During the first period of the reign of King Georgios I, little changed in the government. Greece did, however, receive its first area expansion: on the occasion of the accession to the throne of Georgios in 1864, the English gave Greece the Ionian islands (Kerkyra (Corphu), Kephalonia, Ithaki, Leukas, Zakynthos), which they had 50 years earlier taken from the French as punishment for the Napoleonic Wars. In turn, the French had “inherited” the islands from the Venetians, who had ruled there since 1204. Political parties amounted to relatively little (they mainly served for changes in jobs in the government) and coalitions were quickly forged when they fell apart again. Cabinets succeeded one another at regular intervals (between 1863 and 1875 Greece had no fewer than 23 cabinets!), While it was still the king who determined who could form a new government. It was not until 1875 that the king officially determined that he would always appoint the leader of the largest party to form a government. Partly because of this, the important reformer Charilaos Trikoupis came to power in 1881 with his “New Party”. During the rest of the 19th century, the Western-oriented Trikoupis would switch government with its traditional rival Deliyannis. Trikoupis wanted first and foremost to restore the creditworthiness of his country, and to that he tried to promote industrialization as well as trade. He wanted to build new train connections, had the Corinth Canal dug, Lake Kopaïs drained and tried to modernize the army and fleet. Deliyannis, on the other hand, did not want to know about austerity or higher taxes and in 1897 plunged the country into the so-called “Thirty Days” war in Thessaly against the Ottoman Empire, among other things to support the anti-Turkish revolt in Crete. A terrible defeat followed. Nevertheless, Greece was allocated new territory at the Berlin Conference as early as 1881, in order to hinder Bulgarian-Russian aspirations in that area. Crete also became an “autonomous” territory (under the supervision of Georgios I) within the Ottoman Empire in 1897.
Below: From left to right: The Trikoupis Bridge, already proposed in 1889 by Trikoupis, but only built between 1990 and 1999; the Corinth Canal (2x), begun under Trikoupis and completed in 1892, and at the top right, the construction of the railway line Omonoia-Piraeus and Charilaos Trikoupis itself.