Greek Revolution Bicentennial - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Greeting PoFo,

As the official bicentennial approaches on the 25th of March of 2021 I would like to share a couple of things that I have come to understand through my reading of history.

The Greek war of independence is taken to have begun on the 25th of March 1821, of course this date -like most of these dates- is only a placeholder. The Maniots had declared their most recent revolution on the 17th of March 1821, the 25th has been chosen for 2 reasons 1) due to its religious(and thus neutral) significance celebrating the Madonna and 2) because more importantly the 25th marks the more generalised character of the revolution, spreading to Constantinople, Romania, Moldavia, Macedonia, Crete and several islands at various dates near the time so the 25th is taken as a compromise between them.

The first professional Greek army and navy and all the money of the revolutionaries were spent in Romania & Moldavia(the Danubian Principalities), that was the primary target from where the plan was to descent down to Constantinople, unite with the Maniots of the Peloponnese on the way and replace the Ottomans but maintain the Empire, the Phanariotes had managed to take over almost full control of the Ottoman government and were already ruling over the Danubian Principalities, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch was also the Ethnarch(Supreme Leader of all Orthodox people) of the Orthodox and it was just a matter of crowning a new King. Secrecy and stealth were paramount to the mission as that privileged position of the Phanari(Lantern, the Greek neighbourhood in the City) could not be maintained in the event word of the revolution spread to the ears of the Sultan which it did. Alexander Ypsilantis was arrested by the Austrians. The revolutionaries were ambushed and the professional army crushed, the small navy though eluded them and eventually grew into a force to be reckoned with.

The navy now a permanent block in the Aegean for Ottoman supplies along with the spread of other revolts distracting the Ottoman army permitted the Maniots of the Peloponnese to take over the island and then proceed to Athens and the outskirts of continental Greece. Meanwhile, in Constantinople the Phanariote heads now decorated the City so this plan was no longer feasible as the Ottomans proceeded to clear out the Greeks from the government and replace them with Jews & Armenians. The focus now shifted from trying to take over the Empire to carve out a space out of it. The most developed Greek urban centres were in Anatolia in Smyrne and Constantinople and the majority of the Greek population lived along the coast of Asia Minor and the Black sea.

As these populations were not incorporated until 100 years later in 1920-22 during the Turkish war of independence and in 1955(Istanbul pogrom), they did not play a formative role in the establishment of the modern Greek state which meant that the first modern Greek university was located outside the nascent state of Greece in Smyrne and the modern state was founded by the Maniots who were warriors rather than the Polites or Smyrniots who were bourgeoisie. This led to constant civil wars as the warriors warred with no end.
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’Tis something in the dearth of fame,
Though link’d among a fetter’d race,
To feel at least a patriot’s shame,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.

Must we but weep o’er days more blest?
Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled.
Earth! render back from out thy breast
A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,
To make a new Thermopylae!


Today is the bicentennial of the revolution of Greece.

The revolution was an extreme and very unique affair in so many ways.

The French and the American revolutions that had taken place the previous decade and which had inspired and fired-up the Greeks were revolutions organised by established bourgoisie in France and the US, they were in some ways straight-forward affairs. This revolution was also organised by the Greek bourgeoisie but it failed in the urban areas. In the Peloponnese specifically where it succeeded, there was no bourgoisie and the area had been a field of battle for 200 years non stop with Greeks siding with anybody Venetians, Russian, French, Spanish to get rid of the Turks. Every time they lost, they suffered severe punishment(that would put the Nazis to shame for its cruelty) and fled to the mountains, abroad or to the urban areas like Yannena, Constantinople, Zante, Rhodes, Crete, Thessalonike, Smyrne, etcetera.

By 1810, 90% of all the Greek villages in the Peloponnese were in the mountains, these mountain thieves and bandits started controlling the road junctions, were enlisted by the Ottomans to collect taxes and eventually formed the backbone of the army that liberated the country and then also murdered the Greek bourgeoisie who thought they could control them. The murder of Kapodistrias marks the total breakdown of relations between the warlords and the intellectuals, setting off the 3rd or 4th civil war in less than decade.

The Greek revolution was liberal, it set to create a Republic out of the bossom of the Ottoman empire.
Something that is totally bonkers when viewed from the perspective of the time some 100 years before the collapse of the Ottomans and the Sykes-Pikot agreement. Though not entirely bonkers when one considers that for the revolutionaries more were expected from the urban cities.

