5 Things You May Not Know About Greek Independence Day

The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution of 1821 or the Greek Revolution was a successful war of independence by Greek revolutionaries against the 400 year oppression from the Ottoman Empire. The war lasted from 1821 to 1829. Britain, France, and Russia later backed the Greeks, while their North African vassals, particularly Egypt’s eyalet, aided the Ottoman Empire. The war resulted in the establishment of modern Greece. On March 25, Greeks all across the world commemorate the revolution as Greek Independence Day.

Greek Independence Day is the biggest national holiday for Greeks in Greece and around the world. This year marks the 200 year bicentennial celebration 1821-2021. On March 25th, we commemorate the beginning of the Greek Independence War in 1821. It falls on the same day as the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation to the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would bear God’s son.

Five Things about the Greek War of Independence of 1821:
1.The war actually lasted for 8 years from 1821 to 1829.
2.The Greek revolution finally came to an end in 1829.
3.Britain, France, and Russia later backed the Greeks, while Egypt aided the Ottoman Empire.

4.The 9 stripes on the Greek flag represent the 9 syllables of “E-le-fthe-ri-a-h-tha-na-tos” meaning “Freedom or Death” in Greek.
5.Theodoros Kolokotronis was the Greek General that was one of the most important figures in the independence of Greece, yet he was later put in jail.

Greece had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire since 1453. On March 25, 1821, Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the revolution flag over the Monastery of Agia Lavra in the Peloponnese, sparking the Greek revolt from Turkish rule. The revolutionary cry “Freedom or death” became the Greek revolution’s motto and the 9 stripes on the Greek flag represent the 9 syllables of “E-le-fthe-ri-a-h-tha-na-tos” meaning freedom or death in Greek.

Theodoros Kolokotronis was a Greek general who led the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire from 1821 until 1829. The defeat of the Ottoman army under Mahmud Dramali Pasha in the Battle of Dervenakia in 1822 was Kolokotronis’ biggest victory. He was named commander-in-chief of the Greek army in the Peloponnese in 1825. Kolokotronis is now regarded as one of the most important figures in Greece’s War of Independence.

The Greeks had early victories on the battlefield, including the capture of Athens in June 1822, but infighting ensued. Athens and most of the Greek islands had been recaptured by the Turks by 1827. Great Britain, France, and Russia intervened in the conflict just as the revolution appeared to be on the brink of failure.
The struggle of the Greeks had attracted widespread sympathy in Europe, and many prominent intellectuals, including English Poet Lord Byron, had supported the Greek cause. The combined British, French, and Russian forces defeated an Ottoman-Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino.

The Greek revolution finally came to an end in 1829 when the Treaty of Edirne established an independent Greek state. 

 

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