Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Κυριακή, 15 Νοεμβρίου 2015

Battlefield Peloponnese 1821-1828 - The Greek War of Independence in the heart of Revolution

Theodoros Kolokotronis (Θεόδωρος Κολοκοτρώνης; 3 April 1770 – 4 February 1843) was a Greek general and the pre-eminent leader of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829) against the Ottoman Empire. Kolokotronis's greatest success was the defeat of the Ottoman army under Mahmud Dramali Pasha at the Battle of Dervenakia in 1822. In 1825, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Greek forces in the Peloponnese. Today, Kolokotronis ranks among the most revered of the protagonists of Greece's War of Independence. Kolokotronis returned to the mainland just prior to the outbreak of the war (officially, 25 March 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 or commander-in-chief. He was already 50 years old by this time, a fact which contributed to his sobriquet O Geros tou Morea or "The Elder of Morea," whereby Morea was another name describing thePeloponnese. Kolokotronis's first action was the defense of Valtetsi, the village near Tripoli where his army was mustering. Later, he was also the Commander of the Greek forces during the Siege of Tripolitsa. The Siege of Tripolitsa or the Fall of Tripolitsa(Άλωση της Τριπολιτσάς) to Greek rebels in the summer of 1821 marked an early victory in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, which had begun earlier in that year. It is further notorious for the massacre of its Muslim and Jewish population — the Massacre of Tripolitsa, which occurred after the city's fall to the Greek forces. As historian of the war W. Alison Phillips noted, "the other atrocities of Greeks paled before the awful scenes which followed the storming of Tripolitza". Although the siege had been going on for several months, its progress was slow, as the Greeks were unable to maintain a tight blockade and were often scattered by sorties of Turkish cavalry. While during the early stages of the siege, the Ottoman garrison could sortie and forage for supplies, after the Battle of the Trench in August this was no longer possible, and the blockade became much more tight. Conditions were worsening inside the walls for scarcity of food and potable water. Taking advantage of this, Kolokotronis began quiet negotiations with the leaders of the besieged, aiming at an orderly capitulation. He wisely convinced the Albanian contingent led by Elmas Bey to make a separate agreement for safe passage to Argos, thereby greatly reducing the strength of the defenders. The deal itself was guaranteed by Dimitrios Plapoutas, the renowned Koliopoulos. The city was taken before the 2,500 Albanian had departed, but still they had a safe passage out of the Peloponnese a few days after the fall. Greek leaders were in constant contact with the Ottoman defenders in negotiations, but without much coordination. The successive petitions of the remaining Ottoman defenders for a truce were, in the end, regarded by the besiegers as a temporizing ruse, in an ultimately hopeless anticipation of Ottoman reinforcements. In anticipation of the fall of the city, by September 22, about 20,000 Greeks had gathered around it. On September 23, the Greek army broke in through a blind spot in the walls, and the town was completely overrun quickly. The fortified citadel in it surrendered three days later for lack of water. The capture of the city of Tripolis had a salutary effect in the morale of the revolutionaries. After this event, Greeks saw that their way towards victory was possible, the entire Peloponnese bearing hardly any trace of Ottomans anymore. On the other hand, it also marked the first strong point of discord in a previously apparently cohesive force, since the atrocities committed during the siege were at the time strongly decried and criticized by some Phanariote figures of the Greek War of Independence such as Dimitrios Ypsilantis and Alexandros Mavrokordatos,. The residual bitterness over the ultimate disposition of the spoils, along with generalized anarchy following the fall of the city, emphasized the divergent perspectives between the Peloponessian chieftains (military faction) and the intellectual mentors of the uprising (political faction). In time, these would develop into an internal conflict, and, later on, civil wars, within the same struggle for independence. After the fall of Tripolitsa, which resulted in the massacre of its Muslim and Jewish population, he entered the town and they showed him a plane tree in the market-place where the Turks were hanging the Greeks and he ordered it to be cut down. He next commanded Greek troops in the siege of the coastal town of Nafplion. He took the port, and the Ottoman 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 revolutionaries. Panicked, government officials abandoned Argos and began evacuations by sea at Nafplion. Only an under-strength battalion under Demetrios Ypsilantis remained to hold Larissa castle, the fortress of Argos. Kolokotronis gathered the klephts together to march to the relief 