Students of the Scuola Guardia Krotoniate, martial arts school in Crotone (Κρότων) in southern Italy, gave their greetings to Mother Greece ahead of Greek Independence Day on March 25.
The history of Crotone
Crotone is a city and comune in Calabria. It was founded c. 710 BC as the Achaean colony of Kroton (Ancient Greek: Κρότων or Ϙρότων) in Magna Graecia, it was known as Cotrone from the Middle Ages until 1928, when its name was changed to the current one.
Croton's oikistes (founder) was Myscellus, who came from the city of Rhypes in Achaea in the northern Peloponnese. He established the city in c. 710 BC and it soon became one of the most flourishing cities of Magna Graecia with a population between 50,000 and 80,000 around 500 BC.
Its inhabitants were famous for their physical strength and for the simple sobriety of their lives. From 588 BC onwards, Croton produced many generations of winners in the Olympics and the other Panhellenic Games, the most famous of whom was Milo of Croton.
Although over the centuries the region was heavily Latinised, there is a Hellenic revivalism occurring in Crotone.
Greek Independence Day
Each year on March 25, Greeks all over the world celebrate Greek Independence Day, which is a national holiday in Greece.
This is when Greeks remember their long struggle against the Ottoman Empire, an effort that eventually leads to Greece’s independence. Today, in fact, marks the beginning of the Greek War for Independence, not the end.
For hundreds of years, much of Greece had been taken over by the Ottoman Empire until the 1820’s when much of the country eventually overcame Turkish rule. Several factors contributed to the Turks coming to Greece, including the Byzantine Empire, which ruled for around 1100 years and then began to decline.
However, the Ottoman Empire’s push to Greece eventually began when they captured Constantinople in 1453. Once the capital of the Byzantine Empire was taken, it was only a matter of time before much of Greece fell under Ottoman control.
The Ottoman Empire ruled for around four hundred years, and this wasn’t easy for the Greeks. Those who were unable to flee Greece and establish new lives in Western Europe suffered. Turkish reign was oppressive for many reasons.
One problem was that they had an apparent disregard for Greece’s glorious past. At one point, they used the Parthenon to store munitions and didn’t treat it as the beautiful, historical landmark it really was.
Another problem was that Orthodox Christians weren’t able to express their faith in public. Since most of Greece is Orthodox, this caused a feeling of unease amongst the Greek people.
Those are just two examples of problems that arose between the Turks and the Greeks. Generally, because the Greeks felt oppressed, this caused unrest throughout occupied Greece. There were several resistance movements that formed through the duration of Turkish rule.
However, it wasn’t until March 25, 1821, that these movements posed any real threat to the Ottoman Empire.
In the Battle of Navarino, British, Russian, and French forces destroyed an Ottoman fleet. This battle was a major victory which eventually led to the signing of the Treaty of Erdine in 1829 which finally established an Independent Greek state.
Though what ensued was a period of uncertainty in Greece, the country was officially independent.
Today, cities throughout the world will celebrate. Throughout Greece, Cyprus, Australia, the United States, Germany, Britain, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and beyond- Greeks will be holding their blue and white flag high with pride!
READ MORE: Haiti was the first country to recognise Greek independence.