Mainly mountainous peninsula forming the southern part of Greece; area 21,549 sq km/8,320 sq mi; population (2003 est) 1,166,000. It is joined to the mainland by the narrow isthmus of Corinth and is divided into the nomes (administrative areas) of Argolis, Arcadia, Achaea, Elis, Corinth, Lakonia, and Messenia, representing its seven ancient states. It is divided into two departments; Western Greece (including Achaea and Elis), and Peloponnese (including Argolis, Arcadia, Corinth, Lakonia, and Messenia). Tourism is important; the port cities of Patras, Corinth, Kalamata, and Návplion are the principal modern centres.
History Originally populated by Leleges and Pelasgians (said to have been the builders of Mycenae and Tiryns), the area was later occupied by Achaeans and then Dorians, who dominated the Peloponnese in historic times. Conquered by the Romans in 146 BC, the peninsula was reduced to provincial status under Roman and Byzantine rule. During the centuries that followed it was repeatedly raided and invaded by Slavs, Bulgars, and Petchenegs. Following the establishment of the Latin Empire of Constantinople by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade (1204), most of the Peloponnese became a French feudal state which enjoyed a period of prosperity during the 13th century. Many castles remain to show the flourishing of a unique mixture of French feudal culture and Hellenistic civilization. Sultan Muhammad II conquered the peninsula in 1460 and annexed it to the Ottoman Empire. Venice held parts of the peninsula at various times, and the entire region from 1687 to 1715. It passed to independent Greece during the Greek War of Independence (1821–29).
Economy Predominantly agricultural and pastoral, the region produces figs, citrus fruit, currants, grapes, olives, tobacco, and wheat. Sheep and goat raising, textile manufacturing, fishing, and sericulture are major sources of income. There are also deposits of manganese, pyrite, and chromium.
About Peloponnese – Introduction