Modern Greek History

Modern Greece – Becoming a Nation After Turkish Occupation

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GreeceThe modern Greece that we know today wasn’t always this way. Greece has had a turbulent history and even in ancient times, it wasn’t unified. Rather, the country was split into a series of independently governed kingdoms and city-states.

One thing that the people did have to endure was roughly 400 years of occupation at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The Greek War for Independence began in 1821, and after achieving this independence, the people needed to define who and what they were as a nation.  Though the Greek people were happy to be liberated, there were also plenty of hardships. Many families lost people to the war and the country itself was in economic dire straights.

How did Greece become the nation it is today? Here’s information about how the modern nation of Greece came to be:

Greek War for Independence

In many ways, the Greek national identity was renewed during the Greek War for Independence, which took place between 1821 and 1832. During this war, the Greek people fought for their freedoms and with the help of other nations such as France and England, they succeeded.

The war officially began on March 25, 1821 and to this day, March 25 is the day that commemorates Greece’s Independence. It’s true that several revolutionary attempts had been made prior to that date, but this is the one that ultimately had the lasting impact. Overall celebrating the beginning of the war shows that to the Greek people, the official beginning of the country of Greece actually started at the beginning of the war that would ultimately result in their independence.

Overcoming Uncertainty

However, even after the war was over and their independence was achieved, the people had to overcome a feeling of uncertainty, particularly when it came to the economy.  For many families, moving elsewhere in the world for a fresh start was the answer. Others chose to stay in Greece, find work, and cling to their families and villages for help and support.

The newly formed government did their best to help the people, they also needed to make sure that the country’s infrastructure was in place. Not only that, but it was a particularly turbulent time. Before the country adopted a monarchy, they had a failed attempt at democracy that resulted in the country’s first leader being assassinated. Though they achieved their independence in 1832, the country’s first constitution wasn’t adopted until 1844.

Abolishing the Monarchy

After the War for Independence, Greece became the Kingdom of Greece and would stay that way until after the Greek Civil War, which took place after World War II. As mentioned above, the monarchy was established by other countries, such as England, who worried at the political instability Greece experienced after the failed attempt at democracy. They thought the monarchy would stabilize the country.

However, the monarchy’s rule wasn’t an easy one – it was fraught with war and internal conflict that truly didn’t get resolved until 1973 when the monarchy was officially abolished. Today, the country is a democracy and has a parliamentary system. Their current constitution was adopted in 1975 but has experienced a few revisions since then.

Greek Cultural Identity

When the Ottoman Empire occupied Greece for four hundred years, it changed the culture in Greece somewhat. There are Turkish influences that still remain in the Greek culture. Though, they’ve been redefined and assimilated into Modern Greek culture. For example, there are Turkish influences that are prevalent in both the cuisine and the music.

However, the Greek people did a great job preserving their own identity during Turkish occupation, especially when it came to religion. Most people still practiced their Orthodox Christian religion rather than becoming Muslim, they were just forced to practice it in secret. One of the first things the people embraced after the Turks left Greece was to finally practice their religion in the open after years of oppression.

After the Greek War for Independence, the Greek people had a chance to finally become a thriving, independent nation.

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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