Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian which the ancient name was Corcyra. With some smaller is. it forms a dept of Greece. In the 8th cent. BC it was colonized by the Corinthians and soon establish. an extensive commerce. Rivalry soon broke out with Corinth, from which Corfu. became independent, and about 664 BC a battle was fought—the most a net sea-fight on record—between the two cities. In 435 BC it allied with Athens and so precipitated the Peloponnesian war.
Civil dissensions caused a decline in its power, and in 229 tic it was taken from Illyrian pirates, who made it a free state but used it as a naval station. It was held by the Venetians from 1206 until 1797, when it was ceded to France. Russia and Turkey captured it in 1798, but gave it back to France in 1807. It was in the hands of the Brit. from 1815 to 1864 when it was incorporated in Greece. It was occupied by the Italians 1941-43, by the Germans 1944-45, and liberated by the Brit. in Sept. 1944. The surface is mountainous: the climate in summer is hot and dry, and in the winter rainy.
Corfu has an area of 227 sq. m. (dept 244 sq. m.) and a pop. of 100,000 (dept 102,000). Since Venetian times the chief exports have been olives and olive oil. On all sides there is luxurious vegetation, pears, figs, pomegranates and flowers. The best Gk musicians come from Corfu. The excellent roads are relics of the English. occupation. In 1916 the defeated Serbian army occupied Corfu,which became the scat of the Serbian Gov for the rest of the war.