Crete (in Greek Κρήτη /Kriti) is an island located in the Aegean Sea, the greatest island of Greece and the villa in size of Mediterranean Sea, also well-known until the beginning of century XX with the name of Candia place-name derives from the Latin candidus (white) that was given to him during medioevo initially by the sailors and Italian retailers by the whiteness of its earth " was call; cándida".

owns one Surface of 8,300 square kilometers, a coast of 1,040 kilometers, and one population of about 600,000 inhabitants.


Crete is an island that presents/displays levels near the 2,500 meters in Monte Ida (2,460 meters) and in Levká Óri (2.452) and one average altitude of more than 200 meters to a large extent of the surface of the island. Its relief is formed to a great extent by the activity seismic, responsible for its 1,040 kilometers of trimmed coasts and its fragmented plains.

Its more important river is Mesara. Between its gulfs they excel the one of beautiful Sight (Mirampéllou), the Chanión (Khanión), and the bays of Would pull and Almyroú. Their more important ends are the Spátha (Ákra Spánta), the Líthinon (Ákra Lithino), the Stavros and the Sideros (Ákra Sideros).


Its climate is Mediterranean, but the north is more humid than the south due to the smaller incidence of solar rays (flowing of shady to the north and of Solana to the south); also the zone the west (flowing of windward) is more humid than the Eastern one. The extended form of the island (265 kilometers in length) gives rise to a hydric deficit in the Eastern zone because it is leeward of winds of the west.


She is the typical one of the Mediterranean climate, being very degraded by the human action. Between the arboreal vegetation they are Cypress and brown ; in bush the typical aromatic plants of the climate: Salvia, Thyme and Oregano . Also Junipers are present Retamas Rosebays and Mirtos In the antiquity was called like " the island of olivos", by the great extension of these trees and their culture.


According to the census of 2001 its population is of 601,131 inhabitants, with a densidad of 72 inhabitants by squared kilometer, inferior to the average of the country (83 hab. This population has been itself decreased by rural exodus from mid century XX. The outer emigration has gone towards Athens and the rest of countries of Europe, whereas the interior has had like receiving to the cities insulares of the Aegean facade.

Government and administration

Crete is one of the regions in which Greece is divided, its capital is the city of Heraklion and is divided in four prefectures administratively or nomoi : Kania, Rethimno, Heraklion and Lasithi . North American naval bases in Heraklion exist and in Bay Sweats.

Another important cities are Kaniá, Réthymno, Ierapetra, Nikolaos Speculations, Siteia, Moires, Neápoli, Tympaki and Kissamos.


Its economy is basically agrarian, although the tourism increases. An industrial nucleus around the capital exists. Between agricultural products they emphasize the grapes you happen, besides the olive tree, the cereals, the vegetables and the fruit trees. Its cattle ranch, in backward movement, is predominantly ovine and goat.



In spite of their geographic situation and the favorable climate, the first settlers of Crete did not make their appearance until Neolithic, arriving in two great ones swelling. The Colonizing ethnic type is not related to any of the great races, classifying itself like “the Mediterranean”, like the people who populated the near coasts with Smaller Asia or the neighbors Cyclades Islands, whose settlers progressed during long time to a rate similar to the one of the cretenses. Nevertheless, in the middle of III the millenium adC., already in Age of Cobre, took place a great amount of advances in the island that ended up leading to the shining minoica civilization.

Protohistoria and Old Edad

Most remarkable Minoica Civilization is the appearance of one of first appeared in Europe and one of the preGreek civilizations next to later Micénica Civilization . During the Minoica Civilization, in that to several phases and bumps occurred, Crete arrived at its maximum splendor, being the centuries XVI and XV  a., those of greater height. During them Crete established one Talasocracia that it extended until peninsular Greece, the Aegean Sea, the coasts of Smaller Asia and adjacent zones like Sicily . During this time the contacts with Egypt, existing from previously, were very important.

Nevertheless, towards end of the XV  century; a., the island underwent the invasion of Aqueos that had developed a civilization in continental Greece, essentially in the Peloponnese, nonfree of strong cretenses influences. With the expansion of the invaders, the cretenses left the palaces and appears linear writing B, that has been managed to decipher. The aqueos introduced in Crete the horse, the more effective car military and arms. Although towards 1425  a. takes place a antiaquea rebellion, this one is squashed and Crete happens to comprise of the aqueo world, beginning for the island a period of decay. Cretenses craftsmen, workers and treasures are taken to the continental micénicas cities, being shuffled also the possibility that a colonization of cretenses e'migre's in the coasts of the south of Canaán would be the origin of Filisteos or filistenos, that appear in Bible and which they gave to name to the region of Palestinain . The children of the sea or the filisteos populated the zone with the south which is today Gaza. The supposition of the origins of the Phoenicians is that they descend from the cananeos)

The decay of Crete, initiate with the aquea hegemony, was marked in XI  century; a., with the invasion of Dorios carrying of Iron . The island happens to be one more a part of the Greek world, without divided originality and in rival cities. Even at classic time ( V  century; a. ) conserves certain archaism, as Laws of Gortina demonstrate '' to it '', one of the cities that date from minoicos times. The decay of the island was so from 500  a., that fell in the forgetfulness and did not take part nor in Medical Wars, nor in the one of the Peloponnese .

