Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first Governor of Greece to create a “state out of chaos”

Ioannis Kapodistrias <1776-1831> studied Medicine, Law and Philosophy. In 1828-1831 he was the first Governor of Greece. As governor he refused to accept a salary, while he disposed of all his property for the purposes of the state.

His first involvement with politics began in the Ionian State, where he served from 1801 to 1806 in various positions.

In 1809-1814 he worked as a consultant and follower in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and in 1814-1822 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

On March 30, 1827, at the Third National Assembly of Troizina, he was elected Governor of Greece for a term of seven years.

On January 18, 1828, ten months after the decision of the Third National Assembly of Troizina, he arrived in Nafplio, where he was enthusiastically received and four days later in Aegina, the first capital of the Greek state. According to Kasomoulis, “it was night, and the night of January 18 in Nafplio passed with joy of all the people and melancholy of only a few distinguished aristocrats”.

Most historians consider Kapodistrias’ work important, but do not fail to mention the authoritarianism with which he exercised power. His patriotism is recognized by almost all historians. Regarding his patriotism, Takis Stamatopoulos concludes that “to be fair we can not deny his good intention, his amazing and ambitious hard work to create a state out of chaos.”

Inside the country, with his arrival, Kapodistrias had to deal with the war with the Turks, piracy, non-existent institutions, the dissolution of the army, the civil strife, as well as the poor economic situation of the country.

In addition to the most pressing economic, social and diplomatic problems, Kapodistrias had to face two important obstacles in his policy of building the fledgling Greek state.

First, the hostility of France (after 1830) and England, whose geostrategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean were jeopardized by the prospect of creating a new and dynamic naval and commercial state beyond their control or, worse, under Russian influence.

Secondly, the factions and the local, economic and political interests of the Kotzabasids, Phanariots and shipowners, who sought to maintain the privileges and participate in the prefecture of power.

Eventually the combination of the above factors prepared the ground and led to the political and physical extermination of the first Governor of Greece on October 9, 1831.

In order to effectively manage the tragic economic and social situation of the new state, Kapodistrias advocated a centralized model of power, in order to maintain direct political control. The opposition against Kapodistrias was made up of the Kotzabasids and shipowners who ousted from power. Responding to the allegations, he spoke of other priorities, such as establishing schools (mutual schools, technical schools) and distributing arable land to the poor landless. In this way (education and securing resources), he believed that the Greeks would be freed from the slavery of the exploitation of the few and would become ready to enjoy full, political rights.

France and England, considering Kapodistrias a close friend of Russia, encouraged the opposition.

The center of the anti-Kapodistrian struggle became Hydra, the seat of the shipowners and more specifically of the Koundouriotis family, which had on its side the fighters Miaouli, Sachtouri, Tombazi, Kriezides.

The main reason for the reaction of the Hydra shipowners was their demand for the “non-deferred” payment of compensation for the great damages and losses of their ships during the Revolution. Recognizing the fair demand immediately, Kapodistrias promised that as soon as the country’s finances improved, Hydra would receive “its share as long as the law required it”. The Hydraeans, however, demanded the immediate payment of these compensations, which was impossible due to the poor financial situation of the state.

On July 14, 1831, Miaoulis and Kriezis with 200 Hydra soldiers occupied the naval base in Poros because they learned that the fleet was ready to move against Hydra.

And while the English and French admirals, obstructing, sailed to Nafplio to meet with the ambassadors, the Russian admiral Ricord undertook to implement, alone, the instructions of Kapodistrias. He expelled the guerrillas, came into conflict with them, blew up the “Island of Spetses”, captured another ship and finally expelled Miaoulis to the “great crime”. On the morning of August 1, 1831, Miaoulis, as Rickord had warned, blew up two of the most modern ships of the Greek navy at that time, the frigate “Greece s “and the corvette” Hydra “.

D. Hoidas, in a letter to Augustinos Kapodistrias, from Tripoli, on August 10, 1831, among many other important information about the tragic situation that prevailed throughout the country, wrote that the people of Hydra said that “they frigated it (Greece ) they burned it with the permission of the British ambassador, as he promised to give them another “and the Nafplio police had information” that the two ambassadors (of England and France) took part with the Hydraeans and that they wrote to Rickord to stop their hostilities against them until the proxy sent by the three powers, that is, the English admiral, of the fate of the Aegean Sea, arrives “

In addition, the leader of the English party, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, and Spyridon Trikoupis, Anastasios Polyzoidis and Alexandros Soutsos took refuge in Hydra, having the moral support of the pro-French Korai. The organ of this opposition group was the newspaper Apollo by Polyzoides.

Kapodistrias himself was aware of the plans of the specific foreign forces against him. On July 31, 1831, in a letter to the French Admiral Lalande, who was serving in Greece, he revealed to him that he knew all the intrigues of the English and the French: no way to cut the thread of cooperation with you, because I gave priority to the recovery and reconstruction of Greece. If I cut ties with the so-called “protecting” Forces, this would be to the detriment of Greece and I did not want to add weight to my conscience in any way. And I left things to their own devices. “

As early as the previous year, in 1830, a riot had broken out in Mani under the leadership of Tzanis Mavromichalis, Petrobei’s brother. The latter was placed in confinement in Nafplio, asked to go to Mani to calm her down, his request was not accepted, he tried to escape by English ship, he was arrested and imprisoned. Seriously bearing this treatment of the head of their family, and in the tense climate from the events of Poros, Konstantinos and Georgios Mavromichalis, brother and son of Petrobei respectively, applied the Mani custom of the vendetta. On the morning of September 27, 1831, according to the Julian calendar (that is, October 9, 1831), outside the church of Agios Spyridon, they shot and stabbed the governor Ioannis Kapodistrias while he was going to attend the Sunday Divine Liturgy.

The tragic death of Kapodistrias plunged the agricultural population into grief, while on the contrary in Hydra they received the news with celebrations.

For the murder of Kapodistrias, the Swiss philhellene, friend of Kapodistrias and benefactor of the revolution, I.G. Einardos said: “As soon as he killed Kapodistrias, he killed his homeland. His death is a disaster for Greece and a European accident “

It has been claimed that foreign powers France and England played a catalytic role in his assassination.

Much later, in 1840, Petrobeis Mavromichalis himself, hearing someone accusing Kapodistrias, is said to have said these words: “You do not count well, philosopher. a man who will not find him, and his blood educates me until now… ».

One of the killers, Konstantinos Mavromichalis, shortly before he died from the pistol of Kapodistrias’s guard, asked for mercy and said to the police: “It is not my fault, other soldiers put me in the army”. The contemporary with the events, historian and fighter Nikolaos Kasomoulis, reports that the other executor of the Governor, George Mavromichalis, took refuge in the house of the French ambassador Baron Rouen, stating: “We killed the tyrant. We believe in the honor of France. Here are our chariots “.

Count Gobino is one of the three greatest diplomats of the time, along with Metternich and Talleyrand,

Kapodistrias had been honored many times by Tsar Alexander.

Today many streets and squares bear his name. The State Airport of Corfu is called “Ioannis Kapodistrias”, while from 1911, at the request of the benefactor Ioannis Dombolis, the National University of Athens was renamed “National and Kapodistrian University of Athens” and in the Propylaea there is a statue of him.

There is also a statue in the central square of the town of Capo d’Istria (present-day Koper) in Slovenia.

Ioannis Kapodistrias is considered a national hero of Switzerland, because as Russia’s representative in Switzerland he contributed to the unity and independence of the Swiss state. He was one of the inspirers of its division into 19 autonomous states, the cantons, helped and influenced the formation of the Swiss constitution, but also the neutrality of the country.

“He participated in the Vienna Conference as a member of the Russian delegation and later representative of Russia at the Paris Conference in 1815, where he succeeded in neutralizing Austrian influence, the integrity of France as well as the international neutrality of Switzerland.

It is worth noting here that Switzerland’s gratitude to the first Governor of Greece does not only extend to the granting of citizenship, but also recently, the city of Lausanne made another honorable move.

Together with the Russian government, the city of Lausanne, in September 2009, unveiled the bust of Ioannis Kapodistrias, in the presence of Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and Russia, Sergei Lavrov, the Mayor of Lausanne and Pascal Broulis, president of the local parliament of the canton of Vaud, whose capital is Lausanne.

The bronze bust, the work of Russian sculptor Vladimir Surovchev, was erected in Lausanne “as a token of honor to the city’s first Honorary Citizen”.

It was an act carried out jointly by Russia and the city of Lausanne, and the revelations coincided with the official visit to Switzerland of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and

Ioannis Kapodistrias <1776-1831> did his job in the best way, everyone recognizes him and his critics… dot.

“In difficult times our only allies are our ancestors”

Ioannis Kapodistrias – Wikipedia / John Koutogiorgas

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