Kýthira was never a rich island, but, along with Monemvasiá, it did once have a military and economic significance – which it likewise lost with Greek independence and the opening of the Corinth Canal. Since then, emigration (almost entirely to Australia, which islanders refer to as “Big Kýthira”) has reduced the permanent population significantly. In summer many Greek Australians return to here to visit family (Greeks call it “Kangaroo Island”), which is why the English spoken on the island usually has a distinct Down Under lilt.

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