Potential Greco-Italian cooperation is an interesting point. Both of the countries are emerging Mediterranean powers, they can both claim some shared Greco-Roman cultural heritage, and both are surrounded by larger, more established and prestigious states. Moreover, I think the issue of conflicting territorial claims is pretty minimal - while this claim may be spurious, I feel like Italy's confederal nature will to a degree mute the interests of the state in pursuing irredenta whose links to the Italian people are more historical than cultural. I'd say they are well-poised as mutually-beneficial actors in the Mediterranean, assuming that the issue of territorial ambition isn't a steady issue.

I'm likewise inclined to agree with the notion of the Greeks and Italians splitting the remaining Ottoman Maghreb between them if they're friendly, though how it shapes up I feel will depend on Greek and Italian relations with both Egypt and France. My point of reasoning is that with Egypt rather politically intertwined with France, the Powers That Be (read: 10 Downing St.) are liable to want to limit their influence in Mediterranean Africa further, and thus might be supportive both of the Greeks and Italians in general and Italy's ambitions towards Tunisia in particular. On the other hand, France is the reasonable alternative Great Power backer for Greece in the event they find their prospects in Westminster cold, and Greece has many reasons for and means of pursuing a friendly relationship with Egypt (the expatriate community, mutual enmity towards the Ottomans, economic interconnections).

Honestly, what this talk of economy has reminded me most of is the discussion over Greek educational funding within the Ottoman Empire from some dozens of pages ago. A stronger economy coupled with a significantly enlarged territorial span and steady government has a lot of potential for dramatically expanding the scholarly and cultural front of Greece's strategy to increase its stake in the Balkans and Aegean Basin.

On a slightly related note - I wonder how Egypt has been faring these past few years? I'd guess chipping away at modernization, though I wonder what efforts to exploit the Great Eurasian War (namely the Ottomans' position being so direct shaken) were undertaken.
 
Potential Greco-Italian cooperation is an interesting point. Both of the countries are emerging Mediterranean powers, they can both claim some shared Greco-Roman cultural heritage, and both are surrounded by larger, more established and prestigious states. Moreover, I think the issue of conflicting territorial claims is pretty minimal - while this claim may be spurious, I feel like Italy's confederal nature will to a degree mute the interests of the state in pursuing irredenta whose links to the Italian people are more historical than cultural. I'd say they are well-poised as mutually-beneficial actors in the Mediterranean, assuming that the issue of territorial ambition isn't a steady issue.

I'm likewise inclined to agree with the notion of the Greeks and Italians splitting the remaining Ottoman Maghreb between them if they're friendly, though how it shapes up I feel will depend on Greek and Italian relations with both Egypt and France. My point of reasoning is that with Egypt rather politically intertwined with France, the Powers That Be (read: 10 Downing St.) are liable to want to limit their influence in Mediterranean Africa further, and thus might be supportive both of the Greeks and Italians in general and Italy's ambitions towards Tunisia in particular. On the other hand, France is the reasonable alternative Great Power backer for Greece in the event they find their prospects in Westminster cold, and Greece has many reasons for and means of pursuing a friendly relationship with Egypt (the expatriate community, mutual enmity towards the Ottomans, economic interconnections).

Honestly, what this talk of economy has reminded me most of is the discussion over Greek educational funding within the Ottoman Empire from some dozens of pages ago. A stronger economy coupled with a significantly enlarged territorial span and steady government has a lot of potential for dramatically expanding the scholarly and cultural front of Greece's strategy to increase its stake in the Balkans and Aegean Basin.

On a slightly related note - I wonder how Egypt has been faring these past few years? I'd guess chipping away at modernization, though I wonder what efforts to exploit the Great Eurasian War (namely the Ottomans' position being so direct shaken) were undertaken.
I think the Egyptians were going through a small civil war during the conflict. My memory is a little hazy.

As for the schooling/cultural front, I think the more limiting factor early on is the amount of teachers there are. You need some for the homeland as well and there’s a lot more people to teach as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government to sponsor a state school dedicated to “Anthropology and Education” or something similar. Maybe a scholarship program of free schooling in exchange for 5 years “abroad” spreading the good Greek word and teaching people. With the government happy to continue employing you after that if you have a desire to stay where you are. 5 years is a long time after all, you could have gotten married by then and you don’t want to uproot your family. We could also see private enterprises with merchants buying land in villages and opening up free Greek schools. Plus the church will continue to push them as well.