Conquered by Great Alexander, to its death, Crete enjoyed certain independence on other near hellenistic kingdoms, but after the hellenistic decay the island was into the hands of pirates of Sicilian origin, which caused that Roman seized of the island in 67  a., in an expedition commanded by Cecilio Metelo would add and it like Roman province. The division of Roman Empire in 395 gave back to the island a certain important paper given to its enclave like key of the Aegean Sea, being into the hands of the Roman Empire of East or Byzantine Empire .

Average age

Byzantine Empire stayed in the power of in which it played a role strategic when they began the Muslim conquests in Century VII . Two centuries, later, in ( 826 ) fell in the power of a group of Andalusian Muslims, who founded the fortified base of “Jandak” (Candía) and which thence they harassed to the Byzantine ones. The Muslim dominion lasted until 961, when the emperor Nicéforo Seals reconquered the island, inaugurating a time of peace and stability, that its economic development favored. When Byzantium fell into the hands of the cruzados in 1204, beginning the call Latin Empire, the island was adjudged Bonifacio de Montferrato that quickly sold to Venice that turned into the strategically important point key of its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean owned and it until half-full of Century XVII.

Apparently the Andalusian Muslims (according to The NUWARYRI, Nihayat to the Arab II.p 274), were the Cordovans who after the consequences of the riot of the suburb, were exiled to Alexandria in 813/4, and to become owners of the city. In her Abd Allah appeared horseradish tree Tahir, according to narrated in the history of the dynasty abbasi, in the days of the Al-mamun caliph horseradish tree Al-Raxid, it expelled to them from Alexandria transferred and them until Crete in 826. The Cordovans worked the island, proclaimed to one of theirs king and armed up to forty boats and so they assaulted the near islands, next to Constantinople . They penetrated in the islands took to booty and captives, without the emperor of Constantinople had to be able to avoid it.

Modern age

From Century XV, Venice had to do against Ottoman expansionism, to which it contained until in 1645 the Turks disembarked in the island initiating their conquest, finalized when the last Venetian redoubts succumbed in 1669 . A new period of declivity began for Crete.

Contemporary age

The declivity that began with the complete Ottoman domination, was laid out by scrambled which they exploded at the end of Century XVIII and principles of XIX . During the period of 1832 to 1840 the island was under control of the Egyptian government and knew a certain improvement that did not consolidate when returning to the Turkish trusteeship.

After the statute of 1868, endorsed by Congress of Berlin of 1878, and as a result of a new revolt of the Greek population, signed the “Pact of Halepa” that supposed a certain advance towards the autonomy and a representative government, under the supervision of the European powers. Nevertheless, the bad management of the Turkish authorities brought about in 1897 a new rise, this general time, that counted on the military support of Greece. Although the rise finished being squashed, the intervention of the great powers forced the Turkish troops to leave the island in 1898 and to grant the statute to him of independent principality, prevailed by prince Jorge of Greece, under Ottoman sovereignty. In return Greece had to resign to its aspirations with respect to Crete.

A new revolt that aspired to the union with Greece produced in 1905, led by Eleftherios Venizelos, that culminated in the expulsion of prince Jorge. In 1908, the cretenses deputies proclaimed the union with continental Greece. This union did not become serious until the end of Balkan Wars in 1913, moment from which Crete comprises of the Greek state.

During II World war, the island was scene of Batalla of Crete .

Crete and Mythology

According to Greek mythology, Criminal hid to Zeus in mounts Ida, located in center of the island.

The same God arrived at Crete after raptar to Europe and from their union three children were born, one of who was Minos, whose wife gave to light Minotauro, that soon was locked up in Labyrinth .

Also a legend exists that is developed in this island on Ícaro and Labyrinth .

Dáimôn in Crete fantastic hybrid creatures.

Illustrious villagers

  • Greco, painter.

  • Nikos Kazantzakis, writer.
  • Eleftherios Venizelos, politician.
  • Odysseas Elytis, poet, Nobel prize de Literatura 1979 .
  • Nana Mouskouri, singer.

Monuments and places of interest


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