Kefalonian is the largest of the Ionian islands and one of the most traditional in Greece.The name Kefalonia came from the first king of the area during the Palaeolithic era, Kephalos. Kephalos founded the four main cities of the island and named them after his sons, Sami, Pahli, Krani and Pronnoi.The island was called Tetrapolis (Four Towns) during this period. The four cities were autonomous and independent and had their own regimes and coins. Today these areas are known as Sami, Paliki, Argostoli and Poros.
The island was occupied by many rulers including the Romans. The first Turkish occupation was made by the famous Ahmed Pasha, in 1480. Kefalonia came then under the rule of the Venetians and the Spanish. The political and military centres of the island during this period were the Fortress of Saint George and the Castle of Assos. During this period, many locals left the island in search for a better life on the sea. At this time the capital moved to Argostoli. The Venetian rule ended in 1797 with the arrival of the French. The French were later defeated by the allied fleet of the Russians, the Turks and the English. The Ionian State was founded in Constantinople in 1800 and was under the supervision of the Sultan. The island fell again under French domination in 1807. After the Treaty of Paris, in 1809, the Ionian Islands came under the rule of the English and the Ionian State was established. During the English many great constructions were completed including the Drapanos British Cemetery, the De Bosset Bridge in Argostoli, the Lighthouse of Saint Theodori and the impressive Municipal Theatre. Kefalonia was finally united with the rest of Greece in 1864, the same time as the rest of the Ionian Islands.
During World War II, in 1941, the island was occupied by the Italian troops who were allied with the Germans. In 1943, Italy surrendered but its troops refused to leave Kefalonia. As a punishment, the German forces killed more than 5000 Italian soldiers.
In August 1953, a huge earthquake destroyed the largest part of Kefalonia and demolished most villages on the island. Only Fiscardo was not touched by the earthquake. Lixouri was the town most affected by the earthquake, which is why the majority of the houses there had to be re-constructed.
Today Kefalonia does not have a great deal of industry with only a small amount of farming left, mainly the islands' income comes from summer season tourism. The most popular areas on the island are Skala and Lassi and these have become the most commercialised. The more quieter resorts of Lourdas and Agia Efimia still manage to bring in large numbers of tourists to the island each year. One of the most traditional areas of Kefalonia is the Paliki peninsular where you will find the second largest town of Lixouri. Here tourism blends in with local traditional style, which can be seen during the hot summer months in the main square, where tourists and local alike, spending many evenings dining and socialising.