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Greece…most people think that Greece is just a vacation paradise, but to its inhabitants, they might not think the same because how hard it is to live there. Greece, located between 41.8 ° N and 35 °N, 19.8 ° E and 28.2 ° E, is the country I am going to inform you about.

The country of Greece has no other name besides just “Greece.” There are some different technical names that Greece can be associated with. The conventional long form that you can call Greece is the “Hellenic Republic,” while the short form is “Greece.” The long form in Greek is “Elliniki Dhimokratia” and the short form is “Ellas.” The former country name is “Kingdom of Greece.”

Greece’s capital is the largest and most populated ancient Athens and is situated in Central Greece at approximately 38° N 23.7° E. Athens is now known as one of the safest and most affordable cities in the world and is also the world-renowned home for the ancient Acropolis- (acro: edge, polis: city), the home of the statues of the gods and goddesses like Zeus and Athena. The majestic statue marvels are no longer in the Acropolis, but in local museums because of the threat of pollution. The city of Athens has become Greece’s largest center for industry as well as an urban center.

     Greece shares many boundaries with other countries, as well as borders with the seas. The bordering countries are Albania to the northwest, Macedonia to the north, Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast, and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the north. The bordering seas are the Mediterranean Sea, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Aegean Sea to the east. The Mediterranean Sea serves as a quick route to the major trade routes and the Red and Black Seas.

     The country of Greece is actually not that small of a country. It occupies a comparative statistic in area to the American State of Alabama. It may be considered very similar in area to Alabama, but it occupies a water area many times more than that of Alabama’s with 1,140 sq. miles. The land area occupied by Greece is approximately 130,800 sq. miles, including the Greek mainland and all the Greek islands, large and small. The total area of Greece’s land and water area is 131,940 sq. miles.

     The population of Greece compared to the population of America’s is extremely minute with a total population of about 10,662,138, based on a July, 1998 estimate.

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To give you an estimate of about how many people live in all of the cities, Athens, the capital, contains about 1/10 the population of the whole country of Greece with 882,737 people within its boundaries. A population percentage comparison of Greece is that about 30% of Greece’s total population live in Athens. The metropolitan area of Thessaloniki takes up about 7% of Greece’s population. The physical regions and areas that house the most people are situated around the coastlines and interior plains. The areas that house the least amount of people are on the Aegean Islands and in the mountainous regions. The growth rate of Greece is only 0.43% and the percent of males and females in Greece are as follows: Males- (49%) 5,224,448… Females- (51%) 5,437,690. Greece is among one of the countries with the most homogeneous populations in the Balkans and Europe with 98% Greek and 2% others. “Homogeneous” means of the same or a similar kind or nature.

     Few languages are spoken in Greece. The majority of Greeks speak their official native language - Greek. While very few people speak languages other than Greek, some English and French is also spoken. Because Greek is the official language spoken and the majority of the Greek population speak Greek, that doesn’t mean that English and French aren’t understood, because they are widely understood. The Greek definition for their literacy rate is that all males and females 15 years and over can read and write. Greece has a total population literacy rate of about 95%. Based on a 1991 estimate, approximately 98% of males are literate and 93% of females are literate.

     The Greek government is neither a democracy, a communistic government, nor a socialistic government, but a “parliamentary republic.” Back in 1974, Greece tried to be a monarchy, but it was rejected by a referendum on December 8. On June 11, 1975 Greece earned its constitution. The right to vote, or suffrage, is like America’s with the age limit at 18 years of age or older. The political heads of government at the high-ranked positions in the Executive Branch are determined by the elections of the Chamber of Deputies to be in office for five years. The current President of Greece is Konstandinos Stephanopoulos. In the Legislative Branch of Greece’s government there are a total of 300 seats and each member of that branch can only serve for four years at their position. In the Judicial Branch, there are the court and legal systems. In the Supreme Judicial Court, appointments for the judges can be as long as they want to, even for their whole life, as long as the president appoints them. The same follows for the appointing of the judges in the Special Supreme Tribunal Court.

     The climate of Greece is a “temperate” one - with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The difference between the mountainous and coastal regions is drastically opposite, with the mountainous regions receiving much snowfall in the higher elevations and the coastal regions receiving many hours of sunlight with cool breezes blowing from the ocean and little cloud cover. The climate on the western mountain slopes is affected by a rain shadow and is much more fertile with greener and wetter terrain than the eastern sides of the mountains. Because of the extreme drought causing summers, most of Greece’s rivers dry up and fresh water has to be stored during the cooler times.

     Greece’s economy is based on a “capitalist” economy - receiving imports, shipping exports, and trade bonds with other nations. Greece’s major industries are tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining, and petroleum. Greece’s industry accounts for 25% of the total economy with a production growth rate of 0.5%, based on a 1997 estimate. The agricultural standpoint has been decreasing since the 1970’s. The reason for this is that farmers are wanting to move to the larger cities like Athens in order to pursue careers in industry and manufacturing. About 21% of the total economy is based upon farming. The leading cash crop is tobacco and accounts for 3% of the annual export income. The distribution in tons of the major crops is as follows: wheat, 2.9 million; corn, 2 million; olives, 1.7 million; tomatoes, 1.7 million; and tobacco, 182,000. Poultry, sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle, are also parts of the agriculture for Greece. Money-making activities are found in each town’s highly congested areas. All of the people that obtain a common trade work in the same national federation. More than 700,000 people belong to a national federation that does the same trade or craft. Jobs in Greece are fishing, farming, manufacturing, industrial work, and others. The unemployment rate for Greece is about 10% or 1,066,214 people total. Exports are a major part of Greece’s economy with total sales being about $9.8 billion. The three major exports include 53% manufactured goods, 34% food-related items and materials, and 5% fuels and petroleum. Importing with other countries helps cut down on wars; the amount of sales on imports is about $27 billion. Imports that are definite needs are 72% manufactured goods, 15% food things, and 10% fuels. The trade partners that participate with Greece are the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, and the U.K. Natural resources help the country in things they need without permanently destroying their environment. The land products that they use are limited, with only 23% of the land being arable. Because of the shortage of coal and forestland, they resort to the Aegean Sea for resources such as petroleum and natural gas. The solid resource deposits that they get are iron ore, bauxite, chromium, nickel, copper, uranium, and magnesium, but the amounts of iron ore and bauxite are plentiful enough where they can take large amounts. When fishermen haul in a load of fish, they can’t just keep any swimming creature that happens to flop in their net. They can only keep the ones that are the most plentiful. Although there are many plentiful species out there, they might not be edible.

     In closing, the country of Greece has gradually improved over hundreds of years. In matters of economics, in government, and in human relationships, Greece will continue to preserve the majestic beauty and rich history of the country.
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