Besides that it’s a matter of where you wanna target. You don’t wanna spread your resources to thin after all. Macedonia is the main target for now but it was otl as well. You have Western Thrace and Eastern Thrace after that. If you don’t want to lose ground you need to send some to Cyprus and Smyrna. After those it becomes a matter of where TTL Greece wants to expand. If it takes Cyrenaica sending a bunch to the urban centers there is a good investment. If it wants to expand into southern Albania or the southern portion of Northern Thrace (perhaps in pursuit of Philippopolis?), those are going to be places they have to push very hard into because there’s not as many Greeks on the ground there to start working with, if any at all in some areas. Then perhaps there’s the dream of Pontus, although personally I think that’s a waste of resources unless the Greeks already have everything else listed. Or if the Greeks have money and teachers to burn I suppose.

The difficult thing is the feasibility of these goals change depending on who’s population maps your looking at. There’s demographic maps that fit every cultures narrative out there so it’s almost impossible to identify things with 100% certainty.

Plus there’s other things the Greeks are going to need to spend money on at home. And army and navy, perhaps a national railroad, perhaps some national building projects. So it can’t all be teacher money.
 
And remember that the British invested in the upgrading of port facilities in Greece in the previous war. I would expect Piraeus to be significantly more developed than OTL and between increased industrialization and the burgeoning mercantile activities I think Athens is heading towards being a much larger city than OTL since Constantinople is still a ways off if it ever comes.
Well a bigger city at this time in otl yes but sooner or later the greek government must upgrade the water supply system of athens
 
Well a bigger city at this time in otl yes but sooner or later the greek government must upgrade the water supply system of athens
That's an interesting point that I had not thought about. You're saying there's a carrying capacity limit in the area that they may run up against? How much of this can be solved by diverting water resources to the city instead of agricultural uses? As Greece develops Thessaly and expands the railroad and port facilities it seems like reducing the agricultural output of Attica can be offset by other areas.
 
That's an interesting point that I had not thought about. You're saying there's a carrying capacity limit in the area that they may run up against? How much of this can be solved by diverting water resources to the city instead of agricultural uses? As Greece develops Thessaly and expands the railroad and port facilities it seems like reducing the agricultural output of Attica can be offset by other areas.
Athens of the time gets her water from Hadrian's aqueduct built... by well Hadrian as the name suggests. It was replaced by a modern one in the early 1920s.
 
Athens of the time gets her water from Hadrian's aqueduct built... by well Hadrian as the name suggests. It was replaced by a modern one in the early 1920s.
I could see how Roman infrastructure would be insufficient to support a large modern (for the 19th century) Athens. I would also imagine a Greek state that has been investing in railroad development and the canal at Corinth, would be able to build a modern aqueduct to support its capital. It would definitely be an investment, but as I said, Constantinople is still a ways off, even if they believe that will someday be the capital. It seems like it would not be too difficult to convince parliament of the utility of the investment.
 
You all do realize we’re talking about a country with one the largest merchant marines in the world correct? And that said county just got plenty of its dry docks and dockyards re fitted to handle the most modern navy in the world at that time right? We aren’t talking about pushing out dreadnaughts or Titanic sized passenger ship. But a modernized navy and the ability to dock and maintain those types of ships is easily in reach, and producing a few of them is hardly in feasible. They just would need experts and materials and they have the cash for both when necessary
 
I'm really impressed with some of the recent posts these last few days, especially that spreadsheet by Lascaris. That one was really something else.

First I'd like to clarify my post about the Greek Navy and what effects losing naval superiority would have on Greece. That was in no way a recommendation to go against Britain and France, the great naval powers. It was just a frank discussion of specifically why Greece can't even contemplate doing so at the moment, and what actions could be taken in the future to partially alleviate these vulnerabilities. I will say that Greece, as a country with many populated islands and which will be primarily coastal will *always* be vulnerable to losing control of the seas, as they are simply more integral to Greece as a country compared to nations such as Germany or Russia.

So no, I was not in any way advocating antagonizing the British, especially as I specified that provoking a British intervention would be national suicide until coastal artillery exists, which it doesn't at the moment, or the near future.

I did get one thing explicitly wrong though, by claiming Greece couldn't have a large shipyard in her current borders. I wasn't aware of the scale of the Vasileiadis yards until Lascaris brought it up. It was a little difficult to find sources about them (In either greek or English), but I found some data about them retrofitting the US bough battleship that the Greeks had in the 1910s, and that they were building metal ships from the 1890s. They never built a battleship, but they weren't that far off. This was the Greece of out timeline, which was often an economic basket case due to debt, and had put ridiculously little effort for a coastal nation into their ship development.

Thus in this timeline, with the early investment into steam ships, Britain induced upgrades to the dockyards, and an overall stronger and more trade focused economy, it's guaranteed that Greece will have a significantly larger and more modern ship building industry, up to the scale necessary to construct something like a battleship or even a dreadnought. An equivalent gun and steel industry would have to exist to make the gun barrels, but that seems possible considering the investments into iron, coal and steel.

