Corfu Island - English Protection (1814-1864)
The governing of Corfu by the English was anything else but liberal. Between 1850-1864 the struggle of people of the Ionian to unite with Greece continued and the representatives of the Corfiot people who participated in the Parliament of that period belonged mainly to the Party of Reformers, they believed that the time for national reinstatement had not approached yet, and that the best interest of the Ionian Islands was to stay under the protection of the English, succeeding at the same time with constitutional reformations which would lead to a bigger self government and would set restrictions to the unpredictability of the English administration.
The thoughts of the Reformers were not shared with the majority of the agricultural people, which in the national restoration would see its social and economic liberation. But this majority did not have the right to vote because of the restrictions of these rights.
The English government in the beginning refused any kind of talks for reform. Later it started to discuss the reforms and then refused unity with Greece. Finally, under the pressure of the fighting people of the Ionian and the international juncture which was leading to realignments in the Balkans and Middle East, England backed off to the request of unity with Greece, and on 21st of May 1864 Greek troops disembark on Corfu.
English protection is linked with many installations on Corfu. The road network of Corfu, many public buildings and foundations, such as Palaces, the Ionian Parliament, the Lunatic Asylum, the Hospital, the Prisons and other such legacies of the English. Of course the expenses were paid by the budget of the Ionian Island State, but it does not stop to put across the creative period in the section of public works.
It was a fact that Corfu was an urban centre of prosperity during the period of the struggle for unity with Greece. Capital of the state, administrative centre and military base, where numerous troops were stationed, centre of transport and transit commerce, educational and intellectual centre, it was certain to prosper economically.