Greek War of Independence
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The Greek War of Independence was fought from the Greeks' declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire on March 25 (now Greek Independence Day) 1821 until the modern state of Greece was granted independence by the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1832.

The Ottoman Empire had ruled all of Greece, with the exception of the Ionian islands since its conquest of the Byzantine Empire over the course of the 14th and 15th centuries. But in the 18th and 19th century, as revolutionary nationalism grew across Europe (due, in part, to the influence of the French Revolution), and the power of the Ottoman Empire declined, Greek nationalism began to assert itself and drew support from Western European "philhellenes".

In 1814, Greek nationalists formed a secret organization called the Friendly Society (Filiki Eteria) in Odessa. With the support of wealthy Greek exile communities in Britain and the United States, the aid of sympathizers in western Europe and covert assistance from Russia, they planned a rebellion. John Capodistria, an official from the Ionian Islands who had become the Russian Foreign Minister, was secured as the leader of the planned revolt. The start of the uprising can be set on March 6 when Alexander Ypsilanti accompanied by several other Greek officers crossed the river Prut in Romania, or on March 23 when rebels liberated Kalamata in Peloponnese. Simultaneous risings were planned across Greece, including in Macedonia, Crete and Cyprus. With the advantage of surprise, and aided by Ottoman inefficiency, the Greeks succeeded in liberating the Peloponnese and some other areas.

The Ottomans soon recovered, and retaliated violently, massacring the Greek population of Chios and other towns. The retribution, however, drew sympathy for the Greek cause in western Europe—although the British and French governments suspected that the uprising was a Russian plot to seize Greece and possibly Constantinople from the Ottomans. The Greeks were unable to establish a coherent government in the areas they controlled, and soon fell to fighting among themselves. Inconclusive fighting between Greeks and Ottomans continued until 1825, when the Sultan asked for help from his most powerful vassal, Egypt.

Egypt was then ruled by Mehemet Ali Pasha who was eager to test his newly modernized armed forces. The Ottoman Sultan also promised Ali concessions in Syria if Egypt participated. The Egyptian force, under the command of Ali's son Ibrahim, was successful and quickly gained dominance of the seas and Aegean islands through the navy.

In Europe the Greek revolt aroused widespread sympathy. Greece was viewed as the cradle of western civilization, and it was especially lauded by the spirit of romanticism that was current at the time. The sight of a Christian nation attempting to cast off the rule of a Muslim Empire also appealed to the western European public.

One of those who heard the call was the poet Lord Byron who spent time in Greece, organising funds, supplies and troops, but died from fever at Messolonghi in 1824. Byron's death did even more to augment European sympathy for the Greek cause. This eventually led the western powers to intervene directly.

In October 1827 the British and French fleets, on the initiative of local commanders but with the tacit approval of their governments, attacked and destroyed the Ottoman fleet at Navarino. This was the decisive moment in the war of independence, although the British adm. Codrington ruined his career (see great Naval Blunders) since he wasn't ordered to achieve such a victory destroying completely the Egyptian fleet. In October 1828 the French landed troops (gen. Maison with 10.000 soldiers) in the Peloponnese to stop the Ottomans. Under their protection, the Greeks were able to regroup and form a new government. They then advanced to seize as much territory as possible, including Athens and Thebes, before the western powers impose a ceasefire.

By the Convention of May 11, 1832 Greece was finally recognised as a sovereign state. The state of affairs was formally recognized by the Turks and the European powers with the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1832. It is noteable that the first 3 Greek political parties were the "English party", the "French party", and the "Russian party".



Laskarina Bouboulina (11 May 1771 - 22 May 1825) was a heroine of the Greek War of Independence in 1821.

Bouboulina was born in a prison in Constantinople. She was the daughter of captain Stavrianos Pinotsis and his wife Skevo. The Ottomans had imprisoned Pinotsis because he had taken part in the failed Orlof Revolution of 1769-1770 against the Ottoman rule. Her father died soon afterwards and the mother and the child returned to the island of Hydra. Four years later, when her mother married Dimitrios Lazarou-Orlof, they moved to the island of Spetses. Bouboulina had eight half-siblings.

Later in life she married her second husband D. Bouboulis. Bouboulis was killed in a battle against Algerian pirates in 1811. Bouboulina took over his fortune and trading business and built four ships, including one large warship Agamemnon, at her own expense.

In 1816, the Ottomans tried to confiscate Bouboulina's property because her second husband had fought for the Russians against the Turks in the Turko-Russian wars. Bouboulina sailed to Constantinople to meet Russian ambassador Strogonoff to seek his protection because of her husband's services to the Russians. Strogonoff sent her to safety in Crimea. She also met with the mother of he Sultan who reputedly convinced her son to leave Bouboulina's property alone. After three months of exile in the Crimea, Bouboulina returned to Spetses.

Bouboulina joined the Filiki Etairela, an underground organization that was preparing for revolution against the Ottoman rule, as its only female member. She bought arms and ammunitions at her own expense and brought them secretly to Spetses in her ships. Construction of the ship Agamemnon was finished 1820. It was later one of the largest warships in the hands of Greek rebels. Bouboulina bribed Turkish officials to ignore the ship's size. She also organized her own armed troops, composed of men from Spetses. She used most of her fortune to provide food and ammunition for the sailors and soldiers under her command.

On 13 March 1821 Bouboulina raised her own Greek flag, based on the flag of the Byzantine emperor Comninos, on the mast of Agamemnon. On 3 April the people of Spetses revolted and later joined forces with a number of other ships from other Greek islands. Bouboulina sailed with eight ships to Nafplion and began a naval blockade. She led her own troops until the fall of the fort in 13 November 1822. Later she took part in the naval blockade and capture of Monemvasia and Pylos. In the battle at Argos Bouboulina's son Yiannis Yiannouzas died in combat against superior numbers of Ottoman troops.

She arrived in time to witness the fall of Tripoli on 11 September 1821 and met general Theodoros Kolokotronis. Later their children Eleni Boubouli and Panos Kolokotronis were married. During the ensuing massacre of Turks, Bouboulina saved most of the female members of the sultan's household.

After independence, when the opposing factions erupted into a civil war in 1824, the Greek government arrested Bouboulina because of her family connection to now-imprisoned Kolokotronis; the government also killed her son-in-law. She was eventually exiled back to Spetses. She had used all of her fortune for the war of independence.

Laskarina Bouboulina was killed in 1825 as the result of a family feud in Spetses. The daughter of a Koutsis family had eloped with Bouboulina's son Yeorgios Yiannouzas. The killer was not identified.

Descendants of Bouboulina gave the ship Agamemnon to the Greek state. It was renamed Spetses and became a Greek navy flagship. It was burned in the naval base of Poros during the next Greek civil war at 1831.

As with many national heroes, recent historians have found reason to criticize her. Some charge that she she had Turkish and Jewish women killed for their jewelery and had the cannons defending Naphplion melted down for her own profit.



The Filiki Eteria (spelt also Philikí Etaireía), meaning Friendly Society in Greek, was a secret organisation activating in the early 19th century, whose purpose was to overthrow the Ottoman rule over Greece and to establish an independent Greek state.

Eteria members were mainly young Greeks from Russia. Eteria received political and material support from Tsar Alexander I, who had interest in extending Russian influence in the Balkans.

One of the leaders of the Eteria was Alexander Ypsilanti.

In the context of ardent desire for independence of Turkish occupation and with explicit the influence of secret societies of Europe, three Greeks met one another in 1814 in the Odessa and decided the constitution of a strictly secret organisation, which would prepare the revolution of all Greeks. These men were Nikolaos Skoufas, from Arta province 42 years old, Emmanuel Ksanthos 42 years old from Patmos Island and Athanasios Tsakalov 26 years old from Ioannina city of Epirus. Skoufas had already particular contacts with Konstantinos Rados, who was initiated into Carbonarism. Ksanthos was initianted in a Free-Masonic Lodge of Lefkada («Society of Free Builders», of St. Mavra), while Tsakalov has been founding member the "Greek-speaking Hotel", (Ελληνόγλωσσο Ξενοδοχείο or Ellinoglwsso Xenodoxeio) a former but not successful society for the liberation of Greece.

The growth of Friendly Society has been impressive. At the beginning during the 1814-1816 period her members are roughly 20. During 1817 Society is developed mainly between the Greeks of Russia and Moldowallachia (Moldavia and Wallachia), but once again its membership does not exceed the 30 members. But from 1818 they do start massive initiations. In 1820 it expands in almost all regions of Greece and most Greek communities abroad. The first months of 1821 her members number tens thousands and the society had exceeded her own limits. Among her members there were tradesmen, clergy, executives of Ottoman Empire from Fanari, chieftains as Theodoros Kolokotronis, Odysseas Androutsos, the metropolite of Old Patrases German and more.

The whole structure of Philiki Etaireia was imitating the organisational models of Carbonarism and Freemasonry. The leading team was called "Invisible Authority" and was surrounded at the first moment with such secret glamour, that everybody believed that a lot of important personalities participated, not only Greeks but foreigners, as it was czar Alexander I of Russia of Russia. Actually, during first time there were only her three founders. Then, from 1815 until 1818, were added five more and after Skoufas' death three more were added. In 1818 the Invisible Authority was renamed to "Authority of Twelve Apostles" and each Apostle shouldered the responsibility of a big region

The whole structure was pyramid-like formed and in the top dominated the "Invisible Authority". No one did know it or had the right to ask by who it was constituted. Her commands were executed unquestioned, while members did not have right to take decisions. The society was called «Temple» and it had four levels of initiation: a) brothers or vlamides, b) the recommended, γ) the priests and d) the shepherds. The Priests were charged with the duty of initiation in the first two levels. When the Priest approached somebody, first was made sure for his patriotism and catechized him in the aims of society, therefore the last stage was to put him under oath.

Afterwards the initiated was considered neophyte member of the society, with all the rights and obligations of his rank. The Priest immediately had the obligation to reveal all the marks of recognition between the Vlamides or Brothers. Vlamides and Recommended ignored the revolutionary aims of the organisation. They only knew that existed a society that tried hard for the general good of the nation, which included in its ranks important personalities. This myth was propagated deliberately, in order to stimulate the moral of members on one side and in order to do proselytism easier on the other side.

At 1818 the seat of Philiki Etaireia has migrated from Odessa to Istambul, while Skoufa’s death has been a serious loss. The rest of the founders attempted to find a major personality to undertake the reins, who would give prestige and and fresh impetus to society. In the beginnings of 1818 they have a meeting with the J. Kapodistrias, who not only denies, but later he ‘ll write that he considered Philiki Etaireia guilty for the havoc that was foreboded in Greece. Finally, after many contacts, in April 1820 undertook the leadership of Philiki Etaireia Alexander Ypsilanti.



Constantine Kanaris (or Canaris, Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Κανάρης) (1793 or 1795September 2, 1877) was a Greek admiral, freedom fighter and politician.

He was born on the Aegean Sea island of Psara as a son of Michael and Maria Kanaris. His exact year of birth is unknown. The official records of the Greek Navy give it as 1795 but modern Greek historians believe that 1793 is more probable. Michael Kanaris, his father, had served several terms as the island's Elder. Constantine was left an orphan at a young age. Having to support himself he chose to became a seaman, like most members of his family since the beginning of the 18th century. He was hired as a boy in the brig of his uncle Dimitris Bourekas. Over time he gained prominence in the island's society. In 1817 this was signified by his marriage to Despoina Maniatis, a member of one of the island's more affluent families. They would have seven children in all:

  • Nicholas Kanaris, (18181848).
  • Themistocles Kanaris, (18191851).
  • Miltiades Kanaris, (18221899) - Admiral, member of the Greek Parliament, and government minister.
  • Lycurgus Kanaris (18261865) - Lawyer.
  • Maria Kanari, (18281847).
  • Aristides Kanaris, (18311863) - Navy officer.
  • Thrasybulos Kanaris, (18341898) - Admiral.

Constantine gained his fame during the Greek War of Independence (18211829). Unlike most other prominent figures of the War, he had never been initiated in the Philiki Etairia (Friendly Society). The Friendly Society, founded at September 14, 1814 in Odessa by three traders, was mainly responsible for planning the revolution against the Ottoman Empire and recruiting supporters for it. Its founders being members of the Freemasonry, they had adopted their methods of initiation, organising and assuring secrecy from it. By early 1821, it had gained enough support to declare a revolution. This declaration seems to have surprised Constantine, who was absent at Odessa. He returned to Psara in haste and was there when the island joined the Revolution on April 10, 1821.

The island formed its own fleet of ships and the famed seamen of Psara, already known for their successful naval combats against pirates and their well-equipped ships, proved to be effective at full naval war. Constantine soon distinguished himself as a fire ship captain. Notably at Chios, where on the night of June 6/June 7, 1822 forces under his command destroyed the flagship of the Turkish admiral Pasha Kara-Ali in revenge for the Massacre of Chios. The admiral was holding a celebration, while Kanaris and his men managed to place a fire ship next to it. When the flagships' powder keg caught fire, all men aboard were instantly killed. The Ottoman casualties consisted of 2000 men, both naval officers and common sailors, as well as Kara-Ali himself. Constantine led three further successful attacks against the Turkish fleet in 1822-1824. But during this last year, the fate of both Kanaris and his island took a turn for the worst.

Egypt was namely a province of the Ottoman Empire at the time but its viceroy Mohammad Ali (17691849), had earned enough power to act independently from the Sultan and had formed his own army and naval fleet. It was headed by his adoptive son Ibrahim Pasha (17891848). The later had hired a number of veteran French officers - who had served under Emperor Napoleon I of France and were discharged from the French army following his defeat - to help organise the new army. By 1824 it counted 100,000 men and was both better organised and better equipped than the Sultan's army. Sultan Mahmud II offered to the viceroy the command of Crete, if he agreed to send part of this army against the Greeks. They quickly reached an agreement. The Egyptian army, under the personal command of Ibrahim Pasha, started a successful campaign in both land and sea against the relatively ill-equipped, disorganized and outnumbered Greeks. Among other victories, the Egyptian fleet managed to capture Psara on June 21, 1824. A part of the population managed to flee the island, but those who didn't were either sold into slavery or slaughtered. The island was deserted and surviving islanders were scattered through what is now Southern Greece.

After the destruction of his home island, Constantine continued to lead his men into attacks with minor successes. Despite them, Ibrahim Pasha would be virtually undefeated until the Battle of Navarino of October 20, 1827. Then the Egyptian fleet was destroyed by the combined naval forces of Britain, France and Russia, that had taken the Greeks under their "protection".

Following the end of the War and the independence of Greece, Constantine became an officer of the new Greek Navy reaching the rank of Admiral and later a politician.

Kanaris served as Minister in various governments and then as Prime Minister from March 11- April 11, 1844. He served a second term (October 27, 1848December 24, 1849) and a third (May 28, 1854July 29, 1854). In 1862 he was one of the few War of Independence veterans that helped in the bloodless revolution that deposed King Otto of Greece and put Prince William of Denmark on the Greek throne as King George I of Greece. Under George I, he served as a prime minister for a fourth term (March 17April 28, 1864), fifth term (August 7, 1864February 9, 1865) and sixth and last term (June 7September 2, 1877). Following his death his government remained in power until September 14, 1877 without agreeing on a replacement at its head. He was buried in the First Cemetery of Athens, where most Greek prime ministers and celebrated figures are also buried. After his death he was honored as a national hero.

He is thought to be distantly related to Wilhelm Canaris, head of the German Abwehr during World War II, but the exact genealogical connection remains uncertain.




Theodoros Kolokotronis (Grk. Θεόδωρος Κολοκοτρώνης, April 1770 - 15 February 1843) was a Greek general in the Greek War of Independence against the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

Theodoros Kolokotronis was born in Messenia. As a young man he joined the Greek pro-independence society Philikí Etaireía.

He later fled to Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands, which were then a British protectorate after being bandied about between Venice, France and Russia during the Napoleonic Wars. He joined a special British Army regiment for Greeks which gave him inside knowledge of regular infantry tactics; this proved a great advantage later in his career.

Kolokotronis returned to the mainland just prior to the outbreak of the war (officially, March 25 1821) and formed a confederation of irregular Moreot klepht bands. These he tried to train and organize into something resembling a modern army. In May he was named archistrategos -- commanding general. He was already 50-years-old by this time, a fact which contributed to his sobriquet O Geron tou Morea -- "The Old Man of the Morea," Morea being another name for the Peloponnese.

Kolokotronis first action was the defense of Valetsi, the village near Tripoli where his army was mustering.

He next commanded Greek troops in the siege of the coastal town of Nafplio He took the port, and the Turkish garrison in the town's twin citadels was running low on supplies, but the disorganized Greek provisional government at Argos, just to the north, could not complete negotiations for its surrender before a large Ottoman force began marching southward to crush the rebels. Panicked, government officials abandoned Argos and began evacuations by sea at Nafplio. Only an under-strength battalion under Demetrios Ypsilantis remained to hold the fortress of Kastro Larissa.

Kolokotronis gathered the klephts together to march to the releif of Ypsilantis. This was quite a feat in itself, considering the near-collapse of the government and the notoriously quarrelsome nature of the klephtic bands. Even the troublesome Souliots lent a hand.

The Ottoman army from the north commanded by Mahmud Dramali, after taking Corinth had marched to the Plain of Argos. The castle of Kastro Larissa was an excellent position, commanding the whole plain. To leave such a strongpoint straddling Turkish supply lines was far too dangerous. Dramali would have to reduce the fortress before moving on. Scaling the cliffs, breaching the castle's stout walls, and overcoming its resolute defenders would be no easy task. Yet there was one weakness Dramali was unaware of: this citadel, unlike the famous Acropolis in Athens, had no spring and consequently fresh water had to be supllied from cisterns. Unfortunately for the Greeks, it was July and no rains were falling to fill the cisterns. Ypsilantis bluffed the Turks as long as he could, but towards the end of the month had to sneak his men out in the middle of the night. Dramali's men plundered the castle the next day, and he was now free to march them toward the coast to resupply. (The Greeks had pursued a scorched earth policy, and the large Ottoman force was eating through its food supplies rather quickly). Ypsilantis defense had bought Kolokotronis and the klephts valuable time.

To his dismay, Dramali found himself cut off from his supply fleet, which had intended to land at Nafplio but was successfully blockaded by the Greeks fleet under Admiral Miaoulis. Dramali reluctantly decided upon a retreat toward Corinth through the Dervenaki Pass, through which he had just come unmolested. This was exactly what Kolokotronis had been hoping for. In August 1822 his quicker-moving guerilla forces trapped the Turks in the pass and annihilated them. A devastated Sultan Mahmud in Constantinople was forced to turn to Mohamed Ali, ruler of the nominally Ottoman pashaluk of Egypt for help.

The Greeks resumed the siege agains the fortresses at Nafplio, which fell in December. Kolokotronis is said to have ridden his horse up the steep slopes of Kastro Palamidi to celebrate his victory there; a statue in the town square commemorates the event. He is attired in something resembling the costume of a hussar topped with a plumed Corinthian helmet, which he was fond of wearing, and which foreign Philhellenes were even fonder of seeing him in. (While he seems to have enjoyed dressing like a Western European cavalryman cum Ancient Greek hoplite, he is also frequently depicted wearing the more traditional foustanella and other Greek accoutrements).

Later in the same year Kolokotrinis's political enemies in the Greek provisional government, led by Petrobey Mavromichalis had him imprisoned in the Palamidi jail, but he was released when an Egyptian army under the command of Ibrahim Pasha invaded the Morea.

Ibrahim was fresh from fighting the Wahhabi rebels in Arabia, and so was used to fighting guerillas. His troops were armed with the most modern equipment and trained by European experts. The sultan had promised his father the island of Crete as an appanage for young Ibrahim if he could crush the rebels. With his eye on the prize, he burned his way through the Peloponnese, gaining much territory but little sympathy from Western European public opinion, which in the long run proved disastrous for the Turks.

The islands of Sphacteria and Navarino had already fallen into Ibrahim's hands, and to make matters worse for Kolokotronis, he still had to be on guard against the machinations of Petrobey Mavromichalis even as he was bracing himself againt the new threat.

Kolokotronis used guerilla tactics to atrit Ibrahim's forces; but given his limited resources, was unable to prevent the widespread destruction that Ibrahim left in his wake. Still,in 1823, in recognition of his military acumen and many services to the Greek cause, he was appointed commander-in-chief of Greek forces in the Peloponnese.

After the war Kolokotronis became a supporter of Count I.A. Kapodistrias and a proponent of alliance with Russia. When the count was assassinated 8 October 1831, Kolokotronis created his own administration in support of Prince Otto of Bavaria as a king of Greece. However, later he opposed the Bavarian-dominated regency during his rule. He was charged with treason and 7 June 1834 sentenced to death; but he was pardoned in 1835.

Theodoros Kolokotronis died in 1843 in Athens.

In the twilight of his life, Kolokotronis had learned to write in order to complete his memoirs, which have been a perennial favorite in Greece and have been several times translated into English and other languages.

Kolokotronis's famed helmet, along with the rest of his arms and armor, may today be seen in the National Museum of Greece in Athens. In addition to the Nafplio statue mentioned earlier, there is another to be seen in Athens, near Syntagma Square.



Antonios Kriezis (Greek: Αντώνιος Κριεζής) (1796 - 1865), a soldier fought for the Greek War of Independence of 1821 and later ran as the Prime Minister of Greece.

Kriezis is descended from the family of the island of Hydra and was born in Troizina in 1796. In July, 1821, he served in the Greek bavy and he took places in the nautical battles in Samos and the battleship of Spetses. In 1825 with Kanaris and fired an Egyptian boat inside the port of Alexandria. In 1828, John Capodistria displaced the commander of the navy squadron and in 1829, and surrendered Vonitsa from the Turks.

With Otto in 1836, he became minister of the navy, from August 10, 1841, he served as prime minister (with no constitution that time, the actual prime minister was Otto of Greece) in place which lasted to the September 3 Revolution of 1843. Krieiza served as Prime Minister of Greece between December 24, 1849 until May 28, 1854 and preceded fom and succeeded by Konstatntinos Kanaris. He died in Athens in 1865



Petros Mavromichalis (1765-1848) (in Greek Πέτρος Μαυρομιχάλης) also known as Petrobey (Πετρομπέης), was the leader of the Maniot people during the first half of the 19th century.

Mavromichalis' family had a long history of fighting against the Turks (who at that time occupied the rest of Greece). His grandfather Georgakis and his father Pierros were among the leaders of the Orlov Revolt.

The revolt was followed by a period of infighting between the Maniot leaders; soon, young Petros gained a strong reputation for mediating the disputes and reuniting the warring families. During that period he also made an alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte of France, who was fighting in Egypt; Napoleon was to strike the Ottoman Empire in coordination with a Greek revolt. Napoleon's failure in Egypt doomed that plan.

By 1814 the reorganized maniots again became a threat to the Turks, and the sultan offered a number of concessions to Mavromichalis, including his being named Bey (regional administrator) of Mani, in effect formalizing the de-facto status of autonomy the region had maintained for years. Still, Petrobey continued to organize the Greek capetanei (commanders) of Morea for the revolution that was soon to come. In 1818 he became a member of Filiki Eteria, and in 1819 he brokered a formal pact among the major capetanei families.

On March 17, 1821, Petrobey raised his war flag in Areopolis, effectively signalling the start of the Greek War of Independence. His troops marched into Kalamata, and liberated the city on March 23.

After the summer of 1822, Petrobey retired from battle, leaving the leadership of his troops to his sons (two of whom were killed fighting). He continued to act as a mediator whenever disputes arose among the capetanei, and acted as the leader of the Messinian Senate, a council of prominent revolutionary leaders. He also tried to seek support from the West by sending a number of letters to leaders and philhellenes in Europe and the United States.

After the revolution, Petrobey became a member of the first Greek Senate, under the leadership of Ioannis Kapodistrias. The two men soon clashed as a result of Kapodistrians insistence of establishing a regional administration based on political appointees, replacing the traditional system of family loyalties. Petros' brother Tzanis led a revolt against the appointed governor of Lakonia; the two brothers were invited to meet Kapodistrias and negotiate a solution but, when they showed up, they were arrested. From his prison cell, Petros tried to negotiate a settlement with Kapodistrias; the latter refused. The crisis was then settled by more traditional means: Petros' brother Kostantinos murdered Kapodistrias on Sept. 27th, 1831. Petros publicly disapproved of the murder.

Kapodistrias was followed by king Otto, whose attitude towards the capetanei was much friendlier. Petros became vice-president of the state council, and later a senator. He died in Athens on Jan 17, 1848, and was buried with the highest honors.



Andreas Vokos (or Bokos) Miaoulis (1768 - June 24, 1835), Greek admiral and politician, who commanded Greek naval forces during the 19th century Greek War of Independence.

Miaoulis was born in Negropont. The surname Miaoulis, which was added to his family name of Vokos, or Bokos, is said to be derived from the Turkish word miaoul, a felucca.

He settled in the island of Hydra on the east of the Morea, and when the Greek War of Independence began was known among his fellow townsmen as a trader in corn who had gained wealth, and who made a popular use of his money. He had been a merchant captain, and was chosen to lead the naval forces of the islands when they rose against the government of the Sultan.

The islanders had enjoyed some measure of exemption from the worst excesses of the Turkish officials, but suffered severely from the conscription raised to man the Turkish ships; and though they seemed to be peculiarly open to attack by the Sultan's forces from the sea, they took an early and active part in the rising. As early as 1822 Miaoulis was appointed navarch, or admiral, of the swarm of small vessels which formed the insurgent fleet. He commanded the expedition sent to take revenge for the massacre of Chio in the same year.

He continued to be the naval chief of the Greeks till the former Royal Navy officer Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald entered their service in 1827. Miaoulis then retired in order to leave the English officer free to act as commander. In the interval he had had the general direction of the naval side of the Greek struggle for freedom. He had a share in the successful relief of the first siege of Messolonghi in December 1822 and January 1823.

In 1824, after the conquest of Psara by the Turks, he commanded the Greek forces which prevented the further progress of the Sultan's fleet, though at the cost of the loss of many fire ships and men to themselves. But in the same year he was unable to prevent the Egyptian forces from occupying Navarino, though he harassed them with some success. During 1825 he succeeded in carrying stores and reinforcements into Messolonghi, when it was besieged for the second time, though he could not avert its fall.

His efforts to interrupt the sea communications of the Egyptian forces failed, owing to the enormous disproportion of the two squadrons in the siege and strength of the ships. As the war went on the naval power of the Greeks diminished, partly owing to the penury of their treasury, and partly to the growth of piracy in the general anarchy of the Eastern Mediterranean.

When Miaoulis retired to make room for Dundonald the conduct of the struggle had really passed into the hands of the Great Powers. When independence had been obtained, Miaoulis in his old age was entangled in the civil conflicts of his country, as an opponent of Capodistrias and the Russian party. He had to employ his skill in the employment of fireships against them at Poros in 1831. He was one of the deputation sent to invite King Otho to accept the crown of Greece, and was made rear-admiral and then vice-admiral by him. He died on the 24th of June 1835 at Athens.



Papaflessas (1788-1825), born George Flessas, was a Greek patriot, priest, and government official. The word "papa" in the name "Papaflessas" indicates his status as a cleric, 'papa' being the Greek for 'priest'. He was ordained to the highest priesthood position, Archimandrites, in 1819. He served as Minister of Internal Affairs and Chief of Police in the government of Alexander Mavrocordatos. Papaflessas was killed in battle May 20, 1825, fighting the forces of Ibrahim at Maniaki, Messinia.

George "Papaflessas" Flessas was born in 1788 in the village of Poliani in Messinia. His father was Demetrios G. Flessas and his mother, the second wife of Demitrios, was Constantina Andronaiou from Demetsana.

In 1809 he attended school at the renowned school of Demetsana, from whence many Greek national heroes graduated. While in school he published a satire and pinned it on the door of the Demetsana Pasha (the Turkish local governor at the time) signing it "Gregorious FOS Kalamios". Realizing he was in danger from his action he was sent in 1815 to become a priest or monk, taking the ecclesiastical name of Gregorious Flessas or Papaflessas. For a short time, he served in this capacity in the monastery of Velanidia, situated outside of the city of Kalamata, Messinia.

Gregorious was argumentative and defiant by nature and frequently at odds with his ecclesiastical superiors. Further, he was angry toward the Ottoman Turks because of family members killed by them. He also blessed a marriage of Mr. Zervas with his niece who was engaged to another man. At the time engagement was equal to marriage and it was punishable by death if the engagement was broken. He was asked to leave the monastery of Velanidia.

In April 1816 he moved to the monastery of Regkitsa, located between Leontari and Mystras. He soon argued with his superiors and the monastery's administration. He also came into conflict with a local Turkish authority over the boundaries of the monastery property and even used armed men to protect his claims. This eventually was settled by court in Trompolitsa with the court finding in Papaflessas' and the monastery's favour. This angered the Turkish official who told the authorities that Papaflessas was a revolutionary and was arming the "ragiades" (Greeks) against the Turks. The Trompolitsa authorities sentenced Papaflessas to death and sent soldiers to the monastery to arrest and execute him. Armed Poliani fighters delayed the soldiers and Papaflessas were able to leave his homeland, saying as he did so that he would return either a Bishop or a Pasha and deal with them.

Papaflessas went to the island of Zakynthos, a haven for Greeks from the mainland who were under death sentence by the Turks. He obtained a reference letter from the Archbishop of Christianoupolis (Arcadia Kyparissia). While travelling by sea to Constantinople, Papaflessas was shipwrecked on the "Holy Mountain", Mount Athos during which the seal on his letter of recommendation broke. Reading the letter he was surprised to find that it called him dishonest, immoral and untrustworthy, causing him to discard the letter.

He arrived in Constantinople with the goal of studying ancient Greek and theology and to become an Archbishop in the Agia Sophia Patriarxeio. While studying Greek and the Periklis harangue, he also started meeting prominent "patriots". Because he was under death sentence by the Turks, and his reputation from Peloponnisos, he used the name "Dikaios". He soon joined the secret organization of "Filiki Eteria", (Friendly Society) with the code name "Armodios" (A. M.) and the number five (5).

In 1819 Gregorious was ordained to the highest priesthood position, Archimandrites, a rank next to the Bishop, by Patriarch Gregorious V of Constantinople and he was given the ecclesiastical “officio of Dikaios” (the Orthodox Christian Patriarch's representative), in order to be able to move freely in the Moldovlachia area and not to be bothered by the Turks. Papaflessas was sent to the northern part of the Ottoman Empire to inspire and spread hope among his countrymen for the nation's independence from the Turks.

Returning to Constantinople from his successful mission Papaflessas again came to the attention of the Turkish authorities and had to flee. At the end of 1820, he sailed to Kydonia of Asia Minor and catechised all scholars of the Big School (as it was called there) while awaiting the arrival of war supplies from Smyrna. From Smyrna he received military supplies and the assurance of additional ammunition if needed.

Papaflessas travelled to several areas seeking support for a revolution against the Ottoman Empire. At the Saint George monastery he called a meeting of Greek authorities and High Priests to discuss if the time was right to start the a revolution. After heated arguments the meeting was postponed for a later time in the monastery of Agia Lavra.

In January of 1821 meetings took place with Papaflessas recounting his supplies and assurances of support coming from Russia. Concerns about the practicalities of war and the uncertainty of the promises of military support lead the other participants to propose to secretly jail Flessas in the monastery of Agia Lavra in order to avoid problems for the nation. But Papaflessas had armed supporters and no one dared arrest him. The synod decided to get further information and the opinion of neighbouring countries before starting a revolution.

Flessas' problem was with the upper class (landowners) in the villages and municipalities, including the top echelon of the clergy, who did not trust Papaflessas, and his mission was received with a great deal of scepticism and fear. He felt safer to approach first farmers and peasants and the poor class of people who were easily magnetized by his speeches looked upon him as the messiah of their freedom.

After the meeting he went to Kalavryta and met with Nikolaus Souliotis and Asimakis Skaltsas in order for them to write a letter in the first 10 days of March 1821 to Oikonomos Eliopoulos. Then he retreated to Kalyvia Kalamata waiting for news from Souliotis and Skaltsas and the arrival in Almyros, a small port near Kalamata, of the boat with the war supplies. From Kalyvia secretly he went to Gardikion Amfeias near his hometown Poliani and learned that the small boat of Mexis Poriotis arrived in Almyros. Papaflessas immediately called his brothers.

In March 1821 he received news the ship with military supplies had arrived. He gathered about 400 men with mules and donkeys from the Poliani area and went to Almyros Kalamata. In order to unload the boat they had to have the authorization of the area's harbourmaster, the famous Mavromichalis, who was in the pay of the Turks security force. The harbourmaster demanded a large bribe to cover up what the Greeks were unloading.

Papaflessas sent 45,000 grosia to Mavromichalis who accepted it but still did not sign the proper papers. He wanted half of the supplies in the boat to have them as reserves to fight the Greeks when they start the revolution against the Turks. This was agreed to and the supplies were transported to the monastery of Velanidia, where Papaflessas served as a monk, summoning prominent "kleftes" chieftains from the area. By purpose or accident some of the gunpowder was dropped at a local well and the next day the stablemen of the local Pasha found and reported it. The Pasha summoned all the prominent Greeks and clergy from the Kalamata area and jailed them.

Papaflessas arranged his men to cover various strategic positions in the area. When a Turkish sympathizer tried to leave the city he was killed, starting the war of Independence on March 21, 1821. In Mani a gathering of the captains of the rebels had decided to start the revolution on March 25, 1821, but received news on the 22nd that the fighting had already begun.

The Greek War of Independence officially started on March 25, 1821, and brought a great change to the Church of the free kingdom. The clergy had taken a leading part in the revolution.

In 1823 Papaflessas was named the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Chief of Police by the government of Alexander Mavrocordatos under the name Gregorious Dikaios, the name he had when was in Philiki Etairia. He instituted many reforms, established the mail system and built schools in various towns. He created the title of Inspector General for schools and he was the first one to establish the "Koinonika Fronimata" political convictions certificate to be given to the friends of the Government.

He took part in many battles against the Turks and he sided with the government when the civil war started in 1824. He took part in the campaign in Messinia and the rest of Peloponnisos to suppress the rebels against the Government.

Papaflessas, during the civil war, between politicians and leaders of the revolution, was on Kolokotronis' side. But, later on, due to his personal ambitions, he sided with the politicians and went against his former co-fighter, believing sincerely that by doing so he best served the interests of his country.