Now in terms of the GDP chart, I've been looking at it, and it appears to be a good approximation. My only quibble would be that by measuring ITTL GDP by a ratio of OTL GDP, it makes this timeline's economy follow the same ups and downs of historical Greece's economy, while this one operates on different cycles. This would any particular year less reliable, but shouldn't overly impact the final result, so I think the values are certainly useful especially 1836, 1860, and 1880. The assumption Greece would have the same rate of growth in the 1860s and 70s ITTL is decent, as Greece did a decent job historically, and we can't just assume the new government will do better, unlike Otto's appalling years.

So going off the data Greece would have an economy of over 150 million pounds in 1880, which is very respectable. Government spending would probably be around 10-20% of the economy, so a budget of 15-30 million pounds is believable. That is pretty immense, considering single battleships cost a few million pounds. Pretty crazy stuff compared to our timeline.

Greece is turning out to be a far more major player, and if they keep growing at this rate, well. Ottomans beware.

In terms of the Italian alliance, I see it as a pretty natural thing to occur. If Greece gets their foot in the door in Albania early enough, the Italians will not even think of getting it when there's far greater priorities, like the Dalmatian coast, for them to aim for. The greco community is just so small, that it is easier for a few thousand people to migrate than to be irredentist for some land you haven't owned in a millennia. I look forward to it, as together they can really form a powerful Mediterranean axis, and things such as Cyrenaica and ... perhaps ... even Alexandria seem possible.

And for Athens growth being restricted due to needing new water? That won't occur in a Greece that is building railroads and canals. Unless the nationalist government makes some really ridiculous argument where they refuse to let Athens grow because it's 'only temporary', it will get done and won't be an issue. Athens will be an interesting city this timeline, I wonder how it will look in 2021.

Again, thank you Lascaris for the incredible data, and for bringing up those shipyards at piraeus. Taught me about making assumptions without looking up data.
 
I've got to say I really enjoy all the speculation, but I should probably step in and give you all a response to some of these topics.

Regarding Greeks in the Ottoman Empire:
They will be appearing in the story and quite soon in fact, but for now, the narrative will be mainly focused on the Kingdom of Greece and its own internal affairs.

Regarding Greece's relationship with the Three Great Powers of Europe:
Officially, the Kingdom of Greece is a neutral state, but unofficially it is heavily oriented towards Russia given the shared cultural, political, economic, and dynastic ties between the two countries. Moreover, their claims don't conflict with one another just yet, but they are very close. At the same time, relations with Britain have soured somewhat owing to Greece's brazen actions in the recent war and Britain's economic retaliation during the Paris Peace Conference. However, Britain is still a major investor in Greece and a major trading partner, they also share a dynastic connection via King Leopold and Queen Victoria, not to mention the Royal Navy is still a thing, so Greece has to be careful not to openly antagonize Britain by going over to the Russians completely. Finally, Greece is friendly towards France and has a number of economic and defensive agreements with them. But, owing to Leopold's personal trepidation towards the House of Bonaparte, there has been some hesitancy to get closer with the French Government beyond their current agreements.

That being said, Leopold won't live forever and his influence over Greek foreign policy is already starting to wane. In the near future, once Greece and Russia start coming into conflict over their respective claims and interests things will begin to sour there, forcing Athens to start mending relations with Britain or move towards a third Power such as France for support. Until that time, Greece is formally neutral, but leaning heavily towards Russia.

Overall, TTL's Greece definitely won't be a Superpower or even a Great Power, but they should be a solid secondary power and regional power in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, making them a valuable ally to any Power seeking greater influence in the region, provided Athens plays their cards right.

Regarding the future of the Hellenic Navy/Will Greece have Battleships:
The Greece of TTL is quite different from the Greece of OTL in terms of its economy, political stability and larger population, but one thing remains the same in both, namely their need for Naval supremacy in the Aegean. If they can not ensure their coasts will be safe in wartime, then they cannot risk open conflict with any power, let alone Britain. Hence, they will seek to buildup their naval forces iTTL to a potent level and unlike OTL, they will have the means to do so. Even so, I still don't envision them having upwards of 12 Dreadnoughts which would put them on par with the OTL Austro-Hungarian Navy (9 dreadnaughts and 4). Instead, I see them fielding about 6 to 8 dreadnoughts/Pre-dreadnoughts, which is about the same as Italy's 7 (4 Dreadnoughts and 3 Pre-Dreadnoughts) during WWI and far more than Greece's OTL 2 Pre-Dreadnoughts (Kiklis and Lemnos).

