Greek War of Independence



Genocide of Kasos, Psara

The Greek government, from the time that it took office, had been desperately short of money. There were contributions from abroad, taxes and duties imposed, but all these were far too little to finance a country at war. The only way of raising sums to continue the war was through commercial loans from abroad. And the best possible place to raise a loan of the size needed by the Greeks was London. On 14 January 1824, the Greek deputies Andreas Louriotis and Ioannes Orlandos reached London and on 9 February they signed the loan agreement with the bankers Loughman and O'Brien. The amount was 800000 pounds but only 280000 were actually given to Greeks. The total interest was 520000 pounds plus the 8.5% on the nominal value, which was a huge sum for those people who fought for a decent life. Finally the loan money arrived in Navplion, in July, but unfortunately they were used by the government more to harm the political opponents, than to equip the troops with the proper means to fight the enemy. The first civil war had just ended and the government which was controlled by Mavrokordatos, Kolettis and Georgios Koundouriotis, had its seat in Navplion. Their first thought was to buy some secondary military captains, to ensure the loyalty of their troops and to use them against Kolokotronis and Androutsos. They ignored the Ottoman and the Egyptian fleets which had started a new naval campaign in the Aegean Sea, with main objective to crash the islands of Kasos and Psara. According to Psarian Konstantinos Nikodimos, the government had sent a false message to Psara saying the the Greek fleet had already sailed to help the Psarians face the enemy fleet. The document was signed by Georgios Koundouriotis, Panagiotis Mpotasis, Ioannis Kolettis and Anagnostis Spiliotakis and no Greek fleet had sailed to help the islands of Psara and Kasos from the holocaust that would follow.

By the beginning of 1824 the Ottomans had achieved virtually nothing in three years of warfare, and Sultan decided to change strategy. He asked the help of the powerful pasha of Egypt, Mehmet Ali. Mehmet Ali had imposed reforms which had transformed the country. His main innovation was the creation of modern army and navy. He achieved that by bringing in Egypt hundreds of French officers and experts who set up military schools and opened military factories. Therefore, Sultan Mahmut asked his ally to bring Egyptian forces to Peloponnese, crash the revolution, transfer all the christians in Egypt and colonize the Greek lands with musulmans from Africa. All the conquered lands where to stay under Mehmet's authority. The general who took charge of this attempt was the son of Mehmet, Ibrahim Pasha. Egyptians had already crushed the rebellion in Crete, and the next objective was the destruction of the island of Kasos, fifty miles north of Crete. The Kasian ships had been of great help for the Cretan revolutionaries, and Kasos was a strong naval force. On 27 May 1824, a huge egyptian naval force, under Ismael Givraltar, reached Kasos. Among the enemy forces, there were 4000 veteran Albanian soldiers and the general commander was Husein Bey. The Greek government was long ago informed for the military preparations of Egypt, by the Italian agent A. Giusti, but her only preoccupation, was to exterminate the political opponents, the rebels, as she used to call them. Kasos was left alone. After two days of fight, enemy forces landed to the island and greek forces were overran. Then started the massacre of the population. The orders were 'All the male over eight years old are to be slaughtered, and the women and children are to be sold'. The legend says about a brave Kasian captain Markos Malliarakis, who him alone killed over thirty Turks. When he was captured, and taken to Husein Bey, he managed to take the knife of a guard, kill some Turks, before himself was killed. Those events took place in Kasos, on May, while the greek fleet under Georgios Sahtouris, was sent by the governement on 21 June, just to observe the destruction. Sahtouris didn't receive any order by Kolettis and Koundouriotis to sail to Psara to help them against the imminent danger.

Psarian admiral Nikolis Apostolis The next step was the elimination of Psara. The Ottoman fleet of 80 ships, under admiral Hosref, reached Psara island on 20 June 1824. 14000 troops landed on the island and managed to defeat the small in number greek forces. It was said that the Macedon captain Kottas was bribed and had left his position. 150 Psarian fighters were surrounded in the castle of the city and when Turks entered in the castle, Antonios Vratsanos, set fire to the gunpowder and a huge explosion killed both defenders and invaders.

Ston Psaron tin olomavri rahi
perpatontas i doksa monahi
meleta ta lampra pallikaria
kai stin komi stefani forei
ginomeno apo liga hortaria
pou eihan meinei stin erimi gi

The scenes that followed, one who knows the turkish practices can imagine. Turks were butchering indiscriminately all who came in their way. The streets were strewed with the dead bodies of old men, women and children. The French captain of Isis Vilneve, reported that the water around his ship was full of bodies of women and children. The population of Psara before the invasion was 7500 Psarians, 25000 refugees, who had arrived mainly of Minor Asia and 1000 Macedonian soldiers. Most of them were savagely massacred. Hosref kept the turkish custom to pay for every christian head that was carried to his ship. According to historian Spuridon Trikoupis when the English captain York, asked from the Turkish admiral to see a Greek archimandrite who had been friend of him, Hosref ordered a jenissar to bring the Greek prisoner. The jenissar brought a cut head, which was dripping with fresh blood. Hosref smiled and said: 'Here is your friend'. Some Psarian escaped with small boats and some were rescued by French warships.

At Psara the Greek fleet (34 Hydrean, 13 Spetsian and 9 Psarian ships) under the command of Andreas Miaoulis and Sahtouris, arrived too late to be any help. Hosref remained one month in Lesvos inactive and did proceed to destroy Samos, which was the next target. This delay saved the island. On 30 July, the Greek fleet under Yeorgios Sahtouris, arrived in Samos to protect the island. The Turkish fleet tried three times to break the blockade and attack the island but failed. The brave bourlotieris Konstantinos Kanaris, with his fireboat burnt a Turkish fregate of 54 cannons, while Vatikiotis burnt a tunesian ship of 20 cannons and Dimitrios Rafalias with Lekas Matrozis burnt another fregate. 1000 enemy sailors were killed and the enemy fleet retreated. Samos was saved.

Sahtouris fighting at cape Yerondas The Turkish kapitan pasha withdrew to Alicarnassus to join forces with the Egyptian fleet awaited from Alexandria. The Egyptian fleet was a huge armada and comprised 54 fighting ships and more than 300 transport vessels carrying 14000 infantry, 2000 cavalry, 500 gunners, 150 cannons and many European officers. When the fleet had left the port of Alexandria on 7 July 1824, the french consul had said: 'Greece will be lost within six months.' In command was the son of Mehmet Ali Ibrahim Pasha, and subordinate to him was Ismael Givraltar and Hussein Bey. The two enemy fleets were joined Alicarnassus and comprised of 50000 sailors and soldiers. The Greek fleet under the command of Miaoulis reached Patmos and comprised 70 small fighting ships with a total 800 cannons. The naval battle that followed was the most important of the revolution and continued for several days. On 28 August 1824, some Greek ships stayed motionless because of the wind stillness and were surrounded by the Egyptian fleet at cape Yerondas, while the rest Greek fleet was hindered to help by the Turkish ships. In those Greek ships were the best sailors: Andreas Miaoulis, George Sahtouris, the Spetsian admiral Androutsos, Ioannis Kuriakos, Antonios Kriezis, Manuel Tompazis, Anastasios Tsamados and Anargyros Lempesis. The danger was approaching when Miaoulis had the idea of tugging the ships with the boats until they were out of the cape of Yerondas. Then blew a strong wind which was favorable for the Greeks and the fleet was saved. Then it was time for the bourlota the Greek fireships which were commanded by Matrozos, Vatikiotis, Lazaros Mousous, Theoharis. They burnt an Egyptian and a Tunesian fregate killing about 1000 enemies. The enemy fleet retreated. Hosref returned through Ellispontos to Constantinople and Ibrahim reached the port of Suda in Crete where he hanged a ship-captain for inefficiency. Ibrahim Pasha had failed to invade Peloponnese this year.

Together with the naval campaign the Sultan organised another campaign through East Roumeli in 1824. He appointed General Commander Dervis Pasha who replaced the ruthless Abdul Abud. Dervis Pasha had under his orders Jusuf Pasha Perkoftsali and Abat Pasha and organised a force of 15000 men. The main army reached Gravia and Dervis Pasha ordered Omer Vrionis to invade West Roumeli and Omer Pasha of Karystos to invade Attica. But Greeks under Panourgias, Georgakis Drakos, Giotis Daglis, Diamantis Zervas, Panagiotis Notaras and Perraivos had fortified the village of Ampliani, near Salona, modern Amfissa. On 13 July 1824, Turks attacked but were three times driven back and in the night they withdrew to Gravia. Omer Pasha of Karystos attacked Attica, the area around Athens, but was repelled by Gouras, who was appointed by government, as commander of the castle of Acropolis, replacing Androutsos. Odysseas Androutsos who had organised the defence of Acropolis and had spent his own money for its defence was thrown away by the government (Koletis, Mavrokordatos, Georgios Koundouriotis) who detested his as well as detested Theodoros Kolokotronis, the best military commanders of Greeks. The campaign through land failed again and Sultan Mahmud blamed Dervis Pasha for this failure and had him hanged.

By the time the first civil war ended in summer of 1824, the government had lost the support of the Peloponnesian captains, Andreas Zaimis and Andreas Londos. The government tried to marginalise them, and in July despatched to the siege of Patras, a force led by Londos and Panos Kolokotronis. The government's opponents called repeatedly for a new national assembly, to revise the constitution but their appeals got nowhere. Instead the electors assembled in Navplion, October 1824, and elected again the same persons to control the government: Koundouriotis Georgios, Mavrokordatos Alexandros, Mpotasis Panagiotis, Spiliotakis Anagnostis and Koletis Ioannis. The new government had now the english loan, to ensure the loyalty of its own troops and to bribe secondary military captains. One was Gouras, who was Odysseas's protopallikaro, his most confident companion. He was payed by Koletis to abandon Odysseas and became commander of Athens. His attitude to the civilians was terrible, according to Makrigiannis and he had become a very rich person.