It marks the beginning of the end for the Sultanate and for a world that was very different.

And then there is Lord Byron, whose name alone brings tears to the eyes of any Greek person.

Lord Byron, this British gentleman gave all his personal fortune and his own life for Greece.

Byron is the reason I came to the UK to study and the reason why I have always considered the British, a brother-nation.

Image

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
And if I laugh at any mortal thing, 'Tis that I may not weep.


After Lord Byron, comes Thomas Gordon the Scot, another person who gave all he had for Greece.

Thomas Gordon also wrote a History of the Greek revolution which I 've read from the original and is tantalising.
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Haiti, the first nation to recognise Greece as an independent country in 1822.

ekathimerini wrote:Haiti, a nation of former slaves who had revolted and liberated themselves, was the first to acknowledge the Greek War of Independence, in 1822.

Haitian President Jean-Pierre Boyer said a letter in January of that year to a committee that Greeks living in Paris had organised to rally support from European and other powers.

In his letter, Boyer regretted that the financial situation of his country made any financial support impossible, but extended his warm wishes for the success of the War of Independence.

Here’s a translation of the original letter, written in French:

JEAN PIERRE BOYER

President of Haiti

To the citizens of Greece A. Korais, K. Polychroniades, A. Bogorides and Ch. Klonaris.

In Paris

“Before I received your letter from Paris, dated last August 20, the news about the revolution of your co-citizens against the despotism which lasted for about three centuries had already arrived here. With great enthusiasm we learned that Hellas was finally forced to take up arms in order to gain her freedom and the position that she once held among the nations of the world. Such a beautiful and just case, most importantly, the first successes which have accompanied it, cannot leave Haitians indifferent, for we, like the Hellenes, were for a long time subjected to a dishonorable slavery and finally, with our own chains, broke the head of tyranny.

Wishing to Heavens to protect the descendants of Leonidas, we thought to assist these brave warriors, if not with military forces and ammunition, at least with money, which will be useful for acquisition of guns, which you need. But events that have occurred and imposed financial restrictions onto our country absorbed the entire budget, including the part that could be disposed by our administration. Moreover, at present, the revolution which triumphs on the eastern portion of our island is creating a new obstacle in carrying out our aim; in fact, this portion, which was incorporated into the Republic I preside over, is in extreme poverty and thus justifies immense expenditures of our budget. If the circumstances, as we wish, improve again, then we shall honorably assist you, the sons of Hellas, to the best of our abilities.

Citizens! Convey to your co-patriots the warm wishes that the people of Haiti send on the behalf of your liberation. The descendants of ancient Hellenes look forward, in the reawakening of their history, to trophies worthy of Salamis. May they prove to be like their ancestors and guided by the commands of Miltiades, and be able, in the fields of new Marathon, to achieve the triumph of the holy affair that they have undertaken on behalf of their rights, religion and motherland. May it be, at last, through their wise decisions, that they will be commemorated by history as the heirs of the endurance and virtues of their ancestors.

In the 15th of January 1822 and the 19th year of Independence”


American and Russian warships have docked side by side today in Piraeus for the celebrations for what is probably the first time in world history.

The Red Army Choir sung this song for us:

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skynews wrote:The Prince of Wales has spoken of his “profound connection to Greece” as he paid tribute to the country where his father was born almost 100 years ago.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Athens for a two day visit, only the second overseas royal tour since the start of the pandemic.

Speaking at an official state dinner hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Charles said: "My wife and I could not be more delighted to be back in Greece, which has long held the most special place in my heart.

“After all, Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father's birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence.

“Later, it was in Athens that my dear grandmother, Princess Alice, during the dark years of Nazi occupation, sheltered a Jewish family - an act for which in Israel she is counted as 'Righteous Among The Nations'."

Prince Philip was born a prince of Greece and Denmark on the Greek island of Corfu, in 1921. The duke, who turns 100 in June, returned to Windsor Castle last week after spending 28 nights in hospital.

Prince Charles and Camilla were asked to attend the Bicentenary Independence Day celebrations in Athens on behalf of the UK government.

During his speech the heir to the throne also hailed the "strong and vital" ties between the UK and Greece, especially as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, as the “stakes could hardly be higher”.

