Modern Greek History

Uprisings in Ottoman Greece Before the War of Independence

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When we think of Greek history, we often stretch our minds back to Ancient Greece, or we think about the history of Greece that began with the War of Independence. However, there is a rich history that has taken place roughly after the times of Ancient Greece ended, and before the War of Independence began.

Greece was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for roughly around four hundred years before they achieved their independence. However, prior to when the war broke out, there were still some prominent uprisings. Here’s more information about this piece of Greek History:

History of the Ottoman Rule of Greece

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 commenced nearly four centuries of Ottoman rule over Greece. This massive empire governed the vast majority of the land, now within the borders of Greece, including most of the islands.

The Ottoman’s centuries of rule over Greece are rivaled only by the 1,100 years the Greeks were subjects of the Roman Empire. The Ottoman army followed a devastating victory over the Serbs to defeat Byzantine Empire and secure Constantinople.

Athens was captured five years after Constantinople. The Greeks managed to maintain control of Peloponnese until around 1460. However, by the early 1600s virtually all of modern-day Greece was under Ottoman Rule. The Ottoman reign would last under 1830.

Greece During Ottoman Rule

During most of Greece’s control by the Byzantine Empire leading up to the fall of Constantinople, wealthy landowners dominated Greek culture. This all changed during the Ottoman rule. Front a point early in the 16th century, bureaucratic tax collectors became the social elite.

They quickly earned a reputation as being corruptly discriminating against the native peoples. The Ottoman’s completed their conquest of mainland Greece by 1460. Many of the Greek islands did not succumb so easily.

Cyprus fell to the Ottoman’s in 1571, but it would be another 100 years before Crete would fall under Ottoman rule. The Ionian Islands would be the only part of Greece not to fall to the Ottomans. They would remain independent until 1797.

The resilience of the Ionian Islands would withstand three separate sieges by the Ottoman army. There would be two attempts to overrun the island in the late 16th century and a final failed effort in 1716.

There would be other areas that would withstand assaults from the Ottomans and remain a part of the Venetian state. Subsequent to the initial taking of Constantinople, areas of Greece would resist over 150 years of constant assault from the Ottomans.

Greek Uprisings Against the Ottoman Empire

Migration of the native Greek people had an effect on how the conflicts arose with the Ottoman’s. Many Greeks left the plains and peninsula parts of the region for more mountainous areas. The terrain made it difficult for the Ottoman military to exert control.

One of the first conflicts began almost immediately after the fall of Constantinople. The Ottoman-Venetian War lasted between 1463 and 1479. Most of the resistance by the people was squashed without incident. The battle of the Holy League in 1571 ignited uprising across a vast area along the Greek peninsula. However, the flames of these attempts to thwart Ottoman rule succumbed to the powerful Ottoman military in a few months.

Social Conflicts Against the Ottoman Empire

During the periods of Ottoman rule in Greece, many social uprisings coincided with other conflicts that would distract the Ottoman army. One such conflict occurred during the 14-year Cretan War. Greeks would assist in various conflicts against the Ottomans.

The largest was probably one that happened near the end of the Ottoman rule in Greece. The Orlov Revolt happened during the same period the Ottomans were fighting the Russo-Turkish War.

However, it was the formation of the secret Friendly Society, which triggered the ultimate uprising for independence. The society was organized early in the 19th century in Odessa. This would eventually lead to start of the Greek Independence in 1821.��Much of the support for the Friendly Society came from Greeks exiled to Great Britain and the United States. Many of these same people had been witness to the successful rise of the American Colonies to win their independence from England.

Greeks resisted rule by the Ottomans from the outset. They would fight valiant battles for more than two centuries to hold on to portions of modern-day Greece. Ultimately, the Ottoman military machine would prove too powerful in nearly every uprising. However, this all finally changed in 1821 when the Greek quest for independence finally began. We know now that they were successful!



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This post was written by Greek Boston

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