The second civil war broke when the people of Arkadhia, modern Kyparissia, a town east of Kalamata, refused to pay the taxes. The Ektelestikon sent a force of 500 soldiers lead by Makrigiannis and Papaflessas. The anti-governmental forces or antartes -rebels as they were called by the government defended Kyparissia and Makrigiannis with Papaflessas returned to Navplion. The rebels who were lead by Theodoros Kolokotronis, Sisinis, Londos, Zaimis, Notaras and Nikitaras attacked the castles of Tripolis, Navplion and Akrokorinthos. But in 13 November 1824, Theodoros' son, Panos Kolokotronis was murdered and his death devastated his father who lost heart to continue the struggle. The government now took steps to bring in more troops from Roumeli to crush the rebels completely. Koletis offered to the Roumeliot captains money from the english loan and the plunder of Moreas. Gouras would be the general commander. In December 1824, Roumeliot troops under Gouras, Karaiskakis, Karatasos and Kitsos Tzavelas invaded Peloponnese. The rebels were defeated in the villages and mountains and their properties were pillaged by the Roumeliots. Zaimis and Londos fled to Mesologhi and their houses were burnt. Gouras was the most brutal and tortured many Peloponnesians in order to to hand him their treasures. All classes were robed without distinction and not only the rich properties. Makriyannis was appaled by the pillaging and he himself beat up four of his men for their behavior. The antartes surrendered, in 2 February 1825 they were shipped to Hydra and were imprisoned in the fortified monastery of Prophet Ilias. The prisoners were Kolokotronis, Deligiannis' brothers, Ioannis Notaras, Theodoros Grivas, Papatsonis, old Sisinis and his son Chrysanthos. The governement's victory was complete. Soon Koletis would continue his dirty work by eliminating Odysseas Androutsos, the only opponent who was still free.

Odysseas Androutsos was tortured and murdered by Gouras and Koletis Odysseas Androutsos had all the qualities needed for a succesful military leader of Greek revolutionaries: courage, intelligence, efficiency. He defeated Turks in May 1821 at Gravia and his troops crashed enemy at Vasilika the same year, but little military success followed because he was constatly hindered by the central governement. He failed to stop Dramalis and to conquer the fortresses at Griponisi, modern Evvia. Many times his political opponents tried to assasinate him and especially in Nafplion three times he was shot in three diferrent occasions. Sometimes he did kapakia with the Turks, that means that he came in false deal with them just to convince them that he would continue his duty as armatolos. Armotolos was used as a kind of policeman by the Ottoman authorities, before the revolution, to run after klephtes. Odysseas Androutsos had been used as armatolos by Ali Pasha of Ioannina. Ali respected Odysseas' father and when he was killed in turkish jails, Ali took charge of the then young Odysseas. Soon Odysseas excelled and became at the age of 20 years old, a military captain or kapetanios. One such kapaki he did in 1822, when he convinced Kiose Mehmet who had invaded East Rumeli, to withdraw and return to Zitouni, modern Lamia.

Odysseas used as refuge a cave on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, which he used to call Drakospilia. Inside the cave was a series of smaller caves on different levels, military stores, provisions of corn, oil, wine, cheese, olives, flesh. From its mouth, twenty meters high, one could see miles away and of course any troops approaching to it. Odysseas' most confident guard was a huge dog and a Turk named Mustafa. Many foreigners were attracted by his personality, including English Stanhope and Trelawny. In 1825, Odysseas was constatly threatened by governmental forces, when he received a message from his friend Karaiskakis, urging him to abandon his hideout:'Only the bears stay inside caves, not the lions, like the son of Androutsos'. Androutsos left the cave and did kapakia with Omer Pasha of Evvia. Along with his few trusted men, he had a force of 400 Albanians, to be protected from his persecutors. Odysseas avoided to fight against the Greek troops which were lead by Gouras, Kriezotis, and finally he surrendered after Gouras having promised to him that he wouldn't harm him. Gouras now tried to get possesion of the cave, which was believed to contain a hoard of treasure, and sent a detachment of troops to the foot of the cliff of Drakospilia. He announced to Trelawny that Odysseas was with them and wanted him to come down for a conference. Trelawny of course refused and after some attempts to climb on the cave, Gouras' men went away. The drama of Odysseas ended in 5 June 1825, when four men: Mamouris, Triantafilinnas, Papakostas and Theoharis entered in the cell where Odysseas was chained. Odysseas had been imprisoned at Acropolis and was tortured for two months, to reveal his treasures. The four murderers told the guard to leave, but he stayed and hid near by. They tortured Odysseas and finally they strangled him. His body was thrown from the tower, just to disguise the assassination as a failed escape. This was the tragic end of one of the finest kapetanioi of the Greek revolution. Koletis was the winner of the game. He had thrown to jail Kolokotronis, and had murdered Androutsos. In the meantime, Ibrahim Pasha, the worst of the enemies, had already invaded Peloponnese.

Bibliography
Constantine Paparhigopoulos - History of Helenic Nation
Spuridon Trikoupis - History of Greek Revolution
David Brewer - The Greek war of Independence
Samuel Howe - Greek Revolution
Kolokotronis' memoirs
Makrygiannis' memoirs
Peranthis-Odysseas Androutsos
Koutsonikas Lampros - History of Greek Revolution





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