Part 21: Perseverance on Troubled Tides
  • Part 21: Perseverance on Troubled Tides

    400px-Karteria.JPG

    Karteria, the First Steam Powered Warship [1]

    As had been the case for much of the war, money remained the primary restraint for the many endeavors of the Greeks. The Greek Government had contracted a major loan with the city of London in 1824 to the tune of £420,000, and while it was incredibly helpful, it was very limited in terms of scope and scale. By the end of 1825 it had all been spent and it quickly became evident that a second loan would be needed. Unfortunately, the relation with their contacts in Britain had begun to sour soon after the agreement had been signed. The Secretary of the London Greek Committee, John Bowring, had used the first loan primarily to enrich himself, by buying the loan’s bonds at a discounted price only to sell them at a profit later on when the price had rebounded briefly.

    When the Greek Deputies, Andreas Louriotis and Ioannis Orlandos protested the questionable actions of the loan’s handler, Bowring refused to meet with the pair, barring them from any further Committee hearings on the loan. This disagreement between Bowring and the Greek Deputies could not have come a worse time, as the Greek Government announced it sought to contract a second loan. Forced to look elsewhere, Orlandos and Louriotis arranged the terms of the second loan with the banking house, Jacob and Samson Ricardo. While they were effectively on their own in organizing the contract with Ricardo, they were provided with counsel by the more sympathetic members of the Committee such as Baron John Hobhouse and the MP Edward Ellice.

    After some negotiation, the nominal amount of this second loan was set at £2,000,000, as opposed to the nominal value of £800,000 for the first loan. The bonds for the loan sold very well initially, jumping almost immediately to 63% of the nominal value for the first month. This was in fact based off exaggerated accounts by Lord Byron and Colonel Stanhope’s in their dispatches to the Committee. Soon, however, as news reached Britain of the infighting in Greece followed shortly by Ibrahim Pasha’s landing and conquests in the Morea, the rate dropped to 56% where it remained until the end of the Summer before increasing slightly to 59% with the return of Lord Byron to London in September. As a result, the actual value of the second loan came to about £1,150,000.

    As had been the case with the first loan, however, chicanery and dishonest practices on the part of the financiers and bankers resulted in a large fraction of the loan being withheld from the Greeks themselves. £60,000 were paid out as commissions for Hobhouse, Ellice, Jacob and Samson Ricardo, and the two Greek Deputies Orlandos and Louriotis. Another £200,000 was withheld to pay for the first two years of interest on the loans and £20,000 were used as a 1 percent sinking fund. Lastly, nearly £250,000 was used to fulfill the deficiencies in the first loan by purchasing its stock, artificially inflating its value in the process. It did not end there however.

    Because of the infighting in Greece between the Kolettists, the supporters of Ioannis Kolettis, and the Charalamvists, the supporters of Sotiris Charalamvis, it was agreed, generally without the consent of the Greek Deputies, that the £620,000 that remained of the second loan, would be dispensed largely at the discretion of the Committee and Ricardo. Together they deigned upon the Greeks the necessity of purchasing war supplies from Britain, such as ammunition, bayonets, rifles, ships, uniforms, and other commodities of war. Roughly £70,000 was spent securing 50 cases of Baker Rifles, 200 cases of Brown Bess Muskets, 4,000 bayonets, knifes, and swords, twenty 12 Pounders, ten 20 Pounders, and 100 reams of paper to make cartridges, 100 barrels of gunpowder, 60,000 musket balls and cartridges, 1,200 12 and 20-pound cannon balls and shells, along with thousands of pairs of shoes, boots, hats, coats, belts, and other war necessities.[2] The loan was also used to purchase the services of the British Admiral, Lord Thomas Cochrane.

    250px-Thomas_Cochrane%2C_10th_Earl_of_Dundonald.jpg

    Lord Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald

    Cochrane had been an incredibly dashing and incredibly talented young officer in the British Navy during the later years of the Napoleonic Wars. However, his career was sidetracked due in large part to his frequent clashes with authority figures, namely his superior officer, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl St. Vincent. More damning to his reputation was the court martial brought against him, of which he was acquitted, and a civil suit regarding fraud, of which he was found guilty. After four years at the King’s Bench Prison, Lord Cochrane found his way to Chile in 1818 where he aided the Chileans in their own War of Independence where he served with distinction winning several engagements against the Spanish Empire. For his efforts, Cochrane was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Chile and is considered a Chilean national hero to this day. When Brazil began its own war for independence in 1822, Cochrane left the Chilean Navy for Brazil after clashing with the Chilean leader Jose de San Martin over strategy and tactics. While in Brazil, Cochrane was appointed Commander in Chief of the Brazilian Military and promptly secured the independence of the entire North of Brazil from the Portuguese in little over a month. His success in Brazil was soon ruined by infighting over his lack of pay, and in a dastardly act Cochrane pillaged several Brazilian ships of their valuables before absconding to Britain.

