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About Corfu Island

 

The last period of the Venetians (1669-1797) in Corfu

As we have mentioned, after the Turkish siege of Crete, a big number of Cretans refugees came to Corfu. Later, the refugees asked to be part of the Corfiot social classes. The Cretans brought valuable icons, utensils, vestments and Holy Relics, in order to be guarded to the Corfiot churches. The Cretan artists were also the best influence for the beginning of the development of the Ionian Art. Corfu, as well as the rest of the Ionian Islands assimilated the Cretan culture and purchased, in combination with the European influences, to develop its own unique civilization. The Corfiots received the West Enlightenment and opened the way for the new Hellenism. In the end of 17th century, the middle class obtained social power. They created all the right conditions, under their economical status, for the flourishing of culture and art (theatre, music, literature etc). Moreover, they demanded their own Libro D’Oro. The nobles disapproved of this demand. The class struggle started and also the common people were being raised against the nobles. At that time the robbers in the islands were thousands and the usury was a curse. In 1640 a big revolt took place. The pirates were also ruling a big part of the economy and many families of the middle class became rich. The olive oil was still the main income of the island, as well as the salt and the oak-trees.

An important intellectual development started and many Corfiots were educated in Universities. Thomas Flaginis created the Flanigan School, which was left as a legacy to Venice. The first contact with the European Enlightening had started.

At the end of 18th century, the Venetian State fell apart. The Venetians could not realize that a lot of changes were coming and they did not pay attention to the defense of their state. The war between France and Austria forced the two sides to intrude the Venetian borders. The residents of the Venetian domination preferred the French, because of the idealism that was growing up during the French Revolution.

 



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