The fact that there is another little Greece outside of the borders of the country, might sound a little excessive to some, but it is true indeed!
According to the latest estimates of the General Secretariat of Hellenes Abroad, today there more than 5,000,000 people of Greek origin that live outside of the Greek borders, scattered in 140 countries across the globe.
The first big wave of immigration from Greece took place at the beginning of the 1900s, the second immigration wave – and largest to this day – was right after the end of the Second World War, and the third wave occurred during the period of the worldwide financial crisis of 2007-2008.
The General Secretariat of Hellenes Abroad reports that the highest concentration of Greek people outside of Greece is observed in the USA, with about 3,000,000 Greeks, followed by Cyprus with 720,000 Greek Cypriots, other European countries with over 1,000,000 Greek people, Australia with 700,000, and Canada with about 300,000 Greeks, while more than 150,000 Greek descendants can be found around the countries of Central and South America, and 100,000 in Asia and Africa.
Apart from Cyprus, here are the 10 cities and countries around the world that have the largest population of Greek people:
- Munich, Germany (30,000 Greeks)
According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, there are more than 280,00 Greek citizens that live in Germany today, which makes the country the largest Greek diaspora destination in Europe.
The majority of them are located in Munich (around 30,000), and most are working in the automotive and healthcare industries.
Additionally, the Greek Ministry of Education reported in 2016 that more than 11% of the entire Greek population speaks German, making it the 4th most popular foreign language in Greece, behind English, Italian and French.
- Santiago, Chile (40,000 Greeks)
The exact number of Greeks who live in Chile is not certainly known, but according to the annual reports of the Greek Foreign Ministry, there has been a community of Greeks in Chile since the sixteenth century, and today, it is estimated that there are about 100,000 Greek descendants in the country.
Although the majority of them are located in the capital of Chile, Santiago (more than 40,000), the story of the Greeks in Chile started from Cretans, who moved to the city of Antofagasta, which is well known in the world of trade, because of the large amounts of copper it produces and exports.
- Toronto, Canada (60,000 Greeks)
In the 2016 census in Canada, it was reported that there are approximately 300,000 people of Greek descent in the country, 60,000 of which are located in Toronto.
Additionally, the census found that Greek is the 20th most commonly spoken language in the Toronto area.
In particular, Toronto’s Danforth Avenue has been named by locals as the “largest Greek neighbourhood in North America”, where all things Greek can be found, such as restaurants, shops and Greek street festivals.
- Boston, Massachusetts, USA (100,000 Greeks)
The state of Massachusetts has the 4th largest Greek population in the USA, but it became the very first place that Greek immigrants settled in, when they moved to America.
During 1600 and 1700, Greek citizens started moving to the States, especially to the Boston area, sporadically and in small numbers. Reportedly, captains and sailors arrived first and helped in the training of the US Navy.
The biggest number of Greeks came to Boston during the decade of 1830-1840, after the Greek Revolution, and were pioneers in the textile industry, which became the main economic driver in New England.
- Sydney, Australia (130,000 Greeks)
According to a research from the Greek Community of Melbourne, the first Greeks arrived in Australia in the early 1800s, and the majority of them settled in Victoria and in South New Wales – specifically in Sydney.
The first Greek immigrants in Sydney were gold miners, farmers and fruit growers, that moved from the Aegean islands.
Gradually, more and more Greeks started working in education, architecture and sciences, and the ones that distinguished themselves in their fields, were given the ultimate honour from their communities, as numerous streets in Australia were named after them.
Today, Sydney is the 2nd biggest Greek stronghold in Australia, with more than 130,000 Greek descendants.
- Florida, USA (150,000 Greeks)
Once the largest stronghold of Greeks in America, the state of Florida has numerous Greek towns and villages, but the one that stands out the most is Tarpon Springs, where more than 30,000 Greeks live.
Tarpon Springs has a century-plus continuous Greek presence, Greek schools, churches, and a Greek-born mayor from Kalymnos, named Chris Alahouzos.
Everything in this place is reminiscent of Greece: the fishing boats, the taverns, the food, the people, and of course the sponge industry.
The first Greeks that moved to Tarpon Springs taught the local people the art of sponging and made their new home the largest centre of the sponge industry in America.
The majority of them came from the island of Kalymnos, and followed the same techniques they had learned in Greece, unlike the local Americans who used to tame the sponges or catch them with hooks, often causing them damage.
- Illinois, USA (180,000 Greeks)
The second largest concentration of Greek people in America is found in the state of Illinois, and specifically in the city of Chicago, which has around 125,000 Greek citizens, according to the latest census.
The Windy City (Chicago’s nickname) has a very large Greek community, the majority of which is located in the famous Greektown.
Greektown used to be thriving with nightlife, bars and restaurants in the 1980s and 1990s, with hundreds of young people waiting in long lines to get into clubs and bouzoukia every night.
Later on, the construction of the University of Illinois campus and the huge highway of the city, displaced the Greeks who lived in Greektown, and forced them to move away and settle in other cities.
Today, there are numerous Greek restaurants and shops in Chicago, as well as the National Hellenic Museum.
- London, United Kingdom (280,000 Greeks)
According to a City of London Corporation sponsored report, there are more than 280,000 Greek citizens that live in the Greater London area, the majority of which moved there for work opportunities or academic studies.
The arrival of the first Greek immigrants in Britain dates back to the 15th century, mostly in London, but also in port cities, such as Bristol and Liverpool, where they worked as sailors and merchants.
The presence of Greeks in England was very much encouraged by British universities, as all the prestigious schools, including Oxford and Cambridge, taught Greek as a compulsory lesson, and considered Ancient Greek in particular, the language that the high society of the country learned, even the royal family.
Today, there are many Greek schools all around England, and large Greek communities, who try to maintain the culture, customs, traditions and the way of life they transferred from their homeland.
- New York, USA (300,000 Greeks)
The state of New York has the largest Greek population in America (around 300,000 Greeks), the majority of which is located in the New York Metropolitan Area and specifically the town of Astoria.
In NYC, people can visit numerous Greek taverns, schools, shops, sports clubs, Orthodox churches, and of course attend the largest Greek street festivals and parades in America, during the OXI day in October and the 25th of March tribute to the Greek Revolution.
According to the latest US census, more than 180,000 Greeks live in New York City today, and their lives, culture and tradition have become the subject of numerous successful Hollywood movies.
- Melbourne, Australia (400,000 Greeks)
The fact that Melbourne holds the first spot on the list of the cities with the largest Greek communities outside of Greece, should come as no surprise.
For decades now, Melbourne has been called the 3rd largest “Greek city” in the world, after Athens and Thessaloniki, due to the large number of Greek Australians that live there.
Greek schools, churches, shops, entire neighbourhoods, traditions and festivals, are very much present in Melbourne, while distinguished politicians, scientists, professors and doctors in the city, are of Greek descent.
More specifically, Oakleigh in Melbourne, has been named the “Greek-est place outside of Greece”, and the presence of the Greek temperament in the city is more alive than everywhere else.
The Greek community of Melbourne is well known among the Greek diaspora for its passion and longing for Greece, and for maintaining the Greek language and traditions in their entirety.
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