The first references of Kefalonias history exist from the period of the Persian Wars, where we find Kefalonians participating in the battle of Plataea.
In 434 BC Kefalonian ships took part in the battle against the Corinthians in Corfu, repelling successfully against the vindictive attitude of the Corinthians.
In the Peloponissian War all four cities of Kefalonia fought on the Athenians side. After the war, Kefalonia abandoned the defeated city of Athens, but in 372 BC stood again on their side in their struggle against King Phillip. In 218 BC King Philip E’, attacked Kefalonia with his fleet. Although he disembarked in Pronnon, the terrain difficulties forced him to abandon his try and move towards Palli. Even though he held Palli under constant siege, he failed to capture any city and was forced to withdraw after some time.
In 187 B.C., the Romans conquered the island after months of confrontations with the local inhabitants. The Roman only wanted to use the island as a strategic point in order to conquer the mainland and turned Kefalonia into an important naval base. During this period of history, Kefalonia was constantly threatened by invaders and pirate raids. During the Byzantine period, from the 4th century A.D., the island was still under the threat of pirate raids and more especially by the famous North African pirates, the Saracens. In 187 B.C., the Romans conquered the island after months of confrontations with the local inhabitants. The Roman saw the island as a strategic point in order to conquer the mainland. During this period Kefalonia was several times threatened by invaders and pirate raids.
During the Byzantine period, from the 4th century AD, the island was threatened by the famous North African pirates, the Saracens. The Byzantine Empire played an important part in the defence of the island against the pirates. The Byzantine era ended in the 11th century when the island fell under Frankish rule. It was then successively conquered by Normans, Orsinis, Andegans and Toccans.
Around 1480, the island was hit by the first wave of Ottoman attacks, led by the famous Ahmed Pasha. The Turks ruled only for a short period but left a desolated island behind them.
Kefalonia, as all the Ionian Islands, fell afterwards under the rule of the Venetians and the Spanish who violated the treaty certifying the Ottoman domination upon the island.
During this period, the fortress of Agios Georgios was the island’s political and military centre but in 1757, an earthquake destroyed everything and the capital was moved to Argostoli.
The Venetian era ended in 1797 when the French occupied Kefalonia. People thought Napoleon would free the Ionian islands from the oligarchic system. They were wrong. In the following years, the combined forces of the Russians, the Turks and the English defeated the French.
In 1800, the “Ionian State” was founded in Constantinople under the Sultan supervision and the island’s nobles got their privileges back.
In 1802, Democratic elections took place and a new Constitution was established in 1803.
In 1807, the island fell again under the French rule but the new Constitution was maintained.
In 1809, the Ionian fell officially under the control of the English (Treaty of Paris) whο established the “United States of the Ionians Islands”.
Although the island of Kefalonia remained under the English rule, it participated in the Greek Revolution of Independence of 1821 against the Turks who still ruled over Greece and was finally unified with the rest of Greece in 1864.
In 1941, during World War II, the island was occupied by the Italian troops.
In 1943, after Italy’s capitulation, the Italian troops refused to withdraw from the island. That led to the massacre of more than 5.000 Italian soldiers by the German forces.
In 1953, Kefalonia was hit by an enormous earthquake which destroyed major parts of the island.