May 14, 1920 – The Liberation of Western Thrace
Today we celebrate the liberation of Western Thrace. After being conquered by the Ottomans in the mid-14th Century, it endured centuries of struggles and sacrifices.
By 1821 and like everywhere else, the Greeks of Western Thrace provided ships, money, heroes, as well as rivers of blood toward the Greek Revolution. However the revolution in Western Thrace was brutally put down by the Turks.
Again during the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, the people of Western Thrace revolted, even though the region was awarded to Bulgaria at the Treaty of Bucharest, the people declared Autonomy and formed a provisional Government. This would only last a few months though, as the outbreak of WW1 saw Bulgaria again occupy the region, destroying the social and economic fabric of the community. Thousands were forced to flee while thousands more were slaughtered.
The end of WW1 saw Turkey and Bulgaria defeated and Greece claimed the region again. Following the treaties of WW1 though, the region would come under the control of the French.
After much lobbying and manoeuvring, the Greek Army finally and officially, assumed control of Western Thrace on May 14, 1920.