October 7, 1828: The French liberate Patras from Ottoman occupation

French Patras

On October 7, 1828, the city of Patras was liberated by the French expeditionary force of General Nicolas-Joseph Maison during the largely unknown campaign of the Moreas.

The purpose of the campaign was to clear the final remnants of the Turkish-Egyptian army in the Peloponnese and to pacify the inter-Greek conflicts that existed.

Maison’s French expeditionary force arrived in the area shortly after the naval battle of Navarino, as Britain and Russia were reluctant to send allied troops – as Ioannis Kapodistrias had requested – to avoid intra-allied disputes.

The 14,000-strong corps, which included infantry, light cavalry, artillery and siege weapons, was officially tasked with overseeing the implementation of the peace treaties.

The corps forced the Egyptian army to evacuate the Peloponnese, took control of a number of cities and fortresses, and prevented civil strife among Greeks by maintaining order until local authorities were strengthened and a regular army organized.

This was the first peace operation in history.

The French army stayed in Greece for five years, building bridges and roads, constructing public buildings and barracks, organised gardens.

Numerous scientific mission were made by cartographers, archaeologists, botanists and historians.

READ MORE: Peloponnese. Greece Beyond the Obvious.

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