He said "As we all work to rebuild our societies and our economies from this year of previously unimaginable upheaval, and to set our world on a more sustainable path, perhaps we can take some inspiration from the courage, determination and ambition of 1821.

“Once again, the stakes could hardly be higher. The choices we make will determine the fate not only of our nations, but of this singular planet which we all share.”

Earlier on Wednesday evening, Charles and Camilla attended the official opening of the National Gallery in Athens, shown around by Prime Minister Mitsotakis and his wife.


With hand-shaking still ruled out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Charles was seen explaining to people that rather than handshakes he now greets people with a namaste welcome, clasping his hands together and bowing his head.

On Thursday, the couple will attend a wreath laying at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and watch the Independence Day Military Parade which marks Greece's uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. Events have been significantly scaled back due to the pandemic.
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France24 wrote:Greece celebrates revolution bicentennial with pomp and parades

Issued on: 25/03/2021 - 09:46

A parade of tanks, artillery and overflying jets will mark the occasion in the capital Athens, alongside mounted troops in traditional costumes from the 1821 conflict.

Athens (AFP)

Greece on Thursday celebrated 200 years since the start of its independence war with the Ottoman Empire with parades and ceremonies attended by foreign dignitaries, though the pandemic forced officials to scale back events.

"Today the nation celebrates," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said as the Greek flag was solemnly raised over the Acropolis in Athens.

"Two centuries ago, a handful of determined fighters in and outside Greece raised the banner of independence... with the help of their allies, they fought heroically and won their freedom," he said, ahead of events planned all over Greece and among diaspora communities overseas.

Security was tight, with 4,000 police, drones and snipers set to be deployed in Athens, a police source said. Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, no spectators are allowed to attend aside from a small number of reporters.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Britain's Prince Charles and French Defence Minister Florence Parly placed wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Greece's foremost military monument, ahead of the national parade.

Britain, France and Russia were instrumental in helping Greece attain its independence in 1830 after nearly a decade of warfare against overwhelming odds.

At the time, the Ottoman Empire extended through the Balkans and modern-day Turkey to North Africa, the Arabian peninsula and the Caucasus.

"As the wellspring of Western civilisation, Greece's spirit runs through our societies and our democracies," Prince Charles said at a dinner at the presidential mansion on Wednesday.

"Without her, our laws, our art, our way of life, would never have flourished as they have."

The three allies from the 1821-1829 conflict are among countries to have sent military hardware for Thursday's celebrations.

A parade of tanks, artillery and overflying jets will mark the occasion in the capital Athens, alongside mounted troops in traditional costumes from the 1821 conflict.

A cannon on Lycabettus Hill overlooking Athens had earlier fired a salute of 21 shots.

- Sympathy for the cause -

French President Emmanuel Macron -- who could not attend owing to the pandemic lockdown -- in an interview with Greek television on Wednesday referred to tensions between Greece and Turkey over their disputed maritime border.

Hostilities flared last year when Ankara sent a research ship accompanied by a navy flotilla into waters near the Turkish coast that Greece asserts belongs to it -- a claim the EU supports.

"We must always be on the side of our European allies when they are attacked in their sovereignty, when they are threatened in their independence, the respect of their borders," Macron said.

Sympathy for the cause of Greece in 1821 sparked a movement in Europe and the United States known as Philhellenism, with proponents including former US president Thomas Jefferson, French novelist Victor Hugo, German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Russian author Alexander Pushkin and English poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.

Hundreds of Philhellene volunteers fought and died for Greece's liberation, with Byron among them.

A joint effort by France, Russia and Britain eventually defeated a Turkish-Egyptian fleet in the pivotal 1827 Battle of Navarino, and further military reverses forced the Ottoman Empire to recognise Greece's sovereignty in 1830.
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Mark Mazower-The Greece created by the Revolution wrote:
Aged well over 100, Apostolos Mavrogenis died at the end of 1906, the last surviving fighter of the Greek Revolution. He had been born on Paros at the end of the 18th century and fought his way through to the end of the war. When the statue of Kolokotronis on horseback was unveiled in Nafplion in 1901, Mavrogenis was there to testify to the memory of the man he called his friend. At the time of his birth, Athens was an Ottoman backwater; by the time he died it was a national capital, with boulevards and streets with names, linked by rail to the new port of Piraeus and by steamship with Europe via the new Isthmus canal. There were universities and students, libraries and newspapers, theaters and brothels, all of them largely unknown under the Ottomans. The transformation wrought by independence reached into every domain of life.

