Modern Greek History

The Great Powers and the Kingdom of Greece

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Flag Kingdom of GreeceAfter enduring four hundred years of occupation by the Ottoman Empire, the people of Greece decided that they wouldn’t put up with it any longer. After seven years of fighting, Greece finally won its independence in 1828 and promptly set up the First Hellenic Republic with Ioannis Kapodistrias in charge as the Governor of Greece. The Republic was short lived, however, because Kapodisrias’s assassination showed that the fledgling country was a lot more turbulent than people realized.

Although his brother, Augustinos Kapodistrias took his place for a time, times were incredibly uncertain for the Greeks. Ultimately, the First Hellenic Republic was short lived and only lasted until 1832. Note that the First Hellenic Republic was technically in place from 1822 to 1832, but it only lasted for four years after the end of the Greek Revolution. For the Greek people, this was a time period filled with much uncertainty and with uncertainty comes instability. What was this new nation going to do?

Great Powers Form the Kingdom of Greece

As an answer to this question, the Great Powers, which at the time were made up of Russia, Great Britain, and France, tried to find a solution. During the Convention of London, which took place in 1832, the Great Powers formed the Kingdom of Greece and announced it on an international level through the Treaty of Constantinople. The new Kingdom of Greece was widely recognized by the international community. However, the Greek people had mixed feelings about this, mainly because they didn’t have representation at the Convention of London. Despite that, the Great Powers invited Prince Otto of Bavaria to become the King of Greece as long as he was stripped of all official titles that related him to Bavaria. He accepted and arrived in Greece in 1833. His reign lasted exactly thirty years until 1863.

Why the Kingdom of Greece Was Formed

So, why did the Great Powers form the Kingdom of Greece in the first place? There is some debate about this, but a likely explanation is that they were concerned about Greece’s instability and wanted to do what they could to make sure the new country didn’t fall into the wrong hands and were able to maintain their independence. In fact, these countries helped Greece during the War for Independence. In 1827, France, Great Britain, and Russia sent a fleet that was under the command of a British admiral to aid Greece during the Battle of Navarino. The Greeks and the Great Powers won this battle and one year later, the Greeks had won their independence.

Greece’s position in the Mediterranean is extremely strategic, which made the Great Powers especially motivated to introduce a stable form of government. After Greece’s attempts at forming their own government ended with an assassination, the Great Powers knew that they needed to intervene. Their answer was to establish the Kingdom of Greece. Although King Otto’s reign was anything but perfect, he was at least a stabilizing presence while the new country was finding its way.

Sources:

Wikipedia – Kingdom of Greece

Wikipedia – International Relations of the Great Powers

Wikipedia – First Hellenic Republic

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This post was written by GreekBoston.com

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