A small peninsula
. This area composed the territory of the Athenian polis
(from about the 7th century BC
and until the end of the 4th century BC
During the Doric invasion to Greece that destroyed the Mycenean culture (circa the 11th century BC), they avoided Attica, because of its remoteness from the main route to the peloponnese, and the mountains that closed the area from the north. As a consequense of this Attica was the only place in mainland Greece from which the Ionians didn't escape, and the Attic culture remained primarily Ionic. The dialect that developed in the area (which was surprisingly enough called the Attic dialect), was a sub-dialect of the Ionic one, but contained many Doric and Aeolic influences. Another result of the Doric avoidence from attacking Attica was the fact that the towns in Attica did not go through the crumblig and disintegration into small vilages that happened all over the rest of Greece at that time, and therefore remained a more-or-less whole country throughout the Greek Dark Age, and did not have to go through Synoikismos like all other Greek settelments (the Athenians are already mentioned as a demos or nation in the Iliad that dates to the 8th century but reflects a much earlier age).
We have substantial evidence that as early as the seventh century the whole of Attica was controled by the city of Athens and composed its polis, we know that up to some point Eleusis objected this Athenian supremecy, but later yielded to it.
Yet, dispite the fact that the Athenian polis had a much larger territory at its disposal than any other polis in Greece (with the possible exception of Sparta), Athens did not become an important power in Greece until the Persian War (early 5th century BC).
After the defeat of Athens in the Second Peloponesian War, some poleis demanded the cancellation of the Athenian polis and the division of Attica. However Sparta prefered to keep Attica whole (perhaps as a way to diminish the power of the strengthening polis of Thebes). Attica continued to consist the territory of the Athenian polis
(and even regained its importance for a brief period during the Third Peloponnesian War), unil the Battle of Chaironea in which Philip II of Macedonia conquered Greece.