That all being said, I think they'd heavily invest in smaller vessels like cruisers, destroyers, corvettes and submarines owing to their better maneuverability and speed. Finally, there is the matter of Greece building her own Dreadnoughts. Technically, TTL's Greece should possess the ability to build their own dreadnoughts by the early 1900's, but it would likely be a long and very expensive undertaking. Ultimately, it will depend on what their adversaries do in this timeline. If a naval arms race emerges in the Eastern Mediterranean, then I would expect Greece to want to keep pace. If not, then they may build a few for prestige and national pride then resort to buying the rest when the need arises.

Regarding a Greco-Italian Alliance:
It's certainly possible. Greece and Italy (or rather the Italian Confederation) have pretty good relations right now. They're significant trading partners and they share a lot of liberal values and imperialist ambitions, so in say ten to twenty years they might work together on some foreign adventure if the opportunity arises. Fortunately they don't have many conflicting territorial claims so there shouldn't be any ill will or resentment between them if one or the other takes too much land, but you never know what could happen as politics can be weird sometimes.

Lastly, Regarding the next Chapter:
I will have the next chapter out later this week, that is a guarantee.
 
Last edited:
Regarding the future of the Hellenic Navy/Will Greece have Battleships:
The Greece of TTL is quite different from the Greece of OTL in terms of its economy, political stability and larger population, but one thing remains the same in both, namely their need for Naval supremacy in the Aegean. If they can not ensure their coasts will be safe in wartime, then they cannot risk open conflict with any power, let alone Britain. Hence, they will seek to buildup their naval forces iTTL to a potent level and unlike OTL, they will have the means to do so. Even so, I still don't envision them having upwards of 12 Dreadnoughts which would put them on par with the OTL Austro-Hungarian Navy (9 dreadnaughts and 4). Instead, I see them fielding about 6 to 8 dreadnoughts/Pre-dreadnoughts, which is about the same as Italy's 7 (4 Dreadnoughts and 3 Pre-Dreadnoughts) during WWI and far more than Greece's OTL 2 Pre-Dreadnoughts (Kiklis and Lemnos).
OTL was something of an aberration. Greece had two dreadnoughts under construction in 1914 and negotiating the construction of 1-2 15in dreadnoughts in Britain. Lemnos and Kilkis were bought as a very costly stopgap measure, together they cost as much as a new super-dreadnought, when it looked the Ottomans were getting their own dreadnoughts first and were dead set on starting a war. So OTL had the Greeks definitely paying for the equivalent of three ships and negotiating for 1-2 more when the war broke out. 4 to 6 seems reasonable TTL, the Greeks will likely have a marked preference for light forces but in their place cannot avoid battleships.

The bigger difference in in the half century to 1910 where a financially sound Greece with way more than twice the economy of OTL is almost certainly building rather more than the 2 ironclads and the 3 small pre-dreadnoughts of OTL...
 
Chapter 89: The (New) Lands and People of Hellas
Author's Note: So this is a bit of a shorter than average chapter covering the geography and demographics of Greece's newly acquired territories. Coming up next will be an update on the new and improved Greek economy following the addition of these new provinces and all that sweet, sweet British coin they milked in during the Russian War.

Chapter 89: The (New) Lands and Peoples of Hellas


775px-Aspropotamos.jpg

The Spine of Greece
The unification of Thessaly, Epirus, the Ionian Islands and the Dodecanese Islands with the Kingdom of Greece was a truly monumental event in the history of the young state. The fledgling country would grow from a rather paltry 60,000 square kilometers in 1854 to a more respectable 91,000 square kilometers in 1857.[1] Under the 1857 Treaty of Paris, the frontier of Hellas would move northward by a considerable margin, changing by nearly 70 miles in east with the addition of Thessaly and more than 100 miles in the west with the expansion of Epirus. This massive change in the political landscape of the Southern Balkans would have tremendous effects on the region in the coming months and years, yet in 1857 the situation in Greece was quite exuberant following the Treaty of Paris, which would formalize the new borders of the Greek State.

Starting on the Gulf of Thermaïkós, near the port of Platamon; the new border would follow the southern slopes of the Olympus Range to the municipality of Livadi. From there, the border would extend southwest passing by the Kamvounia Mountains to the Antichasia Mountain range, where the frontier then shifts westward through to the Valley of Millia and the Valia Calda Valley. The border would then move northwestward, through the Pindus Mountains towards the Aoos River, reaching the river near its confluence with the Sarantaporos River. Lastly, the border would follow the Aoos northwestward to the municipality of Tepelenë, passing to the south of the Gribës mountain range and then proceeding onwards to the Adriatic Sea, ending near Mount Chika.