    Arriving in London in November 1825, Lord Cochrane was soon approached by members of the London Greek Committee and the Greek deputies to hire his services for Greece. After some negotiations, Cochrane agreed to their venture albeit at a steep price. In return for £35,000 up front, and another £25,000 once the war was won, along with access to a private yacht and servants while in Greece, costing roughly £10,000, Cochrane agreed to travel to Greece, but only at the head of a fleet of steamships. Steamships were the latest innovations in nautical technology. Reliant solely, upon steam to rotate the massive waterwheels that provided their propulsion, steamships were freed from the fickleness of the wind enabling them greater mobility and speed in many cases. Cochrane was joined in his interest in steamships by the British Philhellene, Frank Abney Hastings.

    Hastings, like Cochrane was a British nobleman who made his living as an officer in the Royal Navy. Like Cochrane, he proved to be incredibly talented sailor, but he also had a troubled relation with his commanding officer resulting in his resignation from the Royal Navy in 1820. After spending a year abroad in France, Hastings traveled to Greece in the Spring of 1822 to join the Greek Navy as a volunteer in their own war of independence. Despite initially being thought a spy for the British Government, Hastings was welcomed with open arms by the Greeks who adored the gauche nobleman from England as he was a valorous man. Serving for two long years without pay or any recompense, his talents as a naval man were on full display in his daring raids on Ottoman ships in the Gulf of Smyrna. Hastings would also prove to be an innovator of nautical warfare as well.

    250px-Prosalentis-Hastings.jpg

    Captain Frank Abney Hastings

    Recognizing the burgeoning prowess of the Ottoman Navy over the course of the war, Hastings realized the Greeks, who were still reliant upon the use of fireships and smaller vessels, would eventually be overwhelmed by stronger ships of the Ottoman fleet. His solution for the Greeks was not to transition to the larger, but slower Ships of the Line, but instead to use heated shot, a technique which had thus far only been used on land, as it would be more reliable than fireships and more destructive to enemy ships than the broadside of any ship the Greeks currently had. There was one major problem with this, this process required the use of a furnace to heat the shot and most ships lacked the means to do this. The only ships that could were the new steam powered vessels. Hastings found a prominent ally in Lord Byron who made the necessary introductions to the Greek leaders who were the most likely to hear out his proposal. As he had done with so many others, Hastings captivated the Greek officials with his knowledge of steamships and the potential that lay within them. With the support of the Greek Government, Hastings was permitted to receive a portion of the second loan, to the sum of £10,000 for the project. To that end, Hastings returned to London in February 1825 and immediately began efforts to construct his steamship, the Perseverance.

    The hull of his ship was built in the Thames Shipyard by the Brent family, an established shipbuilding firm, renowned for the quality of their work, and by the end of the Summer the hull was complete. The ship was roughly the size of schooner with four moderately sized masts and two massive paddlewheels powered by two 42 horsepower engines. This machinery on each side of the ship limited the available room for cannons, so instead of the normal compliment of 12 guns at a lower caliber, Hastings opted for 8 larger guns, one 32-pounder in the bow, another in the stern, and two 68 pounders in the center for both sides of the ship, all paid for from Hastings own pocket.[3] The engines for the ship were ordered from the engineer Alexander Galloway who was widely renowned as the leading engineer in all of Britain. Despite his estimates that the ship’s engines would be complete by August, constant delays and malfunctions during testing held up the ship’s completion until the end of May 1826.

    It soon became apparent why they were delayed. Correspondence between Ibrahim Pasha and his father had been captured during the final days of the Fourth Siege of Missolonghi by Andreas Miaoulis during his last effort to save the city in early April. In these dispatches, it was revealed that Galloway’s son, Thomas had been hired by Mahammad Ali of Egypt to be his chief engineer. The conflict of interest was clear, if Galloway developed ships that helped defeat the Egyptians, then he would be placing his own son at risk and so the father sought to sabotage his own work to benefit his son. While it may have been a selfless act of love by a father for his son, it was clearly a dastardly act of malpractice that nearly ruined the entire batch of steamships ordered by Cochrane and Hastings.[4]

