“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.” – Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

The Greek diaspora also known as “omogenia” refers to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands, but more commonly in other parts of the world, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Argentina, South Africa, Russia or other countries around the world. Members of the omogenia can be identified as those who themselves, or whose ancestors, migrated from the Greek homelands.

In modern times, in the 20th and 21st century, most Greeks left their homeland mostly for economic reasons. The largest migrations happened during the turn of the 20th century, mainly towards the United States, when after World War I Greeks living in Asia Minor were forced to flee their homes and migrate to mainland Greece or anywhere else in the world. Big immigration spikes also happened during and after World War II, the Greek Civil War (1946-49) and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (1974).

Centers of Greek diaspora

Where is the largest Greek population outside Greece?

The most important centers of Greek diaspora are the New Your City, Boston, and Chicago in the US, as well as London (UK), Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), Montreal, and Toronto (Canada).

The total number of Greeks living outside Greece and Cyprus is uncertain. Available census figures indicate about three million Greeks outside Greece and Cyprus, but the SAE ( World Council of Greeks Abroad) estimates about seven million worldwide. Around 3 million of them live in the US, 700,000 in Australia, 400,000 in the UK, 400,000 in Germany and around 300,000 in Canada. Smaller Greek communities exist in South America, mainly in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, in several other European countries (Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands) and other places throughout the world.

Greek citizenship

Greek citizenship and nationality

Greek citizenship is acquired by birth by all persons born in Greece, and all persons born anywhere in the world, to at least one parent who is a registered Greek citizen. People born out of wedlock to a father that is a Greek citizen and a mother that is a non-Greek automatically gain Greek citizenship if the father recognizes them as his child before they turn 18. Nationality law of Greece is based on the principle of jus sanguinis. Greek citizenship may be acquired by descent or through naturalization.

Greek law permits dual citizenship. A Greek national is a citizen of the European Union, and therefore entitled to the same rights as other EU citizens.

Greeks in the remotest places

Proud to be of Greek heritage

There's an old Greek saying which asserts that you'll find a Greek in the most remote place in the world, and this is not far from true. There are Greeks in such remote places as Papua, New Guinea, and Madagascar. No matter where Greeks live they usually maintain a connection with the motherland, be it a connection with some family member still living back home or a "spiritual" and "cultural" connection to the land of our forefathers.

There are countless stories of how strong these ties are when one visits remote place in the world and meets some 3rd or 4th generation Greek who can't even say a word in Greek yet he'll proudly say "I'm Greek! My ancestors were Greeks".

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