introduce bronze working and an early form of Greek to Crete, the Cyclades, and the mainland, beginning the Bronze Age.


1700 B.C. A massive earthquake on Crete destroys the great Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaestos. Undeterred, Minoans rebuild more luxurious digs.

1600–1100 B.C. The Mycenaean civilization rises and abruptly collapses, sending Greece into centuries of strife and cultural isolation. The Dorian Invasion from the north contributes to instability.

1627–00 B.C. A volcanic eruption on Santorini (Thera)—one of the most violent on record—buries ancient Akrotiri, causes destruction as far away as Crete, and helps speed Minoan decline; the voyage of the Argonauts; exploits of Hercules.


1300–1200 B.C. Mycenaean palace built atop Acropolis in Athinai (Athens)—a cultural, administrative, and military center.

1000–600 B.C. Glints of Greece's resurrection appear in the form of city-states. Homer and Hesiod initiate the first great age of Greek poetry. Coins first used as currency (Aegina’s silver drachma). Formation of the Greek alphabet.

776 B.C. The first Olympic Games are held.

700–500 B.C. Black figure pottery spreads throughout Greece from Corinth; red figureware spreads from Athens. Geometric statues of kouroi (youths) and korai (maidens) are widely produced. Athens and most Greek city-states are ruled by tyrants.


525–485 B.C. The birth of "Athenian democracy" under Cleisthenes. The great playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are born. Classical sculpture in marble and bronze flourishes.

490–480 B.C. The First and Second Persian Wars. Xerxes, emperor of Persia, invades Greece, burning Athens and the Acropolis. Greeks get revenge on land at Marathon and Plataea, and at sea near Salamis and Mycale.

480 B.C. The Battle of Thermopylae. Greeks led by Sparta’s King Leonidas fall to the Persians.

478 B.C. Athens League forms and rules over Greek cities.


461 B.C. First Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta.

461–429 B.C. Under Pericles, Athens begins to rebuild the Parthenon and ornament it with the sculptures now known as the Parthenon (or Elgin) Marbles.

431–404 B.C. Second Peloponnesian War leads to the fall of Athens and its empire. In 430–428, the Great Plague kills thousands, including Pericles.

399 B.C. Socrates is tried for heresy and sentenced to death. Given the chance to escape, he declines and drinks hemlock potion. Plato immortalizes him in The Apology.


338 B.C. At the Battle of Chaironeia, Philip of Macedon defeats the Greek armies and unifies Greece under Macedonian rule.

336–323 B.C. Philip's son Alexander the Great establishes reign over a kingdom that stretches as far as Egypt and India.

323 B.C. Alexander dies in Babylon. His successors squabble among themselves, squandering great parts of his empire.

146 B.C. After a series of wars, Rome crushes Greece, renaming the northern parts Macedonia, the southern and central parts Achaea.

50 B.C.–A.D. 200 Apostle Paul preaches in Athens. New Testament is written in Greek dialect, koine. Local author John of Patmos gets the last word, in the Book of Revelation.


A.D. 300s–400 Athens is a philosophical and educational mecca; 
Hadrian’s Library is rebuilt.

A.D. 328 Roman emperor Constantine the Great moves his capital to Byzantium (Constantinople), initiating the focus on the East that results in the Byzantine Empire.

476 Rome falls to the Goths; Greece is no longer a world power in any sphere, political or cultural.

1054 The Great Schism divides the east (Orthodox) and west 
(Roman) churches.

1204 Fourth Crusade (led by the Western powers) sacks Constantinople and divides up much of the Byzantine Empire.


1453 Constantinople falls to Sultan Mehmet II, initiating more than 350 years of Turkish domination of most of the Byzantine Empire, including Greece.

1571 Turkish fleet destroyed by a Western coalition led by Sicilian, Italian, and Spanish fleets at Lepanto (Naupaktos), Greece.

1687 A Venetian shell blows up the Parthenon, which was being used by the Turks to store gunpowder.

1801–05 Lord Elgin ships Parthenon Marbles to England, beginning a long battle between England and Greece for their possession.