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 Souliotes lent a hand. The Ottoman army from the north commanded by Mahmud Dramali Pasha, after taking Corinth, had marched to the plain of Argos. The castle of Larissa was an excellent position, commanding the whole plain. To leave such a stronghold straddling Ottoman 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: Larissa, unlike the famous Acropolis in Athens, had no spring and consequently fresh water had to be supplied from cisterns. Unfortunately for the Greeks, it was July and no rains were falling to fill the cisterns. Ypsilantis bluffed the Ottomans 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's 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 Greek fleet under Admiral Andreas 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 guerrilla forces trapped the Ottomans in the pass and annihilated them in the Battle of Dervenakia. A devastated Sultan Mahmud II in Constantinople was forced to turn to Muhammad Ali, ruler of the nominally Ottoman pashaluk of Egypt, for help. The Greeks resumed the siege against the fortresses at Nafplio, which fell in December. Kolokotronis is said to have ridden his horse up the steep slopes of Palamidi to celebrate his victory there; a statue in the town square commemorates the event. He is attired in the pseudo-Classical uniform of the Greek Light Infantry, which he was fond of wearing. Ibrahim Pasha (1789 – November 10, 1848) was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces when he was merely a teenager. In the final year of his life, he succeeded his still living father as ruler of Egypt and Sudan, due to the latter's ill health. His rule also extended over the other dominions that his father had brought under Egyptian rule, namely Syria, Hejaz, Morea,
Thasos, and Crete. Ibrahim pre-deceased his father, dying 10 November 1848, only four months after acceding to the throne. Upon his father's death the following year, the Egyptian throne passed to Ibrahim's nephew (son of Muhammad Ali's second oldest son), Abbas. Ibrahim remains one of the most celebrated members of the Muhammad Ali dynasty, particularly for his impressive military victories, including several crushing defeats of theOttoman Empire. Among Egyptian historians, he, along with his father, Muhammad Ali, his son, Ismail the Magnificent, and his great-grandson Abbas II, is held in far higher esteem than other rulers from the dynasty, who were largely viewed as indolent and corrupt. Today, a statue of Ibrahim occupies a prominent position in Egypt's capital, Cairo. In 1824, Muhammad Ali was appointed governor of the Morea (the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece) by Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II. Mahmud actually required the assistance of the well-trained Egyptian army against the contemporary Greek Revolution, which his forces had been unable to quell: in 1822, the Greeks had decisively defeated an army of some 30,000 men under Ibrahim's cousin, Mahmud Dramali Pasha. Ibrahim was sent to the Peloponnese with a squadron and an army of 17,000 men. The expedition sailed on July 4, 1824, but was for some months unable to do more than come and go between Rhodes and Crete. The fear of the Greek fire ships stopped his way to the Morea. When the Greek sailors mutinied from want of pay, Ibrahim was able to land at Modon on February 26, 1825. He remained in the Morea until the capitulation of October 1, 1828 was forced on him by the intervention of the Western powers. The Battle of Maniaki was fought on June 1, 1825 in Maniaki, Greece (in the hills east of Gargalianoi) between Egyptian forces led by Ibrahim Pasha and Greek forces led by Papaflessas. Papaflessas provided an eloquent speech that enhanced the morale of the remaining Greeks that decided to stay and fight. As the Arabs in Ibrahim's army attacked, the Greeks held their positions staunchly but were eventually overwhelmed. Ultimately, a large part of the remaining Greeks including Papaflessas and 400 Arabs perished in the aftermath of the battle. Despite the defeat of Papaflessas, the battle itself helped to change and strengthen the declining morale of other Greeks who contributed to the independence movement. Ibrahim Pasha defeated the Greeks in the open field, and though the siege of Missolonghi proved costly to his own troops and to the Ottoman forces who operated with him, he brought it to a successful termination on April 24, 1826. But he was defeated in Mani three times in a row. The Greek guerrilla bands harassed his army, and in revenge he desolated the country and sent thousands of the inhabitants into slavery in Egypt(3.000 finally). These measures of repression aroused great indignation in Europe and led to the intervention of the naval squadrons of the United Kingdom, the Restored Kingdom of France and Imperial Russia in the Battle of Navarino (October 20, 1827). Their victory was followed by the landing of a French expeditionary force in the so-called Morea expedition. By the terms of the capitulation of October 1, 1828, Ibrahim evacuated the country.

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