The Greek War of Independence reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Greek War of Independence

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The Greek War of Independence was fought from the Greeks' declaration of indepdence from the Ottoman Empire on March 25 (now Greek Independence Day) 1821 until the modern state of Greece was granted independence by the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1832.

The Ottoman Empire had ruled all of Greece, with the exception of the Ionian islands since its conquest of the Byzantine Empire over the course of the 14th and 15th centuries (see: History of Ottoman Greece). But in the 18th and 19th century, as revolutionary nationalism grew across Europe (due, in part, to the influence of the French Revolution), and the power of the Ottoman Empire declined, Greek nationalism began to assert itself and drew support from Western European "philhellenes".

In 1814, Greek nationalists formed a secret organization called the Friendly Society (Filiki Eteria) was formed in Odessa. With the support of wealthy Greek exile communities in Britain and the United States, the aid of sympathisers in western Europe and covert assistance from Russia, they planned a rebellion. John Capodistria, an official from the Ionian Islands who had become the Russian Foreign Minister, was secured as the leader of the planned revolt. On March 25 1821, the Orthodox Metropolitan Germanos of Patras proclaimed the national uprising. Simultaneous risings were planned across Greece, including in Macedonia, Crete and Cyprus. With the advantage of surprise, and aided by Ottoman inefficiency, the Greeks succeeded in liberating the Peloponnese and some other areas.

The Ottomans soon recovered, and retaliated violently, massacring the Greek population of Chios and other towns. The retribution, however, drew sympathy for the Greek cause in western Europe—although the British and French governments suspected that the uprising was a Russian plot to seize Greece and possibly Constantinople from the Ottomans. The Greeks were unable to establish a coherent government in the areas they controlled, and soon fell to fighting among themselves. Inconclusive fighting between Greeks and Ottomans continued until 1825, when the Sultan asked for help from his most powerful vassal, Egypt.

Egypt was then ruled by Mehemet Ali Pasha who was eager to test his newly modernized armed forces. The Ottoman Sultan also pormised Ali concessions in Syria if he would participate. The Egyptian force, under the command of Ali sons Ibrahim, was successful and quickly gained dominacne of the seas and Agean islands through the navy.

In Europe the Greek revolt arrossed wide spread sympathy. Greecewas viewed as the cradle of western civilization, and it was especially lauded by the spirit of romanticism that was current at the time. The sight of a Christian nation attempting to cast off the rule of a Muslim Empire also appealed to the western European public.

One of those who heard the call was the poet Lord Byron who left for Greece, but was killed at Missolonghi in 1824. Byron's death did even more to augment European sympathy for the Greek cause. This eventually led the western powers to intervene directly.

In October 1827 the British and French fleets, on the initiative of local commanders but with the tacit approval of their governments, attacked and destroyed the Ottoman fleet at Navarino. This was the decisive moment in the war of independence. In October 1828 the French landed troops in the Peloponnese to stop the Ottomans. Under their protection, the Greeks were able to regroup and form a new government. They then advanced to seize as much territory as possible, including Athens and Thebes, before the western powers imposed a ceasefire.

By the Convention of May 11 1832 Greece was finally recognised as a sovereign state. The state of affairs was formally recognized by the Turks and the European powers with the signing of the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1832.

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