Calabria is a fascinating fusion of hundreds of miles of wonderful coastline with mountainous hinterland, as the imposing Pollino chain in the North, the Sila forested plateau in the center and the Serre and Aspromonte chains in the South. Being the mountains so near to the sea, the rivers are all very short: called "fiumare", they stay dry for long part of the year.
Calabria was always a land of emigration, due to the scarcity of good arable lands, and the population is concentrated in the plains and along the coast. Industry development is low and agriculture is not very productive, because of the rugged terrain, but tourism has been steadily on the rise in the last few decades.
In the 8th century BC Calabria became a colony of the Greeks, who founded the cities of Reggio Calabria, Sibari and Crotone. Then in the 4th century BC it was occupied by the Bruttii, who during the Punic wars sided with Hannibal against the Romans. In 132 BC it was conquered by the Romans and included in the Third Region as Brutium, while the name Calabria was used only for the Salento Peninsula.
After the Roman Empire was split into Western and Eastern (with capital Byzanthium), Calabria stayed under the Byzanthines until the Lombards occupied it in the 7th century AD. In 885 Byzanthine general Niceforo Foca defeated Lombards and Saracens recovering the region.
Later on it was conquered by the Normans (1060), then by the Swabians, the Anjou and the Aragonese, under whose domination there were peasants' riots in 1459 and the famous rebellion led by Tommaso Campanella in 1599. The Spanish occupation was especially tyrannical for the region, and the 19th century saw the rise of patriot movements (the Carboneria) and riots, until in 1860 the population rose to support Garibaldi after he landed with his "red shirts" at Melito.
As all the Kingdom of Naples, Calabria was then united to the newly established Kingdom of Italy. The decades that followed saw an increase in poverty and emigration, also due to the great disparity between the rich industrial regions of Northern Italy and the agricultural, poorer South.