, one of the Ionian Islands
lies opposite the eastern tip of the Peloponnese in Greece
. It has an area of 284 square kilometers. The rugged terrain is a result of prevailing winds from the surrounding seas which have shaped its shores into steep rocky cliffs with deep bays. The island's architecture is a blend of traditional, Aegean
At the start of the second millennium B.C. it was a Minoan colony and in 424 BC it came under the sway of Athens. Over the centuries it knew a succession of conquerors from the Romans to the Byzantines, Venetians and Turks, and it was frequently looted by Barbary pirates. In 1864, the island was reunited with the Greek state.