Corfu incident
The Corfu Incident was a 1923 diplomatic crisis between the Kingdom of Greece
Kingdom of Greece
The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

 and the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...



There was a boundary dispute between Greece and Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

. The two nations took their dispute to the Conference of Ambassadors
Conference of Ambassadors
The Conference of Ambassadors of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers was an inter-allied organization of the Entente in the period following the end of World War I. Formed in Paris in January 1920 it became a successor of the Supreme War Council and was later on de facto incorporated into...

. The Conference of Ambassadors created a commission to determine the boundary, which was authorized by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 to settle the dispute. Several countries (including Italy) provided small detachments of soldiers to assist the commission in carrying out the survey. General Enrico Tellini became the chairman of the commission.
From the outset of the negotiations, the relations between Greece and the commission were negative. Eventually the Greek delegate openly accused Tellini of working in favour of Albania's claims.

The incident in Greece

On August 27, in 1923 the Italian general, Enrico Tellini, and three of his assistants were murdered by unknown assailants at Kakavia within Greek territory. The four victims included Enrico Tellini, Major Luigi Corti, Lieutenant Luigi Bonacini and an Albanian interpreter. None of the victims were robbed.

They were attacked, according to some sources, by Greek nationalists; while according to the official statement of Greece, Tellini was assassinated by Albanian bandits.

Italian reaction

Italy sent an ultimatum
An ultimatum is a demand whose fulfillment is requested in a specified period of time and which is backed up by a threat to be followed through in case of noncompliance. An ultimatum is generally the final demand in a series of requests...

 to Greece on August 29, 1923, demanding 50 million lire
Lira is the name of the monetary unit of a number of countries, as well as the former currency of Italy, Malta, San Marino and the Vatican City and Israel. The term originates from the value of a Troy pound of high purity silver. The libra was the basis of the monetary system of the Roman Empire...

 in reparations
Reparation (legal)
In jurisprudence, reparation is replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation...

 and execution of the killers. Greece was unable to identify the killers, so Italian forces bombarded and occupied the Greek island of Corfu
Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the edge of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered as a single municipality. The...

 on August 31, 1923, killing at least fifteen civilians. The ulterior motive for the invasion was Corfu's strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...



Greece appealed to the League of Nations, which initially condemned the Italian occupation. The dispute was handed over to the Conference of Ambassadors, and Italy and Greece agreed to be bound by its decision. The Conference largely followed the nominal Italian demands, ordering Greece to apologise and pay reparations, a decision that Greece accepted. Italian forces left Corfu on September 27, 1923.

In Corfu during the first quarter of the twentieth century, many Italian opera
Italian opera
Italian opera is both the art of opera in Italy and opera in the Italian language. Opera was born in Italy around the year 1600 and Italian opera has continued to play a dominant role in the history of the form until the present day. Many famous operas in Italian were written by foreign composers,...

s were performed at the Municipal Theatre of Corfu
Municipal Theatre of Corfu
The Municipal Theatre of Corfu was τhe main theatre and opera house in Corfu, Greece, from 1902 to 1943. The theatre was the successor of the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, which became the Corfu city hall. It was destroyed during a Luftwaffe aerial bombardment in 1943...

. This tradition came to a halt following the Corfu incident. After the bombardment the theatre featured Greek operas as well as Greek theater performances by distinguished Greek actors such as Marika Kotopouli
Marika Kotopouli
-Biography:Kotopouli was born on 3 May 1887 in Athens, to Dimitris and Eleni. Her parents were also actors, and Marika's first stage appearance came during one of their tours, in the play "The Coachman of the Alps"...

 and Pelos Katselis.

See also

  • Stylianos Gonatas
    Stylianos Gonatas
    Stylianos Gonatas was a Greek military officer and Venizelist politician and Prime Minister of Greece between 1922 and 1924.- Early life and military career :...

    , Greek Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

     during the incident
  • Benito Mussolini
    Benito Mussolini
    Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

    , Italian Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

    during the incident
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