Despite this incredible gain for the Kingdom of Greece, there remained serious doubts over their extent. In the negotiations with the Ottomans over the final border, the Athenian government had made a considerable effort to claim control over the Vale of Tempe, the Meluna Pass and the Millia Valley owing to their highly strategic nature. However, owing to heightened Turkish resistance, British indifference, and French ignorance; the Greeks were forced to rescind their claims to the latter two passes in return for the Tempe Pass. This decision would leave a sour taste in the mouth of most Greek diplomats, as they felt spurned and betrayed by their Western Allies. As such, the annexation of Thessaly and Epirus would only strengthen the revanchism and irredentism of the Hellenes in the coming years.

Thankfully, the Enosis of the Ionian Islands with Greece was a much simpler process with the cordial signing of the Palmerston-Kolokotronis Treaty in 1855, which formally ceded the Ionian Islands to the Kingdom of Greece. This annexation strengthened Athens’ grip on the eastern Ionian Sea, whilst also securing a small window into the Southern Adriatic via the island of Sasona. Moreover, it represented the first expansion of the Greek State since its independence in 1830, providing fuel to the nationalist rhetoric of the Greek Government. Similarly, the inclusion of the Dodecanese Islands in 1856 would also have a significant impact on the geopolitics of the region as the Southern and Central Aegean effectively became a Greek lake in all but name. With its Enosis to the mainland, the Hellenic state gained effective control over all the islands and archipelagoes of the Aegean south of Lesbos and Limnos, providing Athens with tremendous influence over maritime traffic throughout the region.

lossy-page1-680px-thumbnail.tiff.jpg

The Greek Lake

In terms of strategic value and overall worth, however, the region of Thessaly is perhaps the most significant gain by the Kingdom of Greece in the 1850’s. By far, Thessaly’s most noteworthy feature is the Thessalian Plain which is the largest extent of arable farmland in the entire country. With its expansive plains and alluvial soils from the mighty Pineios River; Thessaly is hands down the most fertile province in Greece and arguably the entire Balkans. When combined with the upcoming agricultural reforms and infrastructure investments of the 1860's, Thessaly would soon become one of the most prosperous regions in the Kingdom and the breadbasket of all Hellas. In terms of mineral deposits, however, Thessaly is quite lacking, with only a few Hematite reserves in the south near the municipality of Almyros and a few small Chromium deposits in the Pindus mountains.

The mountains of Thessaly do, however, provide it with strong defensive barrier against any outside adversaries. Its northern flank is well protected thanks to the presence of the Olympus, Kamvounia, Khásia and Antikhasia mountain ranges, providing the Kingdom of Hellas with a strong bulwark against their Turkish neighbor to the North. While the loss of the Millia Valley and Meluna Pass to the Turks is regretable, Hellenic control over the Vale of Tempe is a significant boon for Greece's defenses. The eastern edge of the region ends at the Aegean Sea and stretches from Platamon in the North to the Pelion Peninsula in the South. The south of the province is delineated by the Pelion and Óssa Mountains in the Southeast on the Pelion peninsula, while the southwestern edge of the province is marked by the Óthrys range. Finally, the Western edge of Thessaly is established in the midst of the Pindus Mountain range.

Beyond this, Thessaly also brings with it various demographic and cultural benefits. Of particular note are the Monasteries of Meteora on the western edge of the province. Built atop massive pillars of rock, the Meteora Monasteries are home to numerous religious artefacts and iconography as well as various works of art and treasure adding to the cultural heritage of the nascent state. Similarly, amongst the Kamvounia Mountains in the north of Thessaly lies Mount Olympus, home to the ancient Hellenic Pantheon of yore. Although it’s peaks technically lie outside of Greece’s borders and it has long since lost any major religious connotations to the Hellenes, it still remains an important cultural and historic site for the people of Greece featuring a number of Christian monasteries and churches.

Meteora%60s_monastery_2.jpg

Meteora, Greece​

Thessaly also boasts the largest population of the new territories, with more than 270,000 residents at the time of annexation. Of these, almost all of them are Hellenes owing to the recent flight of the Turkish Chifliks and their predominantly Turkish or Albanian retainers. Despite this, there still exist a small number of Turkish communities within Thessaly, who were either unable or unwilling to depart with their countrymen in 1857. While not considered separate peoples, Thessaly also features sizeable communities of the Aromanians and Sarakatsani within its boundaries, with most residing either to the north of Larissa or in the valleys of the Pindus Mountains. There are also a few scattered Albanian and Slavic communities in Thessaly, although these are predominantly located in the north of the country and nearer the borders.

Similarly, the religious map of the region was overwhelmingly in favor of the Greek Orthodox Church as most of Thessaly’s Muslim inhabitants had left for the Ottoman Empire following the union with Greece. Nevertheless, there are a number of Muslim practioneers within the province, namely those followers of the Sunni sect of Islam who reside primarily in Larissa or the communities along the border. Most of these are ethnic Turks and Albanians, but there are a small handful of Muslim Greeks. While the former are often devout in their faith, the latter are decidedly less so and would steadily return to the fold of the Greek Orthodox Church in the coming years - doing so, either under peer pressure or after having a genuine change of heart.

