We welcome the anniversary events to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.
In the first very important victories of the Greek fighters of 1821 in Valtetsi, Vervena and Doliana, the fate of the liberation struggle was decided and the way was opened for the liberation of the enslaved Tripolitsa, which was the most ingenious and grandiose plan of the Elder of Moria, final success of the match. Typically before the battle of the Doliana and the Berbena, the Greeks said “the Turks are coming” and hid and after the decisive victory they said “where are the Turks” to slaughter them. The “Turkophagus” with his blood-stained sword raised high chased the Turks to Tripoli, shouting loudly “Persians, stand up and fight”. In fact, in historic Vervena and historic Doliana, “Moria’s roads were closed” so that we can be free today. “
On May 12 and 13, 1821, a decisive battle took place in Valtetsi, Arcadia, between Greeks and Turks. This was the first “regular” battle, which lasted 23 hours according to Theodoros Kolokotronis who was the leader of the Greeks. Our ancestors achieved a great victory which gave them great confidence, as they were convinced that they could face the Turks. If the Turks won the battle of Valtetsi, the future of the Revolution was bleak. Kolokotronis writes in this regard: “That war (in Valtetsi) was the salvation of Greece”.
The defeat of the Turks in Valtetsi meant, among other things, the failure of their plan to advance to Messinia from the road to Megalopolis. Their defeat had to be offset very quickly by a victory. Just five days later, Mustafa Bey Kehajabeιs, who was the leader of the Turks in Valtetsi, decided to campaign against the Bervena camp, which he considered an easy target as it was more isolated than the rest. He believed that the camp would be disbanded and the Turks would reach Mystras and from there to Messinia to quell the Revolution. But even in case of their defeat, the road to Argos and Corinth would be open for reinforcements to come down from the Eastern Mainland.
On the night of the 17th to the 18th of May 1821, Kehagiabeis started from Tripoli with a large force (4,000 men and cannons, according to Sp. Trikoupis), with the aim of disbanding the Greek camp at Vervena.
When he reached the Rizes, Kehagiabeis divided his force into three phalanxes.
The first phalanx attacked Vervena.
The second phalanx attacked Doliana, with the ultimate goal of attacking the Bervena camp from the southeast.
The third phalanx (mainly cavalry) attacked Dragouni. With a plan to join later with the other forces fighting in Vervena.
The liberation of the nation is not donated but is won on the battlefields with the blood of our heroic ancestors who practically did their patriotic duty. Unfortunately in Dragouni on May 18, 1821, the Turks with the supremacy of the cavalry defeated the Greeks and there the Agiannitis chief Panos Zafeiropoulos Georgakis Digenis and 17 Agiannite fighters were killed. Panos (Akouros) Zafeiropoulos this day participated in the battle of Vervena.
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Nikitaras had passed through Doliana but as soon as he was informed that Mustafabei’s men were attacking the village, he returned there together with his brother Nikolas Stamatelopoulos and they were fortified in 13 stone houses. Another 100 men from Agios Petros Kynourias rushed to his side while two local chiefs Mitromaras Athanassiou and Elias Konstantopoulos joined forces with those of Nikitaras.
Kehagiabeis had more than 2,000 men, most of whom were Turkalvans
Kehagiabeis made the church of Agios Georgios his headquarters and after placing his cannons in key positions he started shelling the village of Doliana to disperse the defenders. The houses of the Doliana proved to be durable and the Greek warriors, motivated by Nikitaras, fought bravely. In fact, a fighter from Varvitsa killed the Turkish chief gunner. The battle continued but the same was happening in nearby Vervena.
There were about 2,500 warriors in the Vervena camp, led by Panagiotis Giatrakos, Antonis Mavromichalis, Anagnostis Kontakis and Panagiotis Zafeiropoulos. Vresthenis Theodorito
Panagiotis Giatrakos initially tried to hit the Turks when they arrived in Vervena but in an unguarded place. So his effort did not pay off. Gradually the siege around Vervena narrowed especially when it reached the section that passed through Dragouni. Soon the Turks occupied the hill above the village and raised their flag (the flag as it was called then) on it.
However, they were not happy with their success, because two excellent Mani snipers promised to kill the bayraktar (= the flag bearer), after first receiving as a reward 10 bullets (ie cartridges) each and the wish of the despot Theodoret. That really happened. The people of Mania killed the flag bearer and threw down the flag. Another bayraktar raised a second flag, but the Mani killed him as well.
This event gave courage to the Greeks, while on the contrary the Turks considered it a bad omen. So they decided to leave, fearing a catastrophe similar to that of Valtetsi. Then they were attacked by those imprisoned in Vervena. According to the prevailing version, they were fortified in a church between Vervena and Doliana. The battle lasted from 9 to 11 in the morning. Nikitaras and his men from Doliana had also come to the scene of the conflict.
The Turkalvanians were forced to retreat to Doliana, where they continued the battle until 2 after midnight. Exhausted, they fled and disappeared in the plain of Tripolitsa. There, however, some brave Greeks were waiting for them and beating them, because it was “deep darkness and the mortals could not be distinguished from the enemies”. A sudden rain saved them from slaughter.
The losses of the Turkalvanians were not very great. Spyridon Trikoupis writes about 70 dead, while Anagnostis Kontakis, who took part in the battle, states that the enemy losses were greater and that the main battle took place in the gorge between Vervena and Doliana and lasted all day. The losers left many spoils on the battlefield.
The battle of historic Vervena and historic Doliana on May 18, 1821 thwarted the dismantling of the Bervena camp and the plan of the Turks. It also boosted the morale of the revolutionaries and paved the way for the liberation of enslaved Tripoli.
The Turks after their defeat in Vervena and Doliana were permanently closed in Tripolitsa. The old man of Moria was undoubtedly justified and began to “close the armies of Moria”… for the consequences.
Undoubtedly, the “camp of the Berbens” played a catalytic importance for the organization and success of the liberation struggle. It is no exaggeration to say that the “camp of the historic Berbens” started the liberation of our homeland, both militarily and militarily.
Nikitaras gained great glamor and then he was given the nickname “Turkophagus”. In a way, he took revenge on his father and his eleven-year-old brother John who were massacred in Monemvasia in October 1816.
Nikitaras, whose real name was Nikitas Stamatelopoulos, was born in 1782 in Megali Anastasitsa (today Nedousa, Messinia). His mother was the sister of his wife Th. Kolokotronis. His bravery and contribution to the Struggle are well known. His selflessness was also special. Only once, after the battle of Dervenakia, did he agree to take a valuable sword from the rich booty, which he later offered to a fundraiser for Messolonghi.
After the Revolution, he was imprisoned because he was considered the leader of the “Orthodox Society” (December 1839). He was tried and acquitted on July 11, 1840, but the Government did not release him then, but only on September 18, 1841. He was almost blind as he was suffering from diabetes. After his release from prison, he was given a “begging permit” every Friday in Piraeus, where the church of Evangelistria is located today. After 1844 he was given the rank of Lieutenant General by Otto along with a meager pension. He died on September 25, 1849.
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