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Chapter 20: The Aegean Islands: a paradise lost?: Tourism as a driver for changing landscapes

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Chapter Summary

In the Neolithic, mankind was already sculpturing a cultural landscape on the Aegean Islands. Subsequently, a procession of differing political and social regimes rose and fell, each imprinting its own distinctive mark. As in other Mediterranean localities, human populations increased rapidly during the 19th and early 20th centuries, occupying all available land and using complex management practices for subsistence and commodities. They shaped a cultural landscape based on terraces, with dry-stone walls, small agricultural buildings, small mountain settlements, networks of paths and similar features. The change of production patterns during the 20th century caused the economic collapse of industry, agriculture and commerce. This resulted in a rural exodus and migration, and eventually the management of this landscape was abandoned. Later on, tourism arrived and speeded change. This chapter seeks to answer the question of how future developments are likely to affect the landscape.

Keywords: Aegean Islands; Agriculture; cultural landscape; migration; political regime; social regime; tourist development



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