“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 is called “omogenia” in Greek (diaspora is a Greek term as well!), and refers to the communities of Greek people living outside the traditional Greek homelands of Greece and Cyprus, but more commonly in other parts of the world, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, Sweden, France, Belgium, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Russia or other countries around the world. Members of the omogenia can be identified as those who themselves, or their 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 cities of New York, Boston, and Chicago in the US, as well as London (UK), Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), and Montreal, and Toronto (Canada).

We're not 100% sure of the total number of Greeks living outside Greece and Cyprus. Census figures we have available indicate about 3,000,000 Greeks outside Greece and Cyprus, but the SAE (World Council of Greeks Abroad) estimates about seven million worldwide - with most of them not registered or showing in census'. Around 3 million of them are estimated to 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 to a father that is a Greek citizen and a mother that is a non-Greek (wedlock) automatically gain Greek citizenship if the father recognizes them as his child before they turn 18. The nationality law of Greece is based on the principle of jus sanguinis (right of blood), which is the principle of nationality law by which citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality of one or both parents. Greek citizenship may be acquired by descent or through naturalization.

Greek law permits dual citizenship. Finally, a Greek national is a citizen of the European Union, and therefore they're entitled to the same rights as all 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 the strangest and remotest places. Who would think you can find a Greek in places like Papua, New Guinea, or Madagascar, but you can! No matter where Greeks live they usually maintain a connection with the fatherland (called patrida in Greek), 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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