March 25 Greek Independece Day 189th Anniversary - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 26/Mar/2010

On March 25 Greece is celebrating the 189th anniversary since the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1821) that led to the establishment of the modern Greek state.

The revolt, instigated by the secret society "Philiki Etaeria", broke out first in Moldavia and by March 1821 had spread from the Peloponnese to Macedonia and the Aegean islands. After years of battles and negotiations, Greece was finally recognised as an independent nation in May 1832.

The Power of the Navy
During the uprising, shipping contributed to its success and later became the backbone of the newly independent state’s economy.

At the beginning of the war, the Hellenic naval forces consisted of 300 well-armed merchant ships mainly from the islands of Hydra, Spetses and Psara. Thanks to the crews' experience and the flexibility of the ships, they managed to obstruct the Ottoman fleet in the Aegean, despite the fact that they were not proper warships.

An interesting point was the structure of the fleet which resembled that of the irregular land formations (armatoloi – klephts) as there was no supreme commander.

Each island elected a vice-admiral and an admiral for each specific operation. Usually, an elected admiral came from a rich, prominent family, but the chief of each operation –which were local and small in scale- was considered as first among equals, a principle that was applied not only to the fleet of an island but to the structure of each ship.

The Ottoman fleet sustained grave damages by the use of a naval tactic, namely, the fire ships: a ship loaded with explosives was attached to enemy ships, set on fire and sunk with them, restricting thus, the movements of the Ottoman fleet. One such incident was the destruction of the Ottoman flagship of Chios Island in July 1822, by Konstantinos Kanaris.

Financially, the ships’ maintenance and the payment of their crews were sustained through trade and pirate activities, a practice that gradually came to an end with the creation of the modern Greek state.

Secretariat General of Information: About Greece – History ; Foundation of the Hellenic World- The Formation of the Hellenic State

[Photo: Greece on the ruins of Messolonghi, painting by Eugène Delacroix, 1826]



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