Under the Sultan, different regions had been governed in very different ways. After independence, administration was centralized and Greeks throughout the Kingdom were ruled in a uniform fashion by a prefectural system engineered by the central state. Government for the first time became a matter of mass politics. It is true that in the Ottoman Peloponnese, there had been a kind of factional politicking for elite families. But it was only after the revolution that politics – with parties, a press, and a language of government, rights and constitutions derived from Europe – predominated among the Greeks.

Independence also gave birth to the modern capitalist economy. It was no coincidence that some of the most ardent philhellenes had been instrumental in helping raise the first national loan in 1824: international finance capital, indebtedness and the struggle for political liberty were intimately connected. Much of the economy was monetized for the first time, allowing extensive investment in land, property and – more slowly – in industries.

Despite the presence of the monarchy, the revolution gave rise to an astonishingly egalitarian society in which former Phanariot princes could find themselves addressed as Mister [Kyrie]. It was also, with the exception of the years of the Bavarian regency, remarkably democratic and a new elite arose from the intermarriage of the great landowning families of the Morea, with Phanariots and the children of wartime heroes. There were of course winners and losers. Bankers did well; the founders of the Filiki Etaireia died in poverty. While Athens grew rapidly, Tripolitsa returned to life as a small provincial town. Syros and Piraeus boomed, while the Mani and Hydra – the powerhouses of the revolution – entered years of decline.

The Greeks were right to regard their uprising as a revolution for what they had done was thus not merely to eradicate the power of the Ottoman state in their lands, but also to sweep away an entire ruling philosophy and the institutions that had supported it. Not the legitimacy of dynasties, but nation, faith, capitalism and constitutional representation were the watchwords of this new order. The fundamental principle, wrote Lord Acton in his 1862 essay on “Nationality,” was that “nations would not be governed by foreigners”: It was this principle that marked the Greek war out from the other revolutions of southern Europe around 1820 and helps explain why it was sustained and widespread but also unusually brutal and violent. Members of other oppressed peoples – Italians, Poles, Germans and others – flocked to join their fight, seeing in the success of the Greeks a promise for their own future. And though it took longer for that future to come than many of them anticipated, they were right. The Greek Revolution, wrote an economist in 1910, was “the first manifestation of that theory of nationalities which would dominate the 19th century.” And the 20th, too: Europe’s principalities, composite monarchies and land-based empires – some of which had lasted nearly as long as the Ottomans – gave way to new states based on the same principles of ethnic homogeneity and democratic rule that had emerged in Greece. This was the world of nation-states, the world in which we still live, which has survived even late 20th century globalization. In its essentials this world is the one that Apostolos Mavrogenis left behind when he died; the world of his birth is gone forever.

Mark Mazower is professor of history at Columbia University. His new book on the Greek Revolution will appear with Alexandreia in the autumn.
#15163898
Today, March 30 1822, the Massacre of Chios took place.

At the time Chios was inhabited by 115,000 Greeks, it was the richest province of the Ottoman Empire after Constantinople & Smyrne and it was an autonomous province as well inhabited almost entirely by Greek people. The island was a jewel of Hellenic industry, trade, shipping, commerce and education.

The Sultan furious at the Greek revolution that was spreading like wildfire, took it out on the people of Chios. Over 50,000 men were killed, all the villages, churches and houses were torched. 55000 women and children were sold into slavery in the slave bazaars of Egypt and North Africa. The troops were ordered to kill all infants under three years old, all males over 12 years old, and all females over 40 years old.

Once all was said and done only 1800 people remained on the island after hiding in caves for about 4 weeks of wanton murder and destruction.

1 of these slaves, Georgios Stravelakis, who was 5 years old at the time, eventually became the Prime Minister of Tunis from 1837 to 1873.

A couple of months later on June 6th, one of the survivors Konstantinos Kanaris set fire to the Turkish fleet anchored on the island, destroying all ships and killing everyone on board.

Eugene Delacroix immortalised the event on canvas:

Image
#15164001
US Army Corps sings the Dance of Zaloggo, when the brave Souliot women of Zaloggo threw themselves off a cliff to escape getting captured by the Turks.

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noemon wrote:US Army Corps sings the Dance of Zaloggo, when the brave Souliot women of Zaloggo threw themselves off a cliff to escape getting captured by the Turks.



