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Euboea

Euboea[1] ( /jubi/; Greek: , Euvoia; Ancient Greek: , Euboia) is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about 150 kilometres (93 mi) long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres (31 mi) to 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). Its general direction is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos. Like most of the Greek islands, Euboea was originally known under other names in ancient times, such as Macris and Doliche from its shape, Ellopia and Abantis from the tribes inhabiting it. Euboea was believed to have originally formed part of the mainland, and to have been separated from it by an earthquake. This is fairly probable, because it lies in the neighbourhood of a fault line, and both Thucydides and Strabo write that the northern part of the island had been shaken at different periods. In the neighbourhood of Chalcis, both to the north and the south, the bays are so confined as to make plausible the story of Agamemnon's fleet having been detained there by contrary winds. At Chalcis itself, where the strait is narrowest at only 40 m, it is called the Euripus Strait. The extraordinary changes of tide which take place in this passage have been a subject of note since classical times. At one moment the current runs like a river in one direction, and shortly afterwards with equal velocity in the other. A bridge was first constructed here in the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War (410 BC). The name Euripus developed during the Middle Ages into Evripo and Egripo, and in this latter form transferre

to the whole island. Later the Venetians, when they occupied the district, altered it to Negroponte, referring to the bridge which connected it with the mainland. The main mountains include Dirphys (1,745 m), Pyxaria (1,341 m) in the northeast and Ochi (1,394). The neighboring gulfs are the Pagasetic Gulf in the north, Malian Gulf, North Euboean Gulf in the west, the Euboic Sea and the Petalion Gulf. At the 2001 census the island had a population of 198,130, and a total land area of 3,684 km?. The history of the island of Euboea is largely that of its two principal cities, Chalcis and Eretria. Both cities were settled by Ionian Greeks from Attica, and would eventually settle numerous colonies in Magna Graecia and Sicily, such as Cumae and Rhegium, and on the coast of Macedonia. This opened new trade routes to the Greeks, and extended the reach of western civilization.[2] The commercial influence of these city-states is evident in the fact that the Euboic scale of weights and measures was used among the Ionic cities generally, and in Athens until the end of the 7th century BC, during the time of Solon[citation needed]. Chalcis and Eretria were rival cities, and appear to have been equally powerful for a while. One of the earliest of the sea battles mentioned in Greek history took place between them, and it is also said[who?] that many of the other Greek states took part.[citation needed] In 490 BC, Eretria was utterly ruined and its inhabitants were transported to Persia[clarification needed]. Though it was restored nearby its original site after the Battle of Marathon, the city never regained its former eminence. Both cities gradually lost influence to Athens, which saw Euboea as a strategic territory. Euboea was an important source of grain and cattle, and controlling the island meant Athens could prevent invasion and better protect its trade routes from piracy.