In terms of occupation, most of the inhabitants of Thessaly reside in the countryside as farmers, just as their fathers and forefathers before them had for countless generations. However, by the late 1850’s a growing number of Hellenes had begun migrating from the countryside to the cities of the region. With the mass exodus of the Turkish elites and their hangers-on, Thessalía was left almost completely devoid of trained administrators, bureaucrats, clerks, financiers, and judges, who had decamped for the Turkish Empire.

Some of these openings would be filled by Greeks moving in from the South, but many were left vacant for the native Hellenes of these lands to fill. For the greatly impoverished Greeks and Albanians of Epirus and Thessaly, this vacuum was a great opportunity to better themselves and their families, with many hundreds, if not thousands of second and third sons flocking to the cities to fill these now vacant occupations. Even still, the population of the Thessalian cities remained quite low in the years initially following Enosis. For instance, the city of Trikala only held around 20,000 residents in 1860, while the next largest, Larissa only boasted 15,000 inhabitants. Despite these dramatic changes, agriculture remained the lifeblood of the Thessalian economy, with a clear plurality of laborers choosing to remain as farmers in the Thessalian countryside.


lossy-page1-1920px-Fotografi_av_Volos_-_Hallwylska_museet_-_103096.tif.jpg

The Port of Demetrias (OTL Volos) would benefit greatly from urbanization in the 1860’s, growing from a meager fishing village to the premier port of Thessaly within a few years.

The region of Epirus in comparison offers very little to the Kingdom of Greece beyond its defensible borders and added population. Flanked to the north by the Ceraunian Mountains and Aoos River, and by the Pindus along its’ Eastern edge, Epirus is a truly rugged country. The climate in the region, like the rest of Greece, is hot year-round with short, but surprisingly cold winters made worse by the brutally cold Boreas winds. Unlike the rest of Greece, however, much of Epirus is actually quite lush owing to the preponderance of rains and storms during the Winter months.

Sadly, this is negated by the land's preponderance of mountains, which cover nearly all of Epirus, making it one of the most impoverished counties within all of Greece. Nevertheless, Epirus would be home to some 260,000 people who manage to eke out a meager living in the region’s many valleys, which tend to be more hospitable than the rest of the county. In fact, the valleys and foothills near Thesprotia, Ioannina and Argyrokastro boast more arable farmland than the rest of the region combined, resulting in their rise as the predominant cities in the province.

The valley of Ioannina in particular would possess nearly a fifth of Epirus’ entire population within its municipal environs, signifying the region's prime locale. However, even this amount pales in comparison to the 50,000 residents of Ioannina who lived within its walls during the pinnacle of Ali Pasha's reign, some 50 years prior. Situated on the western shore of Lake Pamvotis, Ioannina is in an idealic locale that receives the most rainfall on average in all of Greece, enabling it to support such a population. Some of Ioannina's residents would even rise to become prolific businessmen, bankers, and philosophical thinkers such as the famed Zosimades merchant family, Georgios Stravos - founder of the Bank of Hellas, and Athanasios Tsakalov - one of the founders of the Filiki Eteria. the same could not be said for the rest of Epirus, with most municipalities featuring far less than ten thousand souls, owing to a severe lack in available farm land to support such large populations. As such, most of the region’s inhabitants would resort to fishing, if they lived along the coast, or pastoralism, if they lived in the interior.

Sadly, not all parts and peoples of Epirus were quite so accommodating. The coastal region of Thesprotia for instance, would see periods of systemic violence between its Christian and Muslim communities over control of the municipality's limited farmland. Most of the time, these feuds were instigated by the Greeks who sought to drive out their Muslim neighbors, seeking to claim their property for their own. Naturally, the Albanians resisted, prompting several instances of bloodshed between the two communities. The Greek Government would make periodic attempts to peacefully resolve such disputes, however, owing to the general lawlessness of the region in the initial aftermath of its annexation, other issues of concern, years of pent up animosity, and the immense pride of both warring factions; these efforts would all fail. Ultimately, Thesprotia would see sporadic fighting for the better part of the next two decades until Athens finally ordered the Gendarmerie into the province in 1874 to put an end to the feud once and for all.