Getting captured by the Turks must have been like hell on Earth then.

what Greek historical period did you most like or admire Noemon?
#15166139
On April 10 was the anniversary of the Sortie of Messolonghi. Messolonghi is the town where I presented myself for military service and where I spent the first month of induction. For modern Greece it was the town that hosted the first printing press and consequently the publication of the first modern newspaper while it was besieged by the Ottomans. The town had a population of about 9,000 people during the Third and Final Siege. The sick and the old all strapped themselves in gunpowder to welcome the Ottomans with a blast.

After all was said and done, 3000 heads were placed on sticks around the city walls. The women and children were sold into slavery and several people were spit-roasted alive while others were impaled alive. About 1000 people in total survived the Sortie.

The Ottomans had already tried and failed to capture the city in 1822 and 1823, but returned in 1825 with the French-trained Egyptian forces of Mohammed Ali. The Greeks held out for almost a year before they ran out of food and attempted a mass breakout, which however resulted in a disaster.

Image

In spring 1825, the Ottomans came to besiege the Greeks again.[2] The Ottoman commander Reşid Mehmed Pasha was informed "Either Missolonghi falls or your head" as the Sultan would not tolerate a third failed siege.[10] It was a common practice in the Ottoman empire for those generals who failed the Sultan to pay the price of their failure with their lives.[2] The location of Missolonghi was on a long spit of land surrounded by a lagoon full of islands, giving it a strong defensive position.[2][10] Three islands, Marmaris, Klisova and Aitoliko controlled the entrance to the lagoon.[10] Much of the ground on the eastern landward side was marshy and on the eastern side was a wide open plain.[10] The town was surrounded by earthen walls, but their defences had been strengthened by a military engineer from Chios, Michael Kokkinis who had built a series of 17 bastions containing 48 guns and 4 mortars, forming triangular projections so the defender could bring interlocking fire on any attacker.[11] Kokkinis named the bastions after heroes for liberty, naming them after Benjamin Franklin, William of Orange, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Lord Byron, Karl von Normann-Ehrenfels, Markos Botsaris, Skanderbeg, Lord Sheffield, and so on.[11] The defenders were some 3,000 men, most Greek, but a few were Italian, Swiss and German philhellenes.[12] The Greeks were nominally led by a committee of three, but the dominant personality was a Souliot captain Nótis Bótsaris.[12] The Ottoman forces were 20,000, of which 8,000 were professional soldiers, the rest Albanian irregulars while some 4,000 were Greeks enslaved to work on building the Ottoman entrenchments.[11] Reshid promptly put his Greek slaves to work building a series of trenches around Missolonghi that gradually brought his men closer to the town, reaching up to 100 yards of Missolonghi.[13] Reshid was at the end of long and tenuous supply lines and simply did not have enough cannonballs to knock down the walls of Missolonghi.[14] Whenever a breach was made, attempts to storm it were beaten off with ferocious counter-attacks while all the citizens of Missolonghi, men and women worked together to fill the breaches during the night.[14]

In August 1825, the Ottomans began building a mound, so they could bring down fire on Missolonghi’s defenders.[15] From the mound, the Greeks were forced out of the Franklin battery, but dug a ditch with a rampart behind, which stopped the Ottomans from advancing too deep into Missolinghi.[15] The Ottomans began building a second mound, but the Greeks destroyed it via a mine full of explosives at the end of August.[14] In the course of night raids, the Greeks dismantled the first mound and used its soil to repair holes in their wall.[14] The first mound was finally destroyed by a mine in September 1825.[15] The Ottomans also attempted to mine the walls, but proved to be inept at this.[14] In September 1825, the Greeks dug a mine under the Ottoman camp, in which they exploded a mine.[14] Believing the Greeks were attempting a sortie, the Ottomans gathered around the hole in the earth, at which point the Greeks exploded a second and much larger mine killing many, with one Greek remembering: “We too were terrified and fell to the ground…legs, feet, heads, half bodies, thighs, hands and entrails fell on us and on the enemy”.[16]

