View of Chalkis
|Area||3,684 km2 (1,422.4 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,745 m (5,725 ft)|
|Highest point||Mt. Dirphys|
|Population||198,130 (as of 2001)|
|Density||54 /km2 (140 /sq mi)|
Euboea (pron.: //; Greek: Εύβοια, Euvoia; Ancient Greek: Εὔβοια, Eúboia) is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about 150 kilometres (93 mi) long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres (31 mi) to 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). Its general direction is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.
Like most of the Greek islands, Euboea was originally known under other names in ancient times, such as Macris and Doliche from its shape, Ellopia and Abantis from the tribes inhabiting it.
Euboea was believed to have originally formed part of the mainland, and to have been separated from it by an earthquake. This is fairly probable, because it lies in the neighbourhood of a fault line, and both Thucydides and Strabo write that the northern part of the island had been shaken at different periods. In the neighbourhood of Chalcis, both to the north and the south, the bays are so confined as to make plausible the story of Agamemnon's fleet having been detained there by contrary winds. At Chalcis itself, where the strait is narrowest at only 40 m, it is called the Euripus Strait. The extraordinary changes of tide which take place in this passage have been a subject of note since classical times. At one moment the current runs like a river in one direction, and shortly afterwards with equal velocity in the other. A bridge was first constructed here in the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War (410 BC). The name Euripus developed during the Middle Ages into Evripo and Egripo, and in this latter form transferred to the whole island. Later the Venetians, when they occupied the district, altered it to Negroponte, referring to the bridge which connected it with the mainland.
The main mountains include Dirphys (1,745 m), Pyxaria (1,341 m) in the northeast and Ochi (1,394). The neighboring gulfs are the Pagasetic Gulf in the north, Malian Gulf, North Euboean Gulf in the west, the Euboic Sea and the Petalion Gulf. At the 2001 census the island had a population of 198,130, and a total land area of 3,684 km².
The history of the island of Euboea is largely that of its two principal cities, Chalcis and Eretria. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica, and would eventually settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily, such as Cumae and Rhegium, and on the coast of Macedonia. This opened new trade routes to the Greeks, and extended the reach of western civilization. The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities generally, and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon.
Chalcis and Eretria were rival cities, and appear to have been equally powerful for a while. One of the earliest major military conflict in Greek history took place between them, known as the Lelantine War, in which many other Greek city-states also took part. In 490 BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia[clarification needed]. Though it was restored nearby its original site after the Battle of Marathon, the city never regained its former eminence.
Both cities gradually lost influence to Athens, which saw Euboea as a strategic territory. Euboea was an important source of grain and cattle, and controlling the island meant Athens could prevent invasion and better protect its trade routes from piracy.
Athens invaded Chalcis in 506 BC and settled 4,000 Attic Greeks on their lands. After this conflict, the whole of the island was gradually reduced to an Athenian dependency. Another struggle between Euboea and Athens broke out in 446. Led by Pericles, the Athenians subdued the revolt, and captured Histiaea in the north of the island for their own settlement.
By 410 BC, the island succeeded in regaining its independence. Euboea participated in Greek affairs until falling under the control of Philip II of Macedon after the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, and eventually being incorporated into the Roman Republic in the second century BC. Aristotle died here too.
In the Middle Ages, Euboea came into prominence following the Fourth Crusade. In the partition of the Byzantine Empire by the crusaders, the island was occupied by a number of Lombard families, who divided it into three (later six) baronies. The island's rulers came early on under the influence of the Venetian Republic, which secured control of the island's commerce in the War of the Euboeote Succession and gradually expanded its control, until they acquired full sovereignty by 1390. On 12 July 1470, during the Ottoman–Venetian War of 1463–1479 and after a protracted and bloody siege, the well-fortified city of Negropont (Chalkis) was wrested from Venice by Mehmed II and the whole island fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Although the name Negropont remained current in European languages until the 19th century, the Turks themselves renamed the city and the island Eğriboz or Ağriboz from their word for the Euripus Strait. Under Ottoman rule, Ağriboz was the seat of a sanjak.
Euboea is linked to the mainland by two bridges, one that runs through Chalkis and is also accessible from Thebes, and another which bypasses Chalcis and is accessed from Athens. All of Euboea's modern bridges are suspended.
In the 1980s, the Dystos lake was filled with grass which was set on fire by farmers to make more farmland. This act caused devastation of much of the plants and the environment in that area. A part of the lake later regenerated. Also the municipalities of Anthidona and Avlida in the mid to late 20th century, which once were part of Boeotia, reverted to Chalkis. Since then, the postal codes corresponded with the rest of Euboea, including Skyros.
The population of the island according to the census of 2001 was 198,130, making it the second most populous island of Greece. As a whole the Euboeans share a cultural identity similar to that of the people in the rest of Central Greece and they speak a southern variety of Greek. In the southern part of the island there are Arvanite communities, with the area south of Aliveri being the northernmost limit of their presence in Euboea. Sarakatsani and Vlachs could be found mainly in the mountainous areas in central and northern Euboea respectively, but nowadays they have abandoned the nomadic way of life and live permanently in the towns and villages across the island.
The mining areas include magnesite in Mantoudi and Limni, lignite in Aliveri and iron and nickel from Dirfys. Marble is mined 3 km north of Eretria which include Marmor Chalcidicum and asbestos in the northeastern part of Carystus in the Okhi mountain. The trees include chestnuts.
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The island belongs to Euboea Prefecture which also includes two municipalities on the mainland, Anthidona and Avlida, as well as the island municipality of Skyros. At the 2001 census the prefecture had a population of 215,136 inhabitants, whereas the island itself had a population of 198,130. The prefecture's land area is 4,167.449 km², whereas the total land area of the municipalities actually on the island is 3,684.848 km², which includes that of numerous small offshore islets (Petalion Islands) near Euboea's southeastern tip.
- Konstantinos Kallias (9 July 1901- 7 April 2004), politician
- Georgios Papanikolaou (1883–1962) physician, a pioneer in cytology and early cancer detection
- Giannis Skarimpas, writer
- Nikolaos Kriezotis, leader of the Greek Revolution in Euboea
- St. David of Euboea, 16th Century Saint (from the village of Gardinitsa) who built a church dedicated to the Transfiguration
- Elder Porphyrios, Holy Father of the Orthodox Church
- Elder Iakovos, Spiritual Father of St. David's Monastery in Euboea
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||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (August 2008)|
- Euboea pron.: // is a transliteration from the Ancient Greek Εύβοια, Euboia [eúboja], while Evvoia, Evvia, and Evia reflect the Modern Greek pronunciation [ˈevia].
- Lane Fox, Robin. Travelling Heroes (London: Penguin, 2008) passim
- Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War. I 15.
- Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 116
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