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Corfu was a later addition to the Venetian colonies, since it passed to Venice in 1386 after the wish of its inhabitants (Maltezou 1993, 179; Georgopoulou 2001, 27).  However, Corfu became an important Venetian colony for two main reasons. Firstly because it served as an important outpost in the trade and communication between the Adriatic and Greece, but also between Italy and the Greek coasts (Thiriet 1967, 376). Secondly Corfu produced large quantities of salt and was also exporting significant quantities of acorns, which were used in the local tanning industry but also sent to Venice (Thiriet 1967, 377-8).

(image from Hellenic Ministry of Culture 2001, 7) 


The island was governed by the bailos, along with the proveditor e capitan, who dealt with legal cases regarding taxation (Maltezou 1993, 283). The administration centre of the island was situated in the Old fort from 1386 to the 16th c. The fort has many building phases; mainly the first phase of the fortifications dates to Juistinian’s reign. During the 10th c. there was an expansion of the fort and a reinforcement of the fortifications by the Sicilian rulers of Angevin (1267-83) (Hellenic Ministry of Culture 2001, 6-7). In the early 15th c. the bailos of the island, G. Cappelo, began a program of rebuilding an expansion of the fort, which continued by the engineer F. de Breyndolis (Maltezou 1993, 491).

In Corfu there was a Latin bishop but no Greek bishop, rather a protopapas (=chief priest, orthodox priest representative of the orthodox population) (Maltezou 1993, 289). The Latin cathedral was situated inside the old Byzantine metropolitan church of Peter and Paul that housed the relics of St. Arsenion (10th c. bishop of Kerkyra) and of other saints (Georgopoulou 2001, 118).



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The Translation is © Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, IAA, University of Birmingham 2008


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Last updated 06 November 2008