Greek Admiral Andreas Miaoulis was able to bring in supplies, so the Ottoman attempt to starve the city into surrender came to nothing.[17] Georgios Karaiskakis, the leading captain of the Roumeli was an enemy of Botsaris, and provided little support for the besieged.[18] In October 1825, the heavy rains turned the Ottoman lines into a quagmire and, feeling confident of victory, the women and children whom Admiral Miaoulis had taken to the island of Kalamos for their safety returned in the fall.[18] One of the Greek captains Dhimitros Makris got married, which led the Greeks to get drunk and fire off blank cartridges all night at the wedding party; in the morning the Turks shouted over the walls to ask what the noise was all about, the Greeks shouted back “It’s the general’s wedding”.[18] The Turks replied “Long life to them! May they be happy!”.[18] Despite the conflict, the two sides would fraternize and talk like old friends during truces.[18] During the truce to celebrate the wedding, the engineer Kokkinis was allowed to visit the Ottoman camp, which he described “as earthworks with no coherence, constructions with no logic, and in short by any reckoning a muddle and a hotchpotch…The whole thing is unbelievable-but it’s Turkish”.[18]

In the fall of 1825, Mohammed Ali the Great, the more or less independent wali (governor) of Egypt sent a new fleet of 135 ships, which consisted of Algerian, Tunisian, Turkish and Egyptian ships to join the expeditionary force already in Greece under his son Ibrahim Pasha.[19] Reinforced with 10,000 new Egyptian troops, Ibrahim Pasha marched through the Peloponnese, destroying everything in his path and joined the siege in January.[19] The High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, Sir Frederick Adam, tried to make both forces sign a treaty, but his efforts were unsuccessful. The Greek Admiral Miaoulis kept breaking through the Ottoman naval blockade and bringing in supplies. The commander of the Ottoman forces, Reşid Mehmed Pasha, was joined early 1826 by Ibrahim Pasha who crossed the Gulf of Corinth. Ibrahim Pasha had also brought with him many cannons and artillery shells, and on 24 February 1826, the Egyptians began a fierce bombardment of the city.[19] Over the course of three days, the Egyptians fired 5,256 cannon balls and 3,314 mortar shells into the city, destroying much of it.[19] The Greeks defeated three Egyptian attempts to storm the city in hand-to-hand fighting where many men and women stood shoulder to shoulder against the Egyptians.[20]

At this point, Ibrahim Pasha decided to starve the city into submission.[2] To do that, he needed to take the islands in the lagoon.[20] Ibrahim had a fleet of shallow draught boats numbering 82 and together with five other boats carrying cannons that served as floating batteries.[20] On 9 March 1826, the island of Vasiladhi commanded by the Italian philhellene Pasquale Iacommuzzi consisting of 34 artillerymen and 27 infantry was attacked by 1,000 Egyptians under Hussein Bey.[2][20] After a day’s fighting, Vasiladhi fell.[20] On 12 March, the Egyptians attacked the islands of Dolmas and Poros, which surrendered after coming under a heavy bombardment.[2][21] With the islands under Egyptian control, supplies from the sea could no longer reach the city.[21] When the Ottomans captured the fortress island of Anatolikon, Miaoulis was not able to bring in supplies.[2]

Ibrahim Pasha now demanded the city surrender, with the people being given the choice of being sold into slavery or converting to Islam, a demand the Greeks rejected.[21] On 6 April 1826, Reshid Pasha led some 2,000 Albanian and Turkish troops onto the island of Klisova, but the Ottoman troops got stuck in the mud as they landed, making them easy targets for Greek snipers with Reshid Pasha himself wounded.[21] After the failure of the first assault, some 3,000 Egyptians under Hussein Bey made a second attempt later that same morning, but were again shot down by the Greeks in the earth banks.[21] The Greeks, knowing that the Egyptians were lost without their officers, concentrated their fire on their leaders and by killing Hussein Bey reduced the Egyptian ranks to chaos.[21] Ibrahim Pasha tried to motivate his soldiers by striking them with his whip and screaming in his fractured Arabic (Ibrahim was an Albanian who never mastered Arabic) that this was a jihad, so the Egyptians should not fear "martyrdom" for Allah, and that they were free to rape any Greek Christian who crossed their path.[21] Despite Ibrahim's whip and call for jihad, the Egyptians were unable to get past the earth banks and the assault was finally called off.[21] One Greek Nikolaos Kasomoulis, serving as a secretary to one of the captains described the scene the next day:

”The lagoon was covered with corpses a gunshot distance away, and they were drifting like rubbish by the shore…one could see bodies floating all round, about 2,500 of them, apart from those our boatman had captured and killed at dawn when they cried out for help. Some, 2,500 guns had been found, some with bayonets and some without, plus bandoliers and innumerable belts, from which the Greeks made braces. I made a pair myself, and so did everyone else. But the clothes were worthless, apart from those of a few officers; the Greeks got no booty from these and were much displeased”[22]

However, with the Ottomans guarding the islands in the entrance to the lagoon, Admiral Miaoulis could not longer bring in supplies of food and soon the people were starving.[22][2]

The situation soon became desperate for the defenders with the people starving.[23] The city had no more cats, dogs, donkeys, or horses as the people had eaten them all.[23] To stay alive, the people were forced to eat seaweed washed ashore, but it failed to provide sufficient nutrients, leaving many to suffer from ulcers, scurvy, diarrhoea, and swelling from the joints.[24] Many of the townsfolk were described as being “skeletal” beings, with pale, livid skin who could barely walk.[23]

After around a year of holding out, the leaders of the Greeks, Notis Botsaris, Kitsos Tzavelas and Makris made a plan to escape the city in a conference held at the church of Ayios Spiridhon.[25] When all food supplies had run out and there was no hope of relief, the besieged Greeks decided that some of the menfolk of fighting age should burst out of the gates and attempt to lead the women and children to safety, while the rest would remain to defend the town to the death on 10 April [N.S. 22 April] 1826.[25] Georgios Karaiskakis would attack the Turks from the rear and create a diversion while the besieged Greeks would escape the city.[25] Of the 9,000 inhabitants only 7,000 were strong enough to take part.[25] The population consisted of some 3,500 men of military age, 1,000 workers and 4,500 women and children.[25] The plan was that, on the night of 10 April, the people were to charge over the eastern section of the walls, use wooden bridges they carried to cross the Ottoman ditches and then wait for Karaiskakis to come.[2][25] The exodus was to be divided into three with Dhimitrios Makris leading out the women and children on the right, Kitsos Tsavellas leading the group on the left and Notis Botsaris leading the centre.[25] Those were who were dying and/or too sick were piled into houses packed full of gunpowder to blow themselves up when the Ottomans arrived to kill them.[26][2] The Turks had been made aware of the escape plan by deserters, but Ibrahim, preferring that the Greeks escape to spare his forces further fighting, did little to block the Greeks.[26][2]

When night came on 10 April, the moon was obscured by clouds that came in from the sea.[26] In silence, the bridges were dragged over the walls while others threw blankets and pillows into the ditch.[26] Karaiskakis failed to make his promised attack, but the Greeks heard shooting in the hills to the east and assumed he was coming.[2][26] A thousand soldiers crossed the bridges, followed by the women and children, with the rest all tensely waited for the signal to come out.[26] The clouds now disappeared and the moonlight illuminated the nocturnal exodus, with Karaiskakis still having failed to appear.[26] [2] A cry of embros (forward) went up and the everyone rushed out, and then somebody shouted opiso (fall back).[26] When the refugees charged out of the city gates they were fired upon by Turks and Egyptians from defensive positions.[27] Many of the Greeks panicked and fled inside the walls while the Ottoman-Egyptian forces had already entered the city, killing, looting and raping.[27] In the confusion, thousands were trampled to death while others fell into the ditch and drowned.[27] The Ottomans and Egyptians set the city on fire, leading Kasomoulis to remember: “The torch that was Missolonghi shed its light as far as Vasiladhi and Klisova and over the whole plain, and even reached us. The flashes of gunfire looked like a host of fireflies. From Missolonghi we heard the shrieks of women, the sound of gunfire, the explosion of powder magazines and mines, all combined in an indescribably fearful noise. The town was like a roaring furnace”.[27] In the morning, the Ottoman cavalry set off in pursuit of the refugees while, where Karaiskakis was supposed to be, a party of Albanians were waiting to kill the men and to take the women and children to sell into slavery.[27] Of the 7,000 people that tried to escape, only 1,000 made it to safety.[2] The next morning Palm Sunday the Turks entered the city. Many of the Greeks killed themselves by blowing themselves up with gunpowder rather than surrender. The rest were slaughtered or sold into slavery, with the majority of the surviving Greek Christian women becoming sex slaves to Egyptian soldiers. The Turks displayed 3,000 severed heads on the walls.

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