Zakynthos or Zante is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. Zakynthos is a separate regional unit of the Ionian Islands region, and its only municipality. It covers an area of 410 km2 and its coastline is roughly 123 km (76 mi) in length. The island is named after Zakynthos, the son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin.Zakynthos is a tourist destination, and has clubs and bars, and hosts events including The Rum and Raybands Boat Party, Total Karnage and The White Party. The island's nickname is To fioro tou Levante, given by the Venetians.Zakynthos was inhabited from the Neolithic Age, as some archaeological excavations have proved.The famous ancient Greek poet and writer, Homer, first mentioned the island in his masterpieces, the Iliad and the Odyssey, stating that the first inhabitants of it were the son of King Dardanos of Troy called Zakynthos and his men and that they first came on the island around 1500–1600 BC.The island was then conquered by the Great Imperial King Arkeisios of Kefalonia. The famous Ulysses from Ithaca was the next King to conquer the island.Later on, a treaty was signed that made Zakynthos an independent democracy, the first established in the Hell area, that lasted more than 650 years.The Athenian military commander Tolmides concluded an alliance with Zakynthus during the First Peloponnesian War sometime between 459 and 446 BC.The importance of this alliance for Athens was that it provided them with a source of tar. Tar is a more effective protector of ship planking than pitch. The Athenian trireme fleet needed protection from rot, decay and the teredo, so this new source of tar was valuable to them. The tar was dredged up from the bottom of a lake using leafy myrtle branches tied to the ends of poles. It was then collected in pots and could be carried to the beach and swabbed directly onto ship hulls.Alternatively, the tar could be shipped to the Athenian naval yard at the Piraeus for storage.During the Middle Ages, the island was part of the Byzantine theme of Cephallenia. After 1185 it became part of the County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos under the Kingdom of Naples until its last Count Leonardo III Tocco was defeated by the Ottomans in 1479. The Turkish rule lasted only until 22 April 1484, when it was swapped with the Turks by Venetian secretary Giovanni Dario, negotiator of the treaty of Constantinople, against neighboring Cephalonia and an annual tribute of 500 ducats.From then on Zakynthos remained an overseas colony of the Venetian Republic until its very end in 1797, following the fate of the Ionian islands, completed by the capture of Cephalonia in 1500 and Lefkas in 1684 from the Turks.Venetian rule protected the island from Ottoman domination but in its place it put a feudal oligarchy. The cultural influence of Venice was considerable. The wealthy made a habit of sending their sons to Italy to be educated. Good examples are Dionysios Solomos, a native of Zakynthos and Greece's national poet, and Ugo Foscolo, also native of Zakynthos and a national Italian poet. However, both the Greek language and Orthodox faith survived intact. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, it was one of the largest exporters of currants in the world together with Cephalonia.The Treaty of Campoformio dismantling the Venetian Republic awarded the Ionian Islands to France. General Antoine Gentili, leading a French expeditionary force with boats captured in Venice, took control of the islands on 26 June 1797. From 1797 to 1798, the island was part of the French départment Mer-Égée. A Russian-Turkish fleet captured the island on 23 October 1798. From 1800 to 1807, it was part of the Septinsular Republic, nominally under sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire but protected by Russia. In 1800–1801, Britain attempted to take control of the Ionian islands from Zakynthos after a revolt, under the leadership of James Callander Campbell but these intentions stopped after the Peace of Amiens.After a second period under French control following the treaty of Tilsit, it was conquered by Great Britain on 16 October 1809, and was part of the British protectorate of the United States of the Ionian Islands from 1815 to 1864.