    Fortunately, Hastings had been present for much of Galloway’s work on his steamship, the Perseverance, saving it from the worst attempts at sabotage and by the 18th of May 1826, the ship finally set sail for Greece. The remaining ships similarly had their hulls constructed by Brent and were initially started by Galloway that Spring, only to be finished by the engineer Aaron Manby and a team of his workers once the ships were removed from the former’s custody in the Fall of 1826. Despite their best efforts to repair Galloway’s damage, Manby and his team could not save the second and third ships which were too far gone to be repaired and were ultimately sold at a massive loss due to the extensive costs needed to fix the other three, and while the fourth, fifth, and sixth steamships were finished, they would suffer from some minor mechanical issues for the entire length of their service. Only the last steamship, the Hope, renamed the Elpida, operated as originally intended, but by the time of its arrival in Greece in 1828, the war was largely over.

    The ships had only been removed from Galloway’s care and sent to Manby following an extended period of public outcry against the engineer which was in large part due to the efforts of Lord Byron. Byron upon his return to Britain in the fall of 1825 took an interest in the venture, as Hastings had thoroughly convinced him of their great potential during their short time together in Greece and soon he too had become smitten with the endeavor. When word arrived in June 1826 from Greece of the captured Egyptian dispatches, Byron immediately went to work against Galloway. His poem “Steam” released in July 1826, was little more than a diatribe against the engineer that would be praised with ending the man’s career in later years. The outcry was so great that even Cochrane who had been largely cordial with Galloway was forced to turn against him and moved the ships to Manby’s firm. Still, the damage was done, thousands of pounds had been wasted on the venture, at over £30,000 per ship, and three of the four ships that were sent to Greece were plagued with mishaps and malfunctions.

    The Greek Deputies, had also been interested initially in purchasing two new American made frigates in addition to the fleet of steamships they had just bought.[5] Their allies in Britain, namely Hobhouse, and later Cochrane when he returned, instead proposed the purchase of two Third Rates which had recently been reduced (razeed) into Fourth Rate ships. Eventually they were persuaded of the need to commission new ships as fast as possible and because they lacked even the slightest knowledge about ship building, conceding the point to their British sponsors. London Greek Committee purchased two razeed Third Rate Ships of the Line, the HMS Elephant and the HMS Saturn.[6] Both ships were launched as 74 gun Third Rate Ships of the line in 1786 before being razeed into Fourth Rates with 54 guns each in 1818 and 1813 respectively. The frigate, HMS Leander was also purchased for the price of £25,000. Unfortunately, both the HMS Saturn and the HMS Leander, having spent the past few years as training vessels, would require some additional work to restock their complement of guns and adjust their rigging for ocean travel.

    500px-Nelson_Forcing_the_Passage_of_the_Sound%2C_30_March_1801%2C_prior_to_the_Battle_of_Copenhagen.jpg

    The HMS Elephant in Battle at Copenhagen

    Of the £480,000 that remained from the second English loan, after paying Cochrane his exorbitant costs, over £280,000 had been spent on ships, leaving less than £200,000 for the Greek Government to pay its bills. Of those ships, one warship, the HMS Elephant, renamed the Hellas, traveled to Greece in 1825 where it arrived in late December. The HMS Saturn, renamed the Kronos, and the HMS Leander, which kept the name Leander, would arrive in early February 1826 after being refitted with new guns and rigging. They were followed several months later by Hastings’ steamship Perseverance, renamed Karteria which arrived in early September. The Enterprise (Epichirisis), Mercury (Hermes), and Hope (Elpida) would arrive in April 1827, November 1827, and February 1828 respectively. It is fortunate then that Captain Hastings returned to Greece when he did, as the Karteria would soon receive its trial by fire off the coast of Nafpaktos.

    Next Time: Fabvier and the Fighting Fiends of Nafpaktos


    [1] Karteria is Greek for Perseverance.

    [2] Unfortunately, I do not have any sources detailing the exact numbers or what specifically was sent, only that £67,000 were spent on war supplies for Greece, which likely means guns and munitions among other things. As a result, these numbers are mostly guesses, albeit educated guesses on my part using the cost of various munitions, weapons and commodities from the period as well as the general makeup of their prior requisitions.

    [3] The 32 Pounders were eventually replaced with 68 Pound carronades, bringing its total to 8 carronades in total.

    [4] Whether Galloway intentionally sabotaged the Steamships or not, the facts speak for themselves. Only three of the six steamships ever reached Greece and only Hastings’ ship, the Karteria, ever operated in an effective manner and that probably had more to do with Hastings’ skill and tenacity than the engine’s quality. Both the Epichirisis and the Hermes suffered from terrible maladies that rendered them nearly inoperable and worse still, they arrived over two years late, with the Enterprise arriