Evangelos Zappas, one of the great national benefactors of Greece, died in Romania on this day, June 19, in 1865.
Born on August 12, 1800 in Lampovo in Northern Epirus, Zappas was a fighter in the Greek War of Independence and later, a businessman, philanthropist, national benefactor and founder of the modern Olympic Games.
At the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821, Zappas joined the fighting and participated in numerous battles, such as the First Siege of Messolonghi and the Battle of Peta, even becoming a close friend of Souliot Captain Markos Botsaris.
Following Greek independence, he moved to Wallachia (modern day Romania), where he had a successful career as a businessman, becoming one of the richest men in Eastern Europe.
He used his wealth while alive and after his death, to personally sponsor the revival of the Olympic Games in 1859, 1870, 1875, and 1888 which were a success and preceded the founding of the International Olympic Committee in 1894.
Zappas, who left behind a fortune and which was now controlled by his family, also paid for the refurbishment of the Panathenian Stadium and well after his death, his wealth contributed and was used toward the foundation of several Greek institutions and schools, as well as other sports facilities and exhibition facilities.