Ionian Islands, a group, or rather chain, of about forty islands, stretching along the west and south coasts of Greece. Corfu (Corcyra), Paxo, Santa Maura, Ithaca (Theaki), Cephalonia, Zante, and Cerigo (Cythera) are the largest, and are all separately noticed. Total area, 1010 sq. m. ; pop. (1879) 244,433, (1896) 265,280, mostly of Greek descent. The surface is generally mountainous, the plains and valleys being fertile. The collective term 'Ionian' is of modern date. In 1081 Corfu and Cephalonia fell into the hands of Robert Guiscard ; from 1401 Corfu and most of the other islands came into the possession of the Venetians, who retained them until 1797, and then ceded them to France. They were seized by Russia and Turkey in 1799 ; and created the Republic of the Seven United Islands, under the protection of Turkey. But in 1807 they were given back to France. In 1809 Great Britain seized Zante, Cephalonia, and Cerigo, in 1810 Santa Maura, in 1814 Paxo, and after Napoleon's fall Corfu; in 1815 were constituted the United States of the Ionian Islands, under the protectorate of Great Britain ; and in 1863 they were incorporated in Greece - after which their prosperity declined. There have been great earthquakes, as in 1867 and 1893. See works by Ansted (1863), Kirkwall (1864), Von Warsberg (Vienna, 1878-79), and Riemann (Paris, 1879).