Treaty of London, 1864
The Treaty of London in 1864 was in regards to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 ceding the United States of the Ionian Islands
United States of the Ionian Islands
The United States of the Ionian Islands was a state and amical protectorate of the United Kingdom between 1815 and 1864. It was the successor state of the Septinsular Republic...

 to Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. The United Kingdom had held an amical protectorate over the islands since the 1815 Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1815)
Treaty of Paris of 1815, was signed on 20 November 1815 following the defeat and second abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte. In February, Napoleon had escaped from his exile on Elba; he entered Paris on 20 March, beginning the Hundred Days of his restored rule. Four days after France's defeat in the...


The federated United States of the Ionian Islands included seven island states lying around the coast of the Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

 peninsula. Of the seven, six lay in the Ionian Sea
Ionian Sea
The Ionian Sea , is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Adriatic Sea. It is bounded by southern Italy including Calabria, Sicily and the Salento peninsula to the west, southern Albania to the north, and a large number of Greek islands, including Corfu, Zante, Kephalonia, Ithaka, and...

, off Greece's western coast. These six states were Corfù
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...

 (Kerkyra), Ithaca
Ithaca or Ithaka is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It lies off the northeast coast of Kefalonia and...

, Paxò
Paxi or Paxoi is the name given to the smallest group of the Ionian Islands . In Greek it is a plural form and it refers to a complex of islands, the largest of which are Paxos and Antipaxos...

, Cephalonia, Zante
Zakynthos , also Zante, the other form often used in English and in Italian , is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It is also a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and the only municipality of the regional unit. It covers an area of ...

 (Zakinthos) and Santa Maura
Lefkada, or Leucas or Leucadia , is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece, connected to the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Lefkada . It is situated on the northern part of the island,...

 (Lefkas). Cerigo
Cythera is an island in Greece, once part of the Ionian Islands. It lies opposite the south-eastern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula. It is administratively part of the Islands regional unit, which is part of the Attica region , Greece.For many centuries, while naval travel was the only means...

 (Kythera) was also a state of the federation, although it is situated south of the Peloponnese.

Ever since Greece had achieved independence in 1832, the people of the Ionian islands had resented foreign rule. At a Cabinet meeting in 1862, British Foreign Secretary Palmerston
Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, KG, GCB, PC , known popularly as Lord Palmerston, was a British statesman who served twice as Prime Minister in the mid-19th century...

, decided to cede the islands to Greece. This policy was also favoured by Queen Victoria. The practical reasoning was that maintenance of ownership in the area was too expensive. Besides, the islands did not have great strategic importance; the United Kingdom would still maintain a strategic presence in the Mediterranean from the island of Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...


After long negotiations with Greece, the Treaty of London was signed by Greek delegate Charilaos Trikoupis
Charilaos Trikoupis
Charilaos Trikoupis was a Greek politician who served as a Prime Minister of Greece seven times from 1875 until 1895....

 on March 29, 1864. On May 2, 1864 the British departed and the Ionian islands became three provinces of the Kingdom of Greece, although Britain retained use of the port on Corfu.

This can be seen as the first example of voluntary decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

by Britain.

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