Boris_sarafov_cheta.jpg

Scene from the Thesprotia Feud

The annexation of Epirus to Greece would bring moderate demographic changes to the region as the dreaded Chifliks were finally driven out by the local Greek and Albanian peasantry in 1857. Like Thessaly, many of their followers would also depart for the Ottoman Empire alongside their Turkish paymasters, leaving Epirus bereft of administrators and bureaucrats. This in turn enabled ambitious Greeks and Albanians to rise above their simple origins or change their course in life. This would naturally result in a degree of urbanization within Epirus, but also a significant amount of emigration as well. No longer tied to the land of their birth, most would travel to other corners of Greece seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families. A few hundred would go even further and departed for other lands in the United Kingdom, France or even the distant United States of America.

Ethnically, Epirus is more evenly split with Hellenes and Albanians comprising the two major ethnic groups within the region. The southern municipalities of Epirus are almost entirely Greek in language, customs, and creed. However, the further north in the province one goes, the more Albanian its persuasion becomes. Most of the Albanians of Epirus belong to the Cham and Lab communities, with both being most prominent along the Epirote coast. The Greeks of Epirus, in turn generally belong to the Epirote, Roumeliote, Souliote, Sarakatsani, Arvanites, or Aromanian communities. That being said, cultural differences between the two groups are almost indistinguishable after centuries of cohabitation and conformity brought on by the Sublime Porte. From a glance they would appear the same; they dress in the same manner, most practice the same customs and traditions - with slight variations between communities, and they share the same martial tendencies. Nevertheless, there does remain one major difference between the two communities: Religion.

The Albanians of Epirus are predominantly Muslim and belong overwhelmingly to the Sunni Muslim sect of Islam. However, there is a small, but influential community of the Bektashi sect found within the county, located primarily in the North of Epirus. There are also a number of Albanian Christians, belonging to both the Latin sect and the Greek Orthodox sect of Christianity. Most found on the Greek side of the border support the Greek Church, but there are a small number of Albanian Catholics in Greece as well. There is also a small, but vibrant community of Jews within Epirus, with most residing in and around Ioannina and the other major city centers of the region. Many of these people are members of the Romaniote community, easing their integration into the Greek state. In comparison, the Greeks of the region overwhelmingly follow the Church of their forefathers, the Greek Orthodox Church. While the expansion of the autocephalous Church of Greece into the Epirus would cause some concern initially, once it became apparent that very little would actually change on the ground for the faithful, the matter was promptly forgotten.

Greek_Romaniote_Jews_Volos_Greece.JPG


Members of the Romaniote Jewish Community

Sitting at the Southeastern edge of the Aegean; the Dodecanese, or "Twelve Islands", are an archipelago of over 100 islands ranging considerably both in size and scope. The largest and most prominent of the Dodecanese Islands is the island of Rhodes, located almost directly across from the Anatolian port of Marmaris. Thanks to their prime strategic positioning along multiple trade routes, Rhodes and the Dodecanese developed into bustling centers of commerce during ancient times. Even though its significance has waxed and waned over the ensuing centuries, its importance as a trade center remains intact to this day, lending Rhodes and the Dodecanese a sizeable amount of influence over the surrounding sea lanes.

Compared to the mainland, the Dodecanese Islands would see little social upheaval, owing to the reduced prominence of the Chifliks in their archipelago. Nevertheless, the exodus of their Muslim overlords from the islands, along with many of their attendants and the Ottoman bureaucrats, would lead to some upward mobility for the predominantly Greek lower and middle class of the Dodecanese, although this was a far cry from the changes seen in Thessaly and Epirus. By 1860, the population of the Dodecanese was almost entirely Greek and of Orthodox denomination. However, there did exist a small remnant of the Ottoman presence in the archipelago, with nearly a thousand Turks or Arabs residing on the islands after the departure of the Sublime Porte. Similarly, there are a few dozen Jewish families scattered across the Dodecanese, of which most reside in Rhodes. Overall, the Dodecanese Islands would add the fewest people to the Kingdom of Greece, with roughly 60,000 inhabitants scattered across the archipelago, of which nearly half resided on the isle of Rhodes.

The Heptanese Islands or "Seven Islands" are perhaps the most valuable acquisition for the Kingdom of Greece after the region of Thessaly. While its population is less than that of Thessaly and Epirus at 230,000 people, most of these inhabitants are well educated and are head and shoulders above their mainland kin in terms of wealth and prosperity. Part of this can be attributed to the good geography of the region as it along with Epirus receives nearly three times more rainfall than the rest of Greece and it also sits along important trade routes between the Adriatic and Mediterranean. However, it cannot be denied that the Ionian Islands benefited from nearly forty years of British occupation.

Unlike their kin suffering under Ottoman rule, the Eptanesians enjoyed a number of political liberties and personal freedoms under the British including a relatively liberal system of government, limited representation on a local level, and a general respect for their rights and customs. The British also supported the establishment of schools across the islands, including the famed Ionian Academy in Corfu which was responsible for producing dozens of skilled doctors, scientists and lawyers over the coming decades. Moreover, the merchants of the Ionian Islands also had easy access to the British Empire's ports and the protection of the Royal Navy.

