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Greece: Birthplace of The Olympics

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China may be in the limelight in 2008, but Greece is the country that hosted the very first Olympics! Check out the 411 on this amazing country!

Where Is Greece?

Greece is in southeast Europe on the southern Balkan Peninsula. Greece borders Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and [kwlink1521]Turkey. Greece is mostly made up of a ton of islands and it's about the same size as Alabama.

A Brief History of Greece

The history of Greece can be traced back to the Stone Age. By 1000 BC, Greece was settled by the Achaeans, Aeolians, Ionians, Minoans, and Dorians. Later, the country was divided up into independent city-states. In 1829, Greece became a unified country and established a constitutional monarchy. There was a military coup in 1967 that ousted the king. In 1975 a democratic republic was formed.

Greek Olympics

The Olympics got their start in Greece way back in 700 BC. They were held every four years in honor of Zeus, the Greek god. Originally, women were not allowed to participate or even watch the games cuz the male athletes performed in the nude. The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896 and the Olympics will return to Athens, Greece in the summer of 2004 for the first time since then.

Did U Know?

  • Ancient Greek writing had no spaces between the words.
  • In ancient Greece, courtesans wore sandals with nails studded into the sole so that their footprints would spell out the message "Follow me."
  • The practice of wearing a wedding ring on the third finger began in Greece in the third century BC. The Greeks believed that there was a vein, named the Vein of Love that ran from what we now call the ring finger directly to the heart.
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