Corfu Island - Historical Times (734BC – 337AD)
The Corinthians with Chersicrates inhabit Corfu pushing away the Liberians. In this period the city was located at Cape Kanoni and at the Villa of Mon Repo Park. The colony develops quickly and flourishes establishing its own settlements of Epidamnos and Lefkada. The Corfiots were prominent sailors and traders in these first historic times and they did not hesitate to expand their influence to the opposite continental coast.
Their geographical position, the fertility of their land, their shipping and their ingenious ability to trade created such a consciousness of strength so they cut the ties with the metropolis very quickly. In 665BC the naval battle with the Corinthian navy commenced and Corfu won their independence completely. After taking independence Corfu develops quickly as a significant naval power. Their sailors are so ardent that they can command their ships only with oars and without rudders. The population of the island at that time was estimated at 100,000 inhabitants.
During the Persian wars in which Corfu does not participate although it was the second largest naval power of Greece. The conflict between the Corfiots and Corinthians for the control of Epidamnos becomes the cause of the Peloponnesian war. In 434BC Corfiots destroy the Corinthian navy. The Corfiots become allies with the Athenians, the Corinthians with the Spartans and for many years the land and sea of Corfu becomes a scene of bloody confrontation with winners on either side. At the same time a civil war starts between the Corfiots. The Oligarchs side with the Peloponnesians and the Democrats with the Athenians. This contrast expressed in depth the social differences in the society of Corfu at that time. According to historians, the conflict between the two parties was so tremendous and it is written in the pages of history as the worst of the civil wars ever to occur. This catastrophe inflicted a lot of irreparable damage to their art of war, their economic influence and prosperity, which had created the glory of Corfu in the previous centuries.
During the Peloponnesian war and after its end Corfu becomes a target of invasions and attacks. The Spartans marauder the island in 373BC. In the years of Macedonian domination Corfu is not included as a state of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. It remains autonomous which in 303BC leads it to be conquered by the Spartans, in 301BC by Agathocles the tyrant of Sicily and later by Demetrius of Pharos.
In 229BC exhausted from continues invasions and from the civil wars over the years, it accepts the Roman conquer. But this does not change its fate. It becomes a simple province of the Roman Empire and according to Stravonas it declines into poverty and degradation. From the years 229BC-337AD where Corfu was under the domination of the Romans we do not have any evidence that gives us even a small inkling of Corfiot life at that far away time. The only thing we know is that during the Christian years Jason the Bishop of Tarsus and Sosipater the Bishop of Iconium arrived on Corfu, they were contemporaries of the Apostle Paul and they taught Christianity and built churches.