Corfu History for Period 1864-1913


Period 1864 - 1913

Since 1864 a new period started for Corfu and the Ionian Islands, with agriculture, industry and the commerce, all flourishing. The port of Corfu was mentioned as one of the most important ports of Greece.

In 1913, the prefecture of Corfu had the first position in the production of the olive oil in Greece. Since 1905 the island has had a good yield every two years. The tests of 1908-1913 showed that the Corfiot olives could produce high quality olive oil in comparison with the best olive oil of Italy. The establishment of the Agricultural Bank and the agricultural co-operatives contributed to the commerce of the olive oil. The cattle farms were also developed.

The first factory was opened producing of playing cards and had a monopoly, which was very productive. Gradually, the industry of wine was developed and became very popular in Europe, especially in France. According to statistics in 1893, 13 steam-driven factories were functioning with 266-horse power and 259 workers, eg: 1 factory for playing cards, 7 were steam mills, 1 sharpener factory, 1 gaslight factory, 1 seed-oil factory, 1 soap factory, and 1 factory of salted meat. In 1906 the factory of Desylla produced cords, hammers etc. Corfu was the central station between Greece and Italy.

Politically, in 1899-1916, George Theotokis was an eminent personality. He was born in Doukades in 1944, graduated from the Law School of the Ionian Academy and had post-graduated in Paris. He was influenced by the French culture. Earlier in 1880, Theotokis became the Mayor of Corfu in 1883. Theotokis caused a reaction to aristocracy of the old feudalism of Corfu and although he did not belong to the noble part, he refused the policies of his social class and supported the middle class. In 1885, he was appointed Deputy of Parliament. In 1886, he was appointed Minister of Navy. In 1890 was appointed Minister of Education and in 1892 Minister of Internal Affairs. In 1899 he was appointed the Prime Minister. In 1915 was appointed Minister of Economy. He died on the 4th of January 1916.

On the 1st of October 1887, Michael Knight Theotokis from Doukades, was selected Mayor and again on the 30th of September 1895.

During their term of office as Mayors, the Porta Reale (Royal Gate) was destroyed. The construction the Port and the seaside road of Garitsa commenced.

The contribution of the Ionians, who established the Corfiot School, was important for the development of the New Greek civilization. The culture of the language and the literature was flourishing with the help of Polylas, Markoras, Kalosgouros, Hrysomalis and many others.

In Philosophy Petros Vrailas Armenis; in music Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Manzaros. In Corfu the Musical Theatre was established.

The beauty of the island was the reason for the Empress of Austria, Elisabeth. In her letter to the newspaper “Voice” in 25th of October 1891, she named Corfu as “the most beautiful island in the world”. Elizabeth admired and loved Corfu so much and the proof is the Achillion Palace.