However, not all was well under the British as they vehemently opposed and violently repressed Eptanesian efforts for Enosis with Greece following the latter's independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. This would result in a number of radical political parties rising to the fore of Eptanesian politics, with the eponymous Party of Radicals being especially prominent. This political radicalism would not end with the Ionian Islands annexation to Greece in 1855, as it would later become a hotbed of Socialist agitators in the ensuing decades. Ultimately, the departure of the British in 1855 would result in a moderate shakeup of the political landscape on the islands, but owing to their more developed political institutions, the local Eptanesian politicians simply moved up to the national level avoiding much of the headache their kinsmen in Thessaly, Epirus and the Dodecanese experienced following their unions with Greece.

The Ionian Islands would have a pronounced effect on the Kingdom of Greece’s demographics, however, as included among their 230,000 predominantly Greek Orthodox inhabitants were a number of Catholic Christians. These peoples were either descendants of Italian settlers or local Greeks who had converted to the Latin Rite after generations of Venetian rule. Added to this were a number of Catholics in the Dodecanese, specifically the isle of Rhodes, a holdover from the old Frankokratia. When added to the preexisting communities in the Cyclades as well as the various Catholic immigrants that have arrived in Greece since Independence and the few Catholic Albanians in Epirus; the Catholic population in Greece numbers slightly over 20,000 people in total by 1860.

Of particular note is a small community of Maltese migrants scattered across the Heptanese islands (most of whom are on the island of Corfu). These settlers had come to the islands during Britain’s occupation of the islands; usually providing skilled labor that the locals could not. However, since the cessation of the Heptanese Islands to Greece, emigration from Malta has ceased entirely, with some families returning to Malta and a few others even traveling to Great Britain. Despite their relatively small size, the Maltese community has had a noticeable impact on rural Corfu, with several interior villages baring Maltese names, whilst many people from these parts were said to have spoken with Maltese accents and dressed in Maltese fashions. Sadly, they have long since assimilated into their neighboring Greek communities, although their influence on the local culture still remains in some aspects of the Eptanesian community.[2]

Next Time: The New Men

[1] Basically, Greece grew from around the size of Latvia to around the size of Portugal.
[2] The Maltese Corfiotes still exist in our world, but due to an earlier end of British rule the community would never grow to the same size as the OTL community.
 
Last edited:
I expect the Greek economy is doing great right now from making money from the British. I also expect there is a lot of British pounds in the country that is being spent in Greece. And how much debt does the Greek government have now? Have they payed most of their national debt?
 
A wonderful new update!

Thessaly achieving its full potential is a big deal, and probably the largest blessing Greece has received from their new territories. In our history, due to the economic mismanagement, Thessaly was a backwater for a long long time. It becoming 'one of the most prosperous provinces of greece' is a startling improvement. A bit of a shame about Epirus not experiencing quite the same boost, but the land is simply poorer, and until greece is significantly more industrialized, farming will dominate the economy.

Rhodes is a nice benefit for strategic reasons, more than for its economic benefits, though those exists. The ottoman naval command, such as it is, must be drinking themselves to death considering how difficult it will be to prevent a devastating greek blockade in the case of war.

The Ionian islands are the second largest gain here, just in economic and population terms. I would say that a highly populated set of islands is worth significantly more to greece than an equivalently populated stretch of inland area. Since the coastal sections aren't just richer, they also contribute to Greece's naval might, and expand the merchant marine. And we've seen that the merchant marine can quickly become a navy. A ton of well trained sailors never hurt anyone either.

A question, is the Ionian islands the richest, per capita, part of greece at the moment? since they were rather well off. Also, due to greece having a large steamship merchant marine, would those ships be impressed in times of war? Since it would just be funny if greece has more steamships in their *merchant fleet* than the ottomans have in total :)
 
Probably not gonna happen but god I hope the Ottomans get some pay back for these humiliations cause at this point their due a win at some point.
 
The Maltese Corfiotes were already a tiny demographic. We’re talking about a group that was about a thousand in 1901. I’m not sure a few dozen or maybe hundred less people would force or encourage them to integrate easily now when they didn’t OTL. Plus as ugly as it is, it always seemed to me like the Greeks wanted to keep the Maltese Corfiotes separate as they were scape goated and blamed for many thing. People adore an other to hate after all. That said I don’t think it changes anything one way or another. Just surprised to see them mentioned only to be integrated.

Fun fact since we’re talking about the Maltese though, both Constantinople and Smyrna had small but healthy and growing communities of Maltese origins. Only a few thousand each but still existent.
 
Top