ABC Radio pays tribute to 1821 Greek heroine Bouboulina


ABC Radio paid tribute to Greek heroine Laskarina Bouboulina on program Nightlife hosted by Indira Naidoo.

Naidoo spoke with Vrasidas Karalis, Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies at the University of Sydney who illuminated the audience about Bouboulina's contributions to the Greek Revolution in 1821 as a shipbuilder, fighter and benefactor of the armed forces.

To listen to the podcast visit HERE.



Laskarina Bouboulina was a Greek naval commander, heroine of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, and considered the first woman to attain the rank of admiral.

She was born in Constantinople in 1771 into a family of Arvanite origin. During her youth she developed an interest in sailing which was facilitated by her stepfather's liberal attitude to education. She was widowed twice, inheriting a considerable sum of money from her second husband. She later joined the Filiki Eteria secret society which sought to achieve Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, being among the few women to do so. Following the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence she commanded a fleet of Spetsiot ships which contributed to several campaigns most notably the Siege of Nafplion.

Following the defeat of her faction in the Greek civil war of 1824 she was expelled to Spetses and briefly imprisoned on false charges. She was killed on 22 May 1825, during the course of a family feud.

After her death, Tsar Alexander I of Russia granted Bouboulina the honorary rank of Admiral of the Russian Navy, making her the first woman in world naval history to hold this title.  In 2018 she was granted the title of Rear Admiral (expressed in Greek as Υποναύαρχος) in the Hellenic Navy.

Bouboulina was depicted on the reverse of both the Greek 50 drachmae banknote of 1978 and the Greek 1 drachma coin of 1988–2001.

A statue of Bouboulina sculpted by Natalia Mela-Konstantinidou is located at Spetses. A bust of Bouboulina created by Lazaros Lameras is located in Tinos while a copy of it hosted in the Pedion tou Areos.

The Greek drama film, Bouboulina, starring Irene Papas in the titular role was released in 1959, it was directed and written by Kostas Andritsos. A documentary film based on a fictionalized account of her life and deeds, The Brave Stepped Back: The Life and Times of Laskarina Bouboulina, was released in 2005, debuting at the Armata Festival in Spetses.

Her great granddaughter was Lela Karagianni, (sometimes spelled Karayanni or Carayannis) leader of the Greek Resistance cell Bouboulina, during the Second World War.