Prior to the French Revolutionary Wars, the Ionian Islands had been part of the Republic of Venice. With the dissolution of that polity by the 1797 Treaty of Campo Formio, it was annexed into the French Republic, created into the French departments of Greece. Between 1798 and 1799, the French were driven out by a joint Russo-Turkish force. The occupying forces initiated the Septinsular Republic, which enjoyed relative independence under nominal Ottoman suzerainty and Russian control from 1800 until 1807.
The Ionian Islands were then occupied by the French after the treaty of Tilsit. During 1809, the United Kingdom defeated the French fleet off the island Zakynthos on 2 October, and captured Kefalonia, Kythira, and Zakynthos. The British took Lefkada during 1810. The island Corfu remained occupied by the French until 1814.
The Congress of Vienna agreed to place the Ionian Islands under the exclusive "amical protection" of the United Kingdom. Despite British military administration, the Austrian Empire was guaranteed commercial status equal to the UK. The arrangement was formalized with the ratification of the "Maitland constitution" on 26 August 1817, which created a federation of the seven islands, with Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Maitland its first "Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands".
On 29 March 1864, representatives of the United Kingdom, Greece, France, and Russia signed the Treaty of London, pledging the transfer of sovereignty to Greece upon ratification; this was meant to bolster the reign of the newly-installed King George I of the Hellenes. Thus, on 28 May, by proclamation of the Lord High Commissioner, the Ionian Islands were united with Greece.
Read more about this topic: United States Of The Ionian Islands
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