First Colonization




The prehistoric and ancient periods were followed by years of transition where Hellenic colonies were created and established.  The fall of the Mycenaean state was followed by efforts of commercial development by other Greek peoples, which translated into migration that occurred between the 12th and 8th century B.C.  The continually changing and fluctuating times were mainly due to the existence of many different peoples, but also economic reasons that favored these movements and migrations.  They can be chronologically divided into 2 phases; the First First Colonization and the Second Greek Colonization.          

The First Greek Colonization spanned over two centuries; from the 12th century to the 10th century B.C.  Massive colonization soon took form, spreading throughout the islands of the Aegean Sea and along the coastlines of Asia Minor.  The four Hellenic tribes divided themselves among the different territories colonized, where upon they impressed their culture, language, traditions and way of life.  The Aeolians, who derived from Thessaly and Boeotia, migrated to the islands of Lesvos, Tenedos and the northern shores of Asia Minor, and the region became known as Aeolis.  The Ionians, with their roots being in the mainland areas of Attiki and Evia and a smaller area on the Peloponnese, traveled to other islands in the Aegean, such as Samos and Chios, as well as the nearby Asia Minor coast.                

Being more developed than other Greek tribes, the Ionian settlement was prominent among the other Hellenic tribes and communities, and this is why the entire western coastline of Asia Minor became so populated with Greeks and was referred to as Ionia.  The Achaeans later migrated and settled into these same areas.  The last of the four tribes, the Dorians, who had already colonized many Aegean islands, with Minoan Crete the most prominent among them, also, as with the other tribes, established communities along the shores of Asia Minor.  The Doric tribe tactfully imposed their presence and way of life in the areas they colonized; agriculture and farming and warfare being just some examples.  The Doric colony in Laconia, with its hub being Sparta, acquired great strength and power through its military prowess, which played an important role in the future history of Greece.            

The new settlers, however, first took to farming the land and tending to livestock in order to provide for themselves; agriculture became the economic sustenance of the Greek people.  Due to their strategic geographic position however, agriculture eventually gave way to trade which led to Laconia and Sparta’s growth and development as a strong economic center.  These three Hellenic tribes, the Aeolians, Ionians and Dorians, each developed their own architectural style and design; the Aeolic, Ionic and Doric.  Respectively, they left a legacy to their descendants in the form of ruins, each with their own distinct, detailed styles and characteristics.        




Second Colonization




The Second Greek Colonization took place during the 8th century B.C., and once again, commercial trade became its primary economic catalyst.  The need for more growth led to the exploration for new trade routes and cooperation with other economic and political factors in the region.  The second major migration wave develops and targets locations further and further into the Mediterranean Sea.  

The coastlines of the Black Sea and the Hellespont, in addition to areas of southern Italy and the island of Sicily, became flooded with new, Greek migrants and settlers.  These new destinations were significant and strategic scopes of development, and with time the new colonies exhibited great development in their spiritual and intellectual achievements.  Southern Italy and Sicily, in particular, grew into critical economic and cultural hubs of Greek influence, and this is why to this day, they are often referred to as “Greater Hellas”.                  




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