Modern Greek History

Filiki Eteria – Secret Organization to Liberate Greece

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filiki-eteriaWhen tracing how the Greek War of Independence actually began, it is difficult to pin it to any one thing. The overall feeling within the country is that the people were tired of being ruled by an occupying force. However, at various stages of the Ottoman Empire’s hold over the people of Greece, there had been resistance attempts – but all of them hadn’t amounted to much. The one thing these prior attempts seemed to lack was a sense of organization and structure. The people needed a unifying force so that all of their individual efforts could work towards the higher purpose – to liberate Greece from Ottoman control. The Filiki Eteria, a secret organization, was founded to help do just that. Here’s more information about this secret society:

How the Filiki Eteria Began

After hundreds of years of occupation, three Greeks understood the importance of creating a united and organized front in order to best fight the Ottoman Empire. To do this, three Greeks got together in Odessa in 1814 with the soul purpose of forming a secret society whose mission it would be to give Greeks a platform to successfully overthrow Ottoman rule. Founders Nikolaos Skoufas, Emmanuil Xanthos, and Athanasios Tsakalov created the society with these aims in mind.

Eventually, the three brought in a third member to assist with the cause – Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos. Each of these men came from different areas of Greece, and besides being united with the same purpose, they were also initiated into other societies where it was hoped that they could use their influence to spread the word and gain more supporters. The group eventually began to initiate members and within the first few years, the group had around twenty initiates. This number grew as time when on.

Alexander Ypsilantis Becomes the New Leader

For years, Nikolaos Skoufas, one of the founding members, was the group’s leader. After his death, however, the secret society was left without leadership. Rather than fall apart, the group asked Alexander Ypsilantis, a prominent and well-known soldier and supporter of the cause, to step in as the head of the society. He assumed the leadership position in 1820.

Under Ypsilantis’ leadership, the group was able to take things to the next level. He immediately used his military experience to set up a secret military, which he called the Sacred Band. The Band was formed in Wallachia, which is now part of the modern country of Romania. The purpose of this military was to fight the Ottoman army and to allow Greece to gain its independence. It was Ypsalintis himself who declared that the Greek War for Independence had begun in 1821.

Although it would be many years before the Greek people would physically win this war, the day of March 25, 1821 when Ypsilantis’ declared war is when Greece’s Independence Day is celebrated. This is the day that the Greek people had decided to get their country back, and the Filiki Eteria had a lot to do with that.


Wikipedia – Timeline of Modern Greek History

Wikipedia – Greek War of Independence

Wikipedia – Filiki Eteria

Wikipedia – Sacred Band

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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