The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period, and the capital-state of the kingdom ruled by Odysseus. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Normans ruled Ithaca in the 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule, it fell into Venetian hands (Ionian Islands under Venetian rule).
Ithaca was then occupied by France under the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio. It was liberated by a joint Russo-Turkish force in 1798, before becoming part of the Septinsular Republic. It became a French possession again in 1807, until it was liberated by the United Kingdom in 1809. Under the 1815 Treaty of Paris, Ithaca became a state of the United States of the Ionian Islands, an protectorate of the British Empire. In 1830 the local community requested to join with the rest of the newly restored nation-state of Greece. Under the 1864 Treaty of London, Ithaca, along with the remaining six Ionian islands, were ceded to Greece as a gesture of diplomatic friendship to Greece's new Anglophile king, George I. The U.K. kept its privileged use of the harbour at Corfu.
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