The archaeological record indicates direct contact between the northern and southern parts of the Italian peninsula, Sicily, and the Lipari Islands. The Villanovans flourish in the northern and western parts of the peninsula, the Etruscans prosper along the coast just north of Rome, and the Greeks begin to colonize the southern half of the peninsula and Sicily. The Roman Republic is established in 509 B.C. and, through conquest and diplomacy, acquires vast territories as subject provinces. Political rivalries in the first century B.C., however, lead to civil wars and the eventual collapse of the Republic. The principate of Augustus is established in 27 B.C. and, thus, begins the Principate or Roman Imperial period.