Greek Americans are people who have full or partial Greek American ancestry. According to the lowest estimate, 1.2 million Americans are of Greek heritage, while the largest estimate implies more than 3 million. In 2010, 350,000 persons over the age of five spoke Greek at home. But, What Does It Mean To Be Greek American? Here’s our analysis on that topic:

Greek Americans are most concentrated in New York City, Boston, and Chicago, but they have established in major urban areas throughout the United States. Tarpon Springs, Florida, has the greatest per capita representation of Greek Americans in the US (25% in 2000). Outside of Greece, the United States has the most Greeks, followed by Cyprus and Australia.


Greece is an old land that has been occupied continuously since 6000 B.C., from the start of the Neolithic period until the present. The Bronze Age, typically divided into three stages, lasted from 2800 B.C. to 1000 B.C. The Minoan civilization of Crete and the Mycenean civilization of mainland Greece flourished during this period. These civilizations were destroyed approximately 1000 B.C., just as independent city-states or “polis” began to expand rapidly. In 479 B.C., the city-states banded together to battle Persia, a common adversary, but national unity was short-lived. The power struggle between the two major city-states, Athens and Sparta, dominated the time.

Athens reached its pinnacle in the fifth century B.C., known as the Golden Age. At this time, Athens experimented with an internal democracy that was unique in the ancient world, developed a distinct culture, and left a lasting literary and architectural legacy. Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Herodotus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus rose to prominence, and the Parthenon on the Acropolis was finished in 432 B.C. From 431 to 404 B.C., Athens and Sparta fought the Peloponnesian War, and an epidemic that ran through Athens in 430 contributed to the end of the Golden Age. Sparta dominated the Greek world for a time, but conflict and severe economic deterioration hastened the decline of all city-states.

The Originals

In 1528, Greek sailor Don Teodoro or Theodoros arrived in America with Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez. John Griego and Petros the Cretan may have sailed to America during this time. Some claim Ioannis Phocas, a Greek, discovered the straits south of Vancouver Island as Juan De Fuca.

New Smyrna was the first Greek colony near Saint Augustine, Florida. Andrew Turnball and his wife Maria Rubini, daughter of a wealthy Greek trader, encouraged 450 colonists to settle in America. Greeks, largely from Mani in southern Greece, Italians, Minorcans, and Corsicans came in Florida on June 26, 1768, offering land. On July 17, 1777, the colony was dissolved, but many colonists relocated to Saint Augustine and became prosperous merchants and traders. A small Greek community built a chapel and school nearby.

Greek immigrants found approximately 600 New York diners from the 1950s to the 1970s. Greek immigration to the US increased between 1950 and 1970. After Greece joined the EU in 1981, U.S. immigration dropped to under 2,000. Greek immigration to the US has been low, with net migration toward Greece. 72,000 Greek Americans living in Greece (1999).

The 21st Century

Since 2010, Greek immigration to New York City has surged, especially in Astoria, Queens. The Fresh York Times reports that Greece’s economic woes are driving this new surge of Greek migration to New York.

Any ethnically Greeks in the USA born outside of Greece may become a Greek citizen through naturalization by demonstrating that a parent or grandparent was born as a Greek national. The Greek ancestor’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, as well as the applicant’s birth certificate and the birth certificates of all generations in between, are necessary until the applicant’s relationship to the individual with Greek citizenship is confirmed. Please visit our website at for more information on Greeks and Why Greek People Came to America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *