“The Greek Revolution of 1821 as a pivotal chapter in Greek history and a piece in the puzzle of world history. “
The goal of this pillar is to comprehend the Greek Revolution of 1821, to highlight its significance, its relationship with other revolutions and wars for independence that flared up at approximately the same time, and the effect it had on the rest of the world and how it was affected by it.
““When I want it, I become an angel and, again, when I want it, I become the devil” – Georgios Karaiskakis
Enter the timeline of the Revolution and choose or add your event. Write about it. Highlight the role of the protagonists. If, in 2021, you are between 18 and 21 years old, with your text, you automatically participate in a selection process that will enable you to travel to Europe as an ambassador of our country in the context of the bicentennial celebration.
Following the treaties of Kutsuk-Kainartzi (1774) and Ainali Kavac (1784), Greek commercial shipping developed impressively, with Greek ships trading in the Aegean, the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea under the Russian flag. The Greek commercial fleet gradually gained strength throughout the Mediterranean – the main Greek seaports being Galaxidi, Mesolongi, Psara, Spetses, Hydra, etc. After the Russian-Turkish war of 1787-1792, the Greek islands were given privileges (shipbuilding rights, ample freedom of movement in Istanbul, etc.) to avert Russian influence. These actions resulted in the empowerment of Greek trade. At the same time, the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789) and the subsequent weakening of French trade gave substantial commercial advantages to the Greeks, who benefited from the absence of the French in the Mediterranean. The Greeks will later benefit from the competition between France and Great Britain, which affected the trading abilities of the two countries, and from the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), trading with the blockaded ports.
Revolutionary movements are provoked in Central Greece, Crete and the Peloponnese by Russian agents and, in particular, brothers Theodoros and Alexios Orlov, in the context of the Russian-Turkish war 1768-1774. The main stage of the war is the Peloponnese, where the joined forces of Russians, Maniates, and armed men linked to the powerful Messinian Benaki family operated. The actions of George Papazolis, an officer of the Russian army of Greek origin, proved very important for the preparation of the uprise. Papazolis had organized a network of agents who moved on Greek soil and collected information. At the same time, since 1766, he spent some time in the Peloponnese trying to convince the local strongmen to join him in his actions. He finally found support in Kalamata, where he contacted Panagiotis Benakis and signed an agreement with local lords and priests such as P. Krevatas, I. Deligiannis, P. Zaimis, etc. At the same time, with Papazolis, other Russian envoys, such as Emmanuel Sarros, of Greek origin, traveled to various Greek regions trying to establish a network and examine the possibilities for a rebellion. Despite all this preparation, the project ended harshly, with the defeat and evacuation of thousands of Greeks, mainly to Russia. However, Russia would win the war, and the Ottoman Empire was forced to sign the Treaty of Kutsuk-Kainartzi (1774), which proved beneficial for the life and economic prosperity of the Orthodox inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire and especially the Greeks.
This Revolution became a war of independence of the American colonists from the British Empire. The trigger for the Revolution was Great Britain's imposition of taxes on the colonies because of the war with France. The colonists refused to pay them because they were not entitled to representation in the Parliament. The Americans had the help of military forces sent by the King of France and the alliance of the Spaniards and the Dutch. Among their leaders were the great politicians Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and General George Washington. During this groundbreaking Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were drafted. The principles of this Revolution greatly influenced the revolutions that followed (the French Revolution in 1789 and, of course, later the Greek Revolution of 1821).
Around the middle of the 18th century, there was a great increase of scholars who showed interest in Greece and compared ancient Greeks with contemporary Greeks. This interest was greatly influenced by artistic movements such as romanticism and classicism. The most well-known among the European scholars were Frenchmen Choiseul-Gouffier, Chateaubriand, Germans Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, the English poet Byron, etc. Some of them visited the Greek provinces of the Ottoman Empire and became fascinated by the Greek landscapes, which they described extensively. Meanwhile, they acknowledged with sympathy and sadness the dreadful state of the local population and pondered on the ideal of human greatness. The consequence of this movement was the increased interest in the fate of the Greek nation and the deliberation, at a European level, on its emancipation.
The monk Kosmas Aitolos was active during the 1760s and 1770s, mainly in Macedonia, Epirus and southern Albania. He was urging the congregations to remain committed to the Christian religion and to rely strongly on education, which he saw as the basis for the religious and moral revival and salvation of the Greeks. With that in mind, he established dozens of Greek schools. His sermons often had patriotic content, with references to the liberation of the Greek nation. This action was considered to promote nationalist ideas and to ignite the notion of a Christian revolution against the Pasha. At the same time, his speeches against injustice were perceived as a provocation for the overturn of the social regime. During the Orlov revolt, the Turks suspected that Kosmas Aitolos served the interests of the Russians. When his enemies slandered him to the authorities, he was convicted and executed in present-day Albania in August of 1779.
In the context of a new Russian-Turkish war (1787-1792), the Greek officer of the tsar, Lambros Katsonis, given permission by the commander Grigori Potemkin and in collaboration with the kleft Andreas Verousis (Captain Androutsos, father of Odysseus) operated a flotilla in the Aegean and the Ionian Sea, which overtook and destroyed Ottoman ships. In the summer of 1789, he had come to control the Cyclades, and he urged the elders of the islands not to pay taxes to the Sublime Porte. After his defeat at the naval battle of Kavodoro (May 1790), he renewed his forces and continued his struggle in the Aegean, even though with the Treaty of Iasi in 1792, he lost the support of the Russians. In 1794 he returned to Russia, resigned from his post as an officer of the army, and lived in Crimea until he died in 1804.
In 1789 a series of fights began between the Souliotes and Ali Pasha, the new Pasha of Ioannina, who had aspirations for a firmer grip on the area. The Community of Souliotes, who had developed into a powerful local center, hindered his plans. The experienced war-fighting Souliotes resisted vigorously during his first two expeditions, in 1789 and 1792, resulting in Pasha's defeat and the signing of a treaty. The help the Souliotes had from local pashas and beys who regarded Ali Pasha with hostility, played a particularly important role in the first victory. In the second attack, the wife of Lambros Tzavella, Mosho, who was in charge of the women of Souli, played a pivotal role. Despite his first defeats, in 1800, Ali Pasha attacked the Souliotes again, this time with a decree from the Sultan, and besieged Souli. The devastated Souliotes succumbed in 1803. They were forced to leave their villages and took refuge in the neighboring Ionian Islands.
The French Revolution was a violent revolution that deeply affected Europe and the entire world. Following the example of the American Revolution, the French revolutionaries drafted a Declaration and a Constitution. The Revolution was successful, and the various stages it went through included the period of Terrorism and the Directory. Eventually, the Revolution ended up being controlled by the Corsican general, Napoleon Bonaparte. He led the French troops to a military campaign in Egypt (1798), battled in Europe against the Austrians, Germans, Russians, and English. He was finally defeated in Waterloo, Belgium, by the English general Wellington, in 1815. The ideas of the French Revolution echoed among the Greek intellectuals and planted the seed of hope for the freedom of the nation. Such an intellectual was Rigas Velestinlis, whose revolutionary ideas and writings awakened and inspired the Greek nation.
In December of 1790, the brothers Markides Pouliou from Siatista published in Vienna the first surviving Greek Newspaper titled Newspaper. The Newspaper was published until 1797 when the Austrian authorities dismantled the printing press and arrested the publishers for printing the revolutionary writings of Riga Velestinlis, who was detained in Trieste that year. Greek press publications, such as the Newspaper, which circulated in Europe up until the Greek Revolution, gave voice to the Greek nation and its claims and were useful for the communication and bonding of the Greeks.
During a period of spectacular development in Greek education, Thessalonian scholars Daniel Filippidis and Gregorios Konstantas, printed in Vienna, their emblematic work, Geographia Neoteriki (Contemporary Geography) which included important information about Hellenism, with a political and historical perspective. It is a thorough attempt to describe innovatively, the regions of Greece as independent local entities in a historical context. At the same time, their work included religious, linguistic, and demographic observations. Geographia Neoteriki is a progressive piece of work of its time, which, in its pages, condemned social injustices and the economic exploitation of the land by the Ottoman Empire.
After the War of the First Coalition, the first widely coordinated effort to contain Napoleon's France, and the collapse of the Venetian Republic, France annexed the Ionian islands. So a short period of French rule began, which ended in 1799, while the Ionian State was recognized under Ottoman and Russian control the following year. During the French occupation, a democratic regime was instituted in the Ionian Islands governed by the French ideals of the Revolution, respect for the human rights of life, property, and religious freedom. Nevertheless, the authoritarianism and mishandlings of the French would eventually make them unpopular in the Ionian islands.
Rigas Velestinlis from Thessaly (1757-1798) emerged as the most influential revolutionary of the Balkans at the end of the 18th century. Within him, burned the flame for freedom and justice. Influenced by the French Revolution, disappointed by Russia's antics, and enthusiastic about Napoleon's personality, he hoped to liberate the Greeks and the other Balkan people from the yoke of the Sultan. After 1796, he based his operations in Vienna, where he published the Charter of Greece and the Constitution of the Hellenic Republic. He envisioned a multiethnic and tolerant Balkan political union, free from the Ottoman rule, in which the Greeks would play the central role. He was arrested by the Austrians, who handed him over to the Ottomans. They executed him in Belgrade in 1798.
Adamantios Korais, lived in Paris when he became involved in the publication of ancient Greek texts for the intellectual and cultural uplift of the Greek nation. In its emblematic "Greek Library," the works of the ancient Greek writers are supplemented by extensive comments and introductions "in the common language." It was a language that all Greeks could understand, a fact that made the fulfillment of Korais’ goals easier.
Following the Russo-Ottoman Alliance (January 1799) and the Ionian Islands' occupation by the Russian-Turkish fleet, the Republic of the United Ionian Islands was established with the Treaty of Constantinople (21 March 1800). The islands were under French rule until 1799. The Ionian Republic (Eptanissos Politeia) is the first semi-autonomous state on Greek land. Territorially it fell under the control of the Sultan, while religiously, it belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church. "Klephts" and Souliotes, defeated by Ali Pasha of Ioannina, took refuge in this state formation. The "Byzantine" Constitution, approved in Istanbul, made provisions for the state's federal status, the establishment of a Senate and Higher Council, and the reinstatement of privileges and titles of nobility by reestablishing the authority of local noble families. In 1807 the Republic would surrender to Napoleon's France, which caused a British operation to take control of the islands.
During this time, the number of Greek schools in the Balkans, the Aegean islands and the coasts of Asia Minor made Korais estimate that there is no city or town without a school. Some of these schools had imposing buildings, a library, and a physics and chemistry laboratory. Next to the science courses, which had become the focus of education, ancient writers, and ancient history are taught, while geography has also become a valuable lesson. The need to use the demotic language instead of the archaic language becomes prevalent, a conclusion favored by significant scholars such as Daniel Filippidis and Athanasios Christopoulos. The construction cost and the running of the schools were undertaken by Greek merchants of the diaspora, professional guilds, communities, while the Church played a supporting role. The most well-known schools were in Ioannina, Ambelakia, Chios, Bucharest, Iasi, Izmir, Kydonia (Aivali), Dimitsana, Zagora, Milia in Pelion, etc.
After the seize of Souli, Ali Pasha decided to destroy the Souliotes who had been forced by a treaty to leave their villages and withdraw to Zalongos. The surprise attack by the army of the Pasha led to a ferocious battle with many casualties on both sides. By taking a heroic decision, the women of Souli (Souliotisses) and their children, during a ceremonial dance, one by one, fell off the cliff choosing not to be captured alive by the Pasha. Their act caused great emotion in Greece and Europe.
In 1804 the Serbian Revolution erupted. It began as an uprise against the abuse of power by the janissaries. At that time, the Serbs had the Ottoman Empire on their side, but a clash soon occurred, and the Serbs demanded their independence. The Serbs, guided by their powerful leader Karageorgi Petrovic, were victorious against the Ottomans but were ultimately defeated when Russia abandoned them. In 1815, Milos Obrenovic took over Karageorgi's struggle. Under Obrenovic's guidance, the Serbs were gradually gaining more extensive autonomy. Serbia became independent in 1878. During their struggle, the Serbs had assistance and support from Greek fighters who run alongside them on the battlefields.
Muhammad Ali Pasha, aka Muhammad Ali, was noted as the head of an Albanian military unit in the Ottoman campaign against the French in Egypt. He acquired control of Egypt in a coup d' état and became a de facto ruler. He used the Greek Revolution to solidify his position and prepare his country, which he aimed to turn into a great power by European standards. The Sultan, believing that his involvement in the Greek Revolution would weaken him, in January 1824, asked Muhammad Pasha to take over the leadership of the war. Muhammad Ali accepted, hoping that he would obtain Crete and be able to build bridges with Europe.
When the new Russian-Turkish war (1806-1812) erupted, the armatoloi and klephts engaged in warfare against the Ottomans: Katsantonis and Kitsos Botsaris in Akarnania, the Lazaioi and Nikotsaras in Olympus, Thymios Blahavas in Thessaly. Nikotsaras also participated in sea raids in the Aegean and Macedonia. After the Russian-Turkish armistice (1807), their operations diminished.
In 1806 "Hellenic Nomarhia" (Greek Prefecture), the most important of the unsigned Greek revolutionary writings of the time, was printed in Italy and circulated among the Greeks, within and outside the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. The unknown author (possibly Athanasios Psalidas or Spyridon Spahos) signed as "Anonymous the Greek". The document, which was influenced by skepticism and the values of the French Revolution, articulated the principles of freedom and equality. It also mentioned the wealthy and well-educated Greeks, who could guide their countrymen toward the rebirth of the nation.
The Ottoman administration of the Peloponnese and the Greek elders and clergy, with the support of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, commonly decided the annihilation of the "klephts" of the Peloponnese in 1806. Initially, their help was demanded by the Ottomans to fight the Turkish-Albanian gangs who engaged in repeated looting. However, the "klephts" themselves engaged in looting, mainly of Christians, and this practice resulted in the pan-Peloponnesian decision to disband them. Theodoros Kolokotronis was rescued at the last moment by crossing over to the Ionian Islands.
In 1806, during the new Russian-Turkish war, Ali Pasha threatened to overtake Lefkada. The government of the Ionian Republic assigned the organizing of the island's defense to Ioannis Kapodistrias, who had previously completed his term as Secretary of the Republic. In 1807, Kapodistrias, Ignatios, Metropolitan Bishop of Artas, and military forces arrived in Lefkada. Kapodistrias called the chieftains of Central Greece and Epirus at Magemenos. Among those who responded were Katsantonis, Kitsos Botsaris, Tzavelas, Karaiskos, Nikotsaras, Anagnostaras, Varnakiotis, and many others, who collectively managed to defeat the Turks. This assembly had a significant meaning because it asserted the spirit of unity that dominated among the chieftains of mainland Greece.
In 1808 Sultan Mustafa IV was overthrown, and Mahmoud II ascended to the throne of the Sultan. The new Sultan associated his name with the Europeanization of the Ottoman Empire and used the Greek Revolution to promote reforms such as abolishing the elite army unit of the janissaries. However, his violent practices, especially during the Greek Revolution (see Hanging of the Patriarch, Chios massacre), resulted in disputes with the Great Vizier and the head of the Ulemas, who were dismissed by the Sultan. In the end, the massacres reinforced the determination of the Greeks, the national character of their Revolution, and the demand for Independence.
A secret society was established in Paris, aiming to prepare the conditions for political change for the Greek people. It was created by the Frenchman Choiseal Gouffier and Athanasios Tsakalov, who later founded "Filiki Etaireia" (Friendly Society.) The establishment of the Hotel can be considered as part of a trend of the time, which had the freemasons as a central point. This new type of secret organization was defined by its concealed nature, the ritualistic initiation process, and enforcing political activism among its members.
In 1811, the scholar, clergyman, and mapmaker from Thessaly, Anthimos Gazis, published in Vienna the emblematic magazine of the new Hellenism, Logios Hermes, with a literary and informative content. It is the first exclusively Greek literary magazine. The magazine continued to get published, although its circulation fluctuated, until 1821 and played a crucial role in Greek education. Magazines such as Logios Hermes intended to contribute to the spread of scientific knowledge, especially on Greek land, and highlight Greek educational issues.
European and Greek scholars and under the protection of Great Britain, founded in Athens the Society of Friends of the Muses or Philomoussos Etaireia, with its apparent purpose the spiritual progress of the Greeks and the protection of antiquities, but with its secret purpose, the Revolution. The work of the Philomoussos Etaireia was aided by the existence of significant enclaves of Greeks in various parts of the Balkans and the contribution of essential persons, both Greek, and non-Greek. For the same educational purposes and to balance English influence, Ioannis Kapodistrias founded, in the favorable tide of the times and with support by the Tsar, a society by the same name in Vienna, where the Austrian authorities closely monitored its activities. The two societies never merged, and the Athens Society was active until 1825.
A secret society, the "Society of Friends", was founded in Odesa, Russia's largest port in the Black Sea by Emmanuel Xanthos from Patmos, Athanasios Tsakalov from Giannena and Nikolaos Skoufas from Arta. Its goal was to liberate the Greeks from the Ottoman rule. Like the masonic societies of the time, it had a concealed nature, ritualistic initiation procedures, complex internal hierarchy, and strict regulations for self-protection. In 1818 the society's headquarters were transferred to Istanbul. Emmanuel Xanthos offered the leadership of the society to the Minister of the Russian Tsar Ioannis Kapodistrias, but he declined it. Finally, in 1820, the Tsar's aide, Alexandros Ypsilantis, a descendant of one of the most influential Phanariot families, took over the society's leadership. He was the person who declared the beginning of the Revolution in February 1821 with the crossing of the Prut river.
The Vienna Congress is concluded and the Holy Alliance is established
In 1807, the Republic of the Ionian Islands was ceded to Napoleon. At the Vienna Congress, it was decided that the Ionian Islands would become an independent state under the protection of Great Britain. So, the United States of the Ionian Islands was created, a federation of islands, but in fact an English protectorate. Thomas Maitland took command of the islands.
Michail Soutzos, a descendant of the great Phanariot family, rose to the post of Prince of Moldova in 1819. A member of the Friendly Society, Soutzos, played a crucial role in the Revolution that was about to begin in Moldova. He was forced to leave his seat in 1821 when he was declared downfallen because of his involvement in the Revolution. During the same year, he was excommunicated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, together with Alexandros Ypsilantis. During the Revolution he contributed financially to the Greek struggle.
After it was revealed that Ali Pasha's Albanians attempted to assassinate Ismail Pasobeis, the leader of the Sultan's army, the Sultan ordered Ali Pasha's removal from Ioannina. To win back the Sultan's favor, the latter revealed to him the existence of the Friendly Society and the plans of the Greeks to revolt, but even so, he failed to annul the Sultan's order. Ali Pasha refused to obey the order and abandon his pashalik, so the Sublime Porte began to gather an army force against him. Ali Pasha's mutiny gave the Souliotes the right to return to their villages, from which they had been exiled, since the Sultan gave this option to those who had been expelled or wronged by the Pasha in an effort to undermine his influence on Epirus. The Souliotes were even encouraged by Pasobeis to liberate their villages from Ali. However, the Turk-Albanians of the Sultan’s guard, who took part in the occupation of the villages of the Souliotes, planned their annihilation and allied themselves with Ali Pasha and his faithful Turk-Albanians (January 1821). Finally, in January 1822, Ali was defeated and killed on the island of the Lake of Ioannina.
Alexandros Ypsilantis, as leader of the Friendly Society, set off from Russia, crossed the River Prut (the Russian border with the hegemony of Moldova, at the time) and arrived in Moldova, where he was welcomed by Michael Soutzos, ruler of Moldova and an initiate of the Friendly Society. The two men, along with some 2,000 fighters, arrived in Iasi (the capital of Moldova) on February 22, 1821. Two days later, Ypsilantis handed out the revolutionary proclamation "Fight for faith and country", in which he asked the Greeks to revolt. Therefore, these acts marked the official inauguration of the Revolution in the Hegemonies (Dominions) around the Danube.
Athanasios Diakos (real name: Athanasios Grammatikos) was the central figure in the detonation and development of the Revolution in Eastern Central Greece, accomplishing many successful attacks against the Ottomans in the region. Specifically, he had managed to seize Livadia, Thebes, and Atalanti. At the Battle of Alamana (April 23, 1821), Diakos and a few men tried to resist Kiose Mehmet and Omer Vryonis, who were instructed to suppress the Revolution in Roumeli, and then move to the Peloponnese. After fighting a heroic battle, Diakos was wounded and got arrested. On the next day, he was transferred to Lamia, where he refused to collaborate with the Ottomans. So, the Ottomans decided an exemplary punishment for him, death by impalement.
Since October of 1822, and after the devastating defeat at Peta (July 1822), Messolonghi had been blocked both from land (by Omer Vryonis and Kutahi, who commanded 11,000 men) and from the sea (by Yusuf Pasha). The besieged people of Messolonghi were in a grave situation because of the lack of necessary provisions. On the other hand, the Ottomans lost valuable time in lengthy negotiations toward a compromise, initiated by Alexandros Mavrokordatos and Markos Botsaris, who were defending the city. During this time, Andreas Miaoulis broke the naval blockade and supplied Messolonghi with provisions, ammunition, and 1,000 men. The Ottomans' raid against the besieged city, which took place on the night of the 24th to December 25, had leaked to the Greek side, so the fighters were on full alert. The Ottomans were completely destroyed, and finally, on December 31, they lifted the siege.
After the fall of Tripolitsa, the Revolution became established. Dimitrios Ypsilantis called a National Assembly, which met in Piada, near Ancient Epidaurus, on December 20, 1821, in frenzied excitement. It was then that the Revolution was organized within a legal framework, i.e., the de facto status became a state. On January 1, 1822, the National Assembly voted for a Constitution which adopted the representative system and the separation of powers, and took the title "The Provisional Regime of Greece". This Constitution was partially implemented in the vortex of the Revolution, but it set the political and ideological identity of Rebirth (Paliggenesia.)
The ruling classes of Chios, which excelled in trade, were very privileged, and therefore, very hesitant to participate in the uprising. On March 10, however, revolutionary forces landed on the island of Chios under Antonios Bournias and Lykourgos Logothetis, who managed to rouse the locals (mainly the inhabitants of the countryside). The Sultan was outraged by the "ungratefulness" of the people of Chios, to whom he had granted many privileges. On March 30, 1822, the Turkish fleet led by Kara Ali arrived to Chios. After a ruthless bombardment, 7,000 men landed on the island. The ill-conceived Greek uprising was quickly suppressed, as Logothetis and the Samians left the island. The whole island was torched, and a terrible massacre followed. Tens of thousands of Christians were captured and slaughtered. The incident horrified Europe.
At the beginning of July of 1822, the Struggle was in great danger, due to the advancement into the Peloponnese of strong Turkish forces, under the command of Mahmoud Pasha, better known as Dramalis. He intended to occupy Tripolitsa and suppress the Revolution. The Greeks panicked. However, Theodoros Kolokotronis quickly reacted with drastic measures and managed to contain the enemy troops in Argolida, blocking their way to Tripolitsa. Dramalis found himself in a challenging situation due to the lack of food and wanted to retreat to Corinth. But Kolokotronis swiftly occupied the narrow crossings leading from Argos to Corinth. Thus, on July 26, 1822, the Turks suffered a devastating defeat, losing over 3,000 men. It was one of the most pivotal battles of the Revolution, one which allowed the tactical genius of Theodoros Kolokotronis to shine. Along with him, Ypsilantis, Papaflessas and Nikitas Stamatelopoulos also dominated in the battle.
At the beginning of the Greek Revolution, British politics were particularly hostile to it. In August of 1822, however, George Canning was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs of England. This event signified a shift in English politics in favor of the Greek issue.
To avenge the massacre of Chios, 64 ships from Hydra, Psara, and Spetses gathered in Psara at the end of April and formed a fleet, which waited for an opportunity to attack. After some unsuccessful attempts, finally, on the night of the 6th to June 7, an opportunity arose: while Turkish officers had gathered on the flagship of the Turkish armada to celebrate the end of Ramadan, Psarian Konstantinos Kanaris managed to attach his fireship to the flagship, which became engulfed in flames. Some 2,000 men on board, including Kara Ali, the perpetrator of the Chios massacre, were killed.
On July 4, 1822, in the village of Peta, five kilometers east of Arta, some 2,000 Greek and Philhellene fighters were defeated by a force of about 8,000 Turks and Albanians. It was one of the most massive Greek defeats during the Struggle.
The first civil war of the Revolution took place in the Peloponnese between the fall of 1823 and July 1824. On the one hand fought the "pro-Government," i.e., the Hydreans and the elders of the northwest Peloponnese (Zaimis, Londos) and on the other fought the "Anti-Government", i.e., notable elders and militants of the Peloponnese, under Kolokotronis. Each opposing group created its government, with headquarters in Kranidi and Tripolitsa, respectively. In February and March of 1824, there were fierce battles, at which the "pro-Government" dominated. After negotiations, they agreed to end hostilities on May 22, 1824. Theodoros Kolokotronis agreed to the government of G. Kountouriotis, which in July granted amnesty to its opponents.
The Vouleftiko (Congressional) meets at Astros on March 29, 1823, and revises the Constitution of Epidaurus legislatively and fundamentally. The Constitution now includes increased power and broader protection of individual rights. The fact that it constitutes a revision of the Constitution of Epidaurus is responsible for its name, "Law of Epidaurus".
In March of 1823, the British government recognized the Greek people as a people fighting a war. It is was a de facto recognition of the Greek Revolution.
In March of 1824, the Sultan sought Mehmet Ali of Egypt's help to suppress the Revolution
In the second phase of the civil conflict (July 1824 – January 1825), the two opposing sides differed from those of the first phase. One side included the prominent elders and militants of the Peloponnese (Kolokotronis, Deligiannis, Zaimis, Londos). The other one the islanders (mainly Hydreans), who allied with the expert in warfare Roumeliotes in an attempt to prevail. The second group (Kountouriotis) used the British loan money to pay the chieftains of Roumeli (Karaiskakis, Gouras, Makryiannis, Souliotes), who overwhelmed the Peloponnesians, committing indescribable destruction and looting. Panos Kolokotronis was murdered, and his devastated father, Theodoros, retired to Vytina. Eventually, the "pro-Government" winners exhibited, once again, compassion toward the losers. Ibrahim's landing forced them to grant a second amnesty and urge the return of Theodoros Kolokotronis as the General-in-Chief of the Greek army.
Under Ibrahim Pasha, the Egyptian fleet, right after the suppression of the Revolution in Crete, headed to Kassos, which, in addition to its strategic position and dominance as a commercial and naval force, had assisted the struggle of Crete. On May 27, the Egyptians, under Hussein Bay, approached Kassos. On the night of 28th to May 29, they staged fake disembarkation on one of the coasts of the island, while at the same time, another 30 boats landed unnoticed in a remote location. The tenacious resistance of the Kassians was doomed, as the enemy forces were continuously reinforced. Eventually, about 2,000 Kassians were killed, while many more women and children were captured.
The English poet George Gordon Byron was one of the most passionate philhellenes. Since the beginning of the Greek Revolution, he wanted to contribute to its success. So, in 1823 he became a member of the "London Philhellenic Committee," and, the same year, he arrived in Argostoli. Since then, he helped the Revolution significantly, giving the rebels not only supplies sent from London but also money from his personal fortune. In early 1824 he moved to Messolonghi, where he contributed his money to the army's organization and the city's fortification. In April 1824, however, Lord Byron fell ill, and on the 19th, he passed away at the age of 36. After the funeral in Messolonghi, his body was transported to London.
On February 9, 1824, a Greek delegation by Ioannis Orlandos and Andreas Louriotis, agreed on a loan of 800,000 pounds with the House of Loughnan. The terms of the loan were particularly unfavorable for Greece. In particular, the amount granted was set at 59% of the nominal (472,000 pounds). The interest was 5% on the nominal value, the commission was 3%, the premiums were 1.5%, and the repayment period was set at 36 years. All public property and proceeds were signed as collateral to the lenders. At the end of all this, the amount received by the revolutionary administration was a mere £298,000. Although overburdened, the loan was considered a great political success for Greece. However, it was disappointingly misused. Most of it was spent on the civil war, rather than on the fight against the Ottomans.
Psara was the third most powerful naval force in Greece, after Hydra and Spetses, and the birthplace of great fire starters, which severely damaged the Turkish fleet. The Ottoman fleet, under Hüsrev Mehmed Pasha, landed in Psara on June 20, 1824. The defense of the people of Psara was not well organized, so the island fell relatively quickly. Massive destruction and massacres followed. Out of the 30,000 inhabitants, 18,000 were killed or captured.
In July of 1825, Konstantinos Kanaris decided to burn the Egyptian fleet in retaliation for Ibrahim's multiple successes in the Peloponnese. A Hydrean small fleet of three fire ships and two larger ships arrived at Alexandria's port on July 29. The three firemen did not communicate properly, and Kanaris boldly attempted to act alone. However, the sea's stillness made his efforts difficult, and the precious time that had been lost led to the Egyptians noticing him. His fire ship didn't find its target, and, in the particularly dangerous escape operation, members of his crew were killed and wounded. The incident caused the admiration of Konstantinos Kanaris by the Europeans.
Odysseas Androutsos, ever since the beginning of the Revolution, contributed immensely to it. However, being a particularly powerful and well-liked leader to the Greek people, he had generated many personal enemies. Based on various incidents, his enemies accused him of treason against the homeland. Eventually, Androutsos surrendered to Yiannis Gouras (who was once in his entourage). Gouras promised him that he would be sent to the Peloponnese to have a fair trial. But he did not keep his promise and imprisoned him in the Acropolis. He ordered Androutsos' execution on June 5, 1825. At first, his death was presented as an accident during the prisoner's alleged attempt to escape. But the truth soon surfaced. Androutsos was the last victim of the civil conflict.
Ibrahim rushed his landing in the Peloponnese when he became informed of the civil war raging in the area. In February of 1825, he landed in Methoni. By the end of April, he had captured the castles of Koroni and Pylos. In June of the same year, he captured and destroyed Tripolitsa. He continued toward Argos and Nafplio, but was stopped by Makrigiannis and Ypsilantis, with a significant victory in the Mills in Argolida. In November of 1825, Ibrahim moved his army to Messolonghi to assist to the siege of the city by Kütahı.
On December 28, 1825, the English ambassador to Istanbul Stratford Canning landed in Hydra, having previously passed through Geneva, where he visited Ioannis Kapodistrias. In Hydra, he met with Andreas Miaoulis, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, and Konstantinos Zografos. He discussed with them the informal mediation of England in the resolution of the Greek issue. Canning stressed that, given the Ottomans' successes in collaboration with Mehmet Ali, a form of autonomy of Greece, such as that of the Hegemonies of the Danube Valley or Raguza, would be a solid basis for negotiation with the High Gate. But the Greek side decisively stated that it insists on Greece's independence at all costs and suggested the River Axios in Macedonia as the country's northern border.
At the beginning of the summer of 1825, the Greeks were in despair due to Ibrahim's repeated successes against the Greek troops. Towards the end of July, the fighter Christophoros Zachariadis went from Zakynthos to Lagadia, where he met the leaders of the Peloponnesians and provided them with a draft act, by which the Greeks allotted "the freedom, national independence and political existence" of the nation "in the absolute defense of Great Britain". This plan had previously been discussed by the Peloponnesians but had not been confirmed. However, in the current circumstances, the leaders (Th. Kolokotronis, A. Miaoulis, A. Zaimis, etc.) considered an external aid as the only rescue, and they signed the document on July 24. The petition for protection was also approved and signed on July 24 by Members of Parliament and almost all executive board members. However, the British government refused the appeal, as it would cause a great deal of turmoil in the European political scene.
At the beginning of 1825, the Revolution was in great danger due to Ibrahim's numerous successes in the Peloponnese and the imprisonment of leading figures of the Peloponnese, such as Theodoros Kolokotronis. Papaflessas, who was particularly concerned about the course of the struggle, in mid-May occupied the eastern side of Mount Mala, in Maniaki, Messinia. Ibrahim moved quickly against him with 6,000 infantry and cavalry. Papaflessas was able to line up just 1,300 men. On May 19, facing the Egyptian troops, several terrified Greeks refused to fight. In the end, the Greek side included barely 600 men. The battle began on the morning of May 20, 1825, and lasted about eight hours. Despite the few Greeks' brave efforts to defend themselves, their resistance collapsed quickly because their opponents enormously outnumbered them. Almost all the Greeks were killed, among them Papaflessas himself. When reinforcements arrived, it was too late. Ibrahim finalized the occupation of Messinia, with Kalamata's burning, and then attacked Tripolitsa, which he occupied on June 11, 1825.
On January 26, 1825, Greece (with Ioannis Orlandos and Andreas Louriotis as the negotiators) took out a second loan. The loan's nominal value was £2,000,000, but the amount released was set at 55% of the nominal value (£816,000), with £284,000 held as a two-year interest deposit, repayment, commission, and other costs. The management of the second loan was taken over by English bankers and the London Philhellenic Committee members. A huge percentage was allocated to the refinancing of the first loan, for the purchase of weapons and firearms, of which few arrived in Greece, for the order of 6 steam-powered ships, of which only three arrived in Greece and for the construction of two frigates in New York shipyards, of which only one arrived in Greece. This way, the amount of money from the loan that reached Greece at the end barely exceeded 232,000 pounds, i.e., about 1/9 of the original loan. Regardless, this amount, on the one hand, strengthened the Greek army, to a certain extent, especially the navy, and on the other hand managed to establish that the Greek interests were common with those of the English banks since a possible collapse of the Greek front would lead to the loss of their money.
Three years after the failed attempt of Kütahı and Omer Vryonis to occupy Messolonghi (1822), the Ottomans returned with a new venture. The Sultan imposed the feat to Kütahı, this time in collaboration with Ibrahim's expedition in the Peloponnese. Kütahı arrived in Messolonghi on April 15, 1825, leading a compelling body of 20,000 men and immediately established the city's siege.
The infantry of the Janissaries, one of the Ottoman Empire's foremost institutions in the 19th century, had now fallen into decline and corruption. It developed into a corps of civil servants who did perform the job assigned to them, resulting in the Empire paying for a non-existent army and forced to hire mercenaries. As part of his plan of reforms and, also, taking advantage of the events of the Greek Revolution, Sultan Mahmoud II also made changes to the army, trying to modernize it and bringing in Europeans for its training. But these changes triggered the rebellion of the Janissaries, who had been fighting for years hard against Mahmoud. The Sultan took the opportunity to rid himself of them, crushing the rebellion and exterminating the rebels (early June), resulting in the purge of the internal political ground. The massacre of the Janissaries became known as the "Happy Event"
After a year of siege and six particularly harsh months for the besieged, Messolonghi could no longer hold. Vasiladi, Aitoliko, and Dolmas had fallen, and the situation inside the city worsens. The Messolonghites refuse to surrender and wait until the last minute for the Greek fleet. But spiritual and physical exhaustion, lack of food, indescribable hunger, and the fleet delay bring the inhabitants to their limits. On April 10, they decided to attempt an exodus. The Messolonghites organize into three groups led by Makris, Notis Botsaris, Rajikotsikas, and Mitros Deligiorgis, while they have arranged with the camp of Dervekista to create a diversion to the Turks. But their plan was revealed, and the Turks were not taken by surprise. The exit was crushed, and few survived, while most women and children were arrested and sold as slaves. The exodus of Messolonghi is a vital moment in the history of the Revolution, not only because of the defeat of the Greeks and the losses they suffered. Above all, because it initiated the resurrection of Philhellenism and gave the Greeks a sense of moral justification.
Following the rise of Tsar Nicholas I to the Russian throne (December 1825) and after discussions with the English envoy Duke Wellington, the Protocol of Petersburg was signed on 23 March/4 April between the two countries. This is the first diplomatic document that acknowledges Greece's political existence and assigns the two forces as mediators for the creation of a Greek state, autonomous and tax-subject to the Sultan.
The need to address the hostile threat and the acceptance of English mediation between the Greeks and the Turks led to organizing the Third National Assembly in Epidaurus. Its works began on April 6, but the fall of Messolonghi led to its postponement until September of 1826. The Assembly authorized England's ambassador to Istanbul to negotiate with the High Gate the Greek issue. Simultaneously, some of the measures taken were the enactment of a loan for the needs of the fleet, the endorsement of the English loans, and the selling of public lands. Also, the Assembly removed the civil rights of Dimitrios Ypsilantis, who opposed the mediation of England.