When Ibrahim invaded Peloponnisos in 1825, Papaflessas was still Minister of Internal Affairs. Realizing the great danger the nation was facing with the Ibrahim's invasion, he demanded the government grant amnesty to Kolokotronis and other political prisoners. This demand was refused and he appeared before the Executive Branch and Parliament to tell them he would go to Messinia alone to organize a resistance against Ibrahim, determined to return victorious or die in the battlefield.

Papaflessas gathered 2,000 poorly armed men and went to the province of Pylias searching for the best spot to face Ibrahim's army coming out of the city of Pylos. He selected the hills of Maniaki in order for him to have a better view of the enemy's movements and there Papaflessas established three lines of defence.

On May 20, 1825, Ibrahim's forces led by well-trained French Officers attacked Papaflessas' defence lines. Most of the Greek troops lost their nerve, abandoned their positions, and fled. Papaflessas continued to fight the Egyptians with a small force of 300-600 men loyal to him and his cause.

Papaflessas knew that in choosing to face Ibrahim he would die on the battlefield. May 20, 1825 came to its end after the lines were broken by the heavy bombardment of Ibrahim's artillery and the repeated attacks of his infantry and cavalry. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting ended with the death of the last defender.

In speaking of Papaflessas after his death, it is said that Ibrahim told his officers: "If Greece had ten heroes like him, it would not have been possible for me to undertake the military campaign against Peloponnisos".



Alexander Ypsilanti (1792 - January 31, 1828) was a Greek military commander and national hero. He bears the same name as, and should not be confused with, his grandfather, Prince of Wallachia and Moldavia at the end of the 18th century.

The eldest son of Constantine Ypsilanti, Alexander accompanied his father in 1805 to St Petersburg, and in 1809 received a commission in the cavalry of the Imperial Guard.

He fought with distinction in 1812 and 1813, losing an arm at the battle of Dresden, and in 1814 was promoted colonel and appointed one of the emperor's adjutants. In this capacity he attended Alexander I at the Congress of Vienna, where he was a popular figure in society (see La Garde-Chambonas, Souvenirs). In 1817 he became major-general and commander of the brigade of hussars.

In 1820, on the refusal of Count Capo d'Istria to accept the post of president of the Greek Filiki Eteria, Ypsilanti was elected, and in 1821 he placed himself at the head of the insurrection against the Turks in the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. Accompanied by several other Greek officers in the Russian service he crossed the Prut on March 6, announcing that he had 'the support of a great power'.

Had he advanced on Brăila he might have prevented the Turks entering the principalities and so forced Russia to accept the fait accompli. Instead, he remained at Iaşi, disgracing his cause by condoning the massacres of Turkish merchants and others. At Bucharest, whither he advanced after some weeks delay, it became plain that he could not rely on the Wallachian peasantry to rise on behalf of the Greeks; even the disconcerting expedient of his Wallachian ally Tudor Vladimirescu, who called on the peasants to present a petition to the sultan against Phanariot misrule, failed to stir the people from their apathy.

Then, wholly unexpectedly, came a letter from Capo d'Istria upbraiding Ypsilanti for misusing the Tsar's name, announcing that his name had been struck off the army list, and commanding him to lay down his arms. Ypsilanti's decision to explain away the Tsar's letter could only have been justified by the success of a cause which was now hopeless. There followed a series of humiliating defeats, culminating in that of Drăgăşani on June 19.

Alexander, accompanied by his brother Nicholas and a remnant of his followers, retreated to Râmnic, where he spent some days in negotiating with the Austrian authorities for permission to cross the frontier. Fearing that his followers might surrender him to the Turks, he gave out that Austria had declared war on Turkey, caused a Te Deum to be sung in the church of Kosia, and, on pretext of arranging measures with the Austrian commander-in-chief, crossed the frontier. But the Austria of Francis I and Metternich was no asylum for leaders of revolts in neighboring countries.

Ypsilanti was kept in close confinement for seven years, and when released at the instance of the emperor Nicholas I of Russia, retired to Vienna, where he died in extreme poverty and misery on January 31, 1828.


Demetrius Ypsilanti, sometimes spelled Ypsilantis, (1793 - January 3, 1832), second son of Prince Constantine, distinguished himself as a Russian officer in the campaign of 1814, and in the spring of 1821 went to the Morea, where the war of Greek independence had just broken out. He was one of the most conspicuous of the Phanariot leaders during the earlier stages of the revolt, though he was much hampered by the local chiefs and by the civilian element headed by Mavro-cordato. In January 1822 he was elected president of the legislative assembly; but the ill-success of his campaign in central Greece, and his failure to obtain a commanding position in the national convention of Astros, led to his retirement early in 1823. In 1828 he was appointed by Capo d'Istria commander of the troops in East Hellas. He succeeded, on the 25th of September 1829, in forcing the Turkish commander Asian Bey to sign a capitulation at the Pass of Petra, which ended the active operations of the war. He died at Vienna on the 3rd of January 1832. He was brother of Alexander Ypsilantis. The city of Ypsilanti, Michigan in the United States of America is named after him.


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