1821–1829 Greeks fight War of Independence, enlisting Britain, Russia, and France as allies. In Battle of Navarino, Western powers crush Ottoman/Egyptian forces.

1829–1833 Greece becomes a monarchy under 17-year-old Catholic Prince Frederick Otto of Wittelsbach, son of Bavaria’s King Ludwig.

1834 Capital moved from Nafplion to Athens.

1843 Constitution demanded of King Otto in front of the palace (now Parliament, on Syntagma (Constitution) Square).

1863–1913 Reign of George I sees Greece regain much of its lost territory.


1896 First modern Olympic Games in Athens.

1913 King George I is assassinated at Thessaloniki.

1917 Greece enters World War I aligned with Britain and France.

1919 Greece occupies Izmir; Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) rises from ranks of military to champion Turkish nationalism.

1922–23 Greece receives 1.1 million refugees from Asia Minor (Turkey); Athens’ population doubles between 1920 and 1928.

1923 The Greco-Turkish War ends in disaster for Greece, with a compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. Greece takes in more than a million Greek refugees from Turkey.


1924–1928 Greece declares itself a republic, but political upheaval leads to 11 military coups.

1936–1944 Dictator George Metaxas takes over, modeling his Greece on the examples of Mussolini and Hitler.

1940–1941 Italy invades Greece, followed by more determined German forces.

1944 Greece is liberated; civil war soon breaks out in Athens and the north. Churchill and Stalin agree on respective spheres of influence over Greece and Romania.

1946–49 Cold War hostilities fuel civil war.

1952 Greek women gain the right to vote.


1967–1973 A military coup; King Constantine goes into exile; Operation Prometheus establishes military junta known as "the Colonels"; civil liberties are suspended. Performances of certain classical dramas, especially Electra, are forbidden as subversive. Tanks invade Polytechnic campus, killing 34 students.

1974 Turkey invades Cyprus; the junta collapses and a democratic republic is established when a referendum abolishes the monarchy.

1981 Greece joins EC (Common Market); PASOK victory brings leftist Andreas Papandreou to power.


1989 Papandreou government collapses under corruption charges.

1993 After a 3-year hiatus, PASOK and Papandreou are victorious at the polls.

1996 Greece and Turkey come to brink of war over islet of Imia.

1996 Papandreou resigns and is succeeded by Costas Simitis.

1997 Athens is selected as the site for the 2004 Olympic Games.

1998 The European Council begins entry negotiations with Cyprus with a view toward its inclusion in the European Union.

1999 The growth rate of the Greek economy remains strong for a fourth consecutive year, and the minister of finance speaks of a "new Greece." Joint rescue efforts after earthquakes in Turkey and Greece thaw relations with Turkey.


2000–2002 The Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, led by Costas Simitis, wins a third term. Express Samina ferry sinks near Paros, killing 80. Greece applies to become the 12th member of the Eurozone in 2001. John Paul II becomes first pope to visit Greece since 1054.

2004 Conservative Kostis Karamanlis elected prime minister. Greece erupts in joy when the national team wins European Soccer Championship shortly before the 2004 Olympic Games are held in Athens.

2006–2009 Widespread summer forest fires, many set by developers, devour vast stretches of the Greek countryside, the Peloponnese and Attica, many islands, and around Thessaloniki.


2009 Triggered by massive debts, Greece is thrown into a financial crisis that shakes confidence in the euro and rattles world markets.

2009–present Greece’s debt crisis worsens; strikes, protests, and riots rock Athens and other cities. Unemployment soars, with joblessness among youth reaching 60%. As the world economy declines, and the Greek debt to the EEC (Common Market) grows, tourism drops steeply, adversely affecting the already vexed Greek economy. New loans are issued and bailout packages put in place, along with new taxes and austerity measures.

2016 Immigrants, many from war-torn Syria, arrive in vast numbers, especially on Greek islands bordering Turkey. Macedonia closes its borders, stranding thousands of immigrants bound for Western Europe in northern Greece, where camps are opened.



Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.