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The Hellenism Of France

One can trace the roots of Greeks in France through centuries, from ancient times, when the Fokans founded cities like Marseilles and Niece. Now, 2.500 years later, France’s Hellenism is still flourishing and maintains its national identity, showing that there have always been strong bonds between the two countries.After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, many Greeks sought shelter in France, seeking a better life and working conditions. Another reason for more Greek intellectuals to come to France was the French revolution, with Adamantios Korais as their leader, who elaborated on many subjects regarding the liberation of all enslaved Greeks from Turkish bonds.

Greek trade between East and West contributed after the creation of a stronger Greek presence in France, favoring their establishments in France’s ports.However, the first mass immigration wave to France was during World War I, when workers mainly from Macedonia, Dodecanese and Crete went looking for work in several French cities. The second big immigration wave came after the withdraw of 40.000 refugees from Asia minor – most of them traders and technicians – who after the 1922 catastrophe, sought a second homeland in France. The French did not welcome them at all, because of the negative anti-Greek feeling that the current time had due to the matters in the East. Because of that, many of the immigrants concealed their Greek identity in order to find work. Furthermore, Greece’s post-war situation in 1945, and the 1967 coup d’ etat on the 21st of April, made many Greeks, mainly intellectuals and politicians, leave the country, who in the years to come had a significant role in the shaping the political and culture development of Greece.

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