On this day in 1821, the Greek War of Independence started in Mani

Greek War of Independence starts in Mani

On March 17, 1821, the Maniots at Areopoli declared war on the Turks in the Peloponnese capital of Mani.

17 Μαρτίου 1821 Η κήρυξη της επανάστασης στη Μάνη

An army of 2,000 Maniots under the command of Petros Mavromichalis, which included Kolokotronis, his nephew Nikitaras, and Papaflessas, advanced on the Messenian town of Kalamata, which had an Ottoman garrison. They captured the city on March 23.

The Peloponnese, with its long tradition of resistance to the Ottomans, was to be the heartland of the revolt. In the early months of 1821, with the Turkish governor Mora Valesi Hursid Pasha and many of his troops absent, the situation was favourable for the Greeks to rise against the Ottoman occupation.

Theodoros Kolokotronis, a renowned Greek klepht who had served in the British army in the Ionian Islands during the Napoleonic Wars, returned on January 6, 1821, and went to the Mani Peninsula. The Turks found out about Kolokotronis' arrival and demanded his surrender from the local bey, Petros Mavromichalis, also known as Petrobey. Mavromichalis refused, saying he was just an old man.

The crucial meeting was held at Vostitsa (modern Aigion) on January 26, where chieftains and prelates from all over the Peloponnese assembled. There, the klepht captains declared their readiness for the uprising, while most of the civil leaders presented themselves sceptical and demanded guarantees about Russian intervention.

Nevertheless, as news of Ypsilantis' march into the Danubian Principalities spread, the atmosphere in the Peloponnese became tense. By mid-March, sporadic incidents against Muslims began, heralding the start of the uprising. The traditional legend that the Revolution was declared on March 25 in the Monastery of Agia Lavra by the Archbishop of Patras Germanos is a later invention.

The date has been established as the official anniversary of the Revolution and is celebrated as a national day in Greece.

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