Kefalonia, which is also known as Cephalonia, is an island located in the Ionian sea. The island is the largest member of the Ionian Islands, and it is one of the largest islands in all of Greece, with the largest one being Crete. In addition, the island is managed as a separate regional unit when compared to the rest of the Ionian islands. The island itself is approximately 300 square miles. About a third of the people who live on the island are located in Argostoli, but there are several other major settlements on the island. Of note, the island sits in the middle of a significant earthquake zone, and there are dozens of minor tremors that take place every year. The last time a major earthquake took place in the area was in 1953, and it destroyed just about all of the settlements on the island.
It has been estimated that approximately 34,000 people live on the island. Even though the population has been relatively consistent during the last few decades, the population has shrunk significantly during the past 100 years. At the end of the 19th century, approximately 70,000 people lived on the island, but many people who used to live on the island have since relocated to Athens, the capital of Greece. There are a number of reasons why people left the island, but one of the biggest driving factors was a major earthquake that took place in 1953, forcing people to leave. In addition, a fair number of Greek people relocated to Australia during the Greek Civil War, and some of these people came from Kefalonia.
During WWII, the island was occupied by Axis forces. For the majority of the war, the island was occupied by Italian soldiers. Then, after Italy switched sides during the latter stages of World War 2, the island was occupied by Nazi personnel. There were a few thousand Nazi soldiers who stayed on the island continuously, and the island was occupied until the end of the war. In addition, several thousand Italian soldiers were executed by German forces in reprisal for switching sides.
The island is situated just southeast of a major active fault line. The island is located where the Aegean Plate meets the Eurasian Plate. In 1953, a series of four earthquakes hit the island, causing major destruction. Just about every house on the island was rapidly destroyed. The earthquake was measured to have a magnitude of 6.8, and the entire island increased about two feet off the ground. It caused massive destruction, and the few buildings that survived were located on the northern portion of the island. It caused millions of dollars in damage, but most of the island was not rebuilt, as a majority of the population decided to leave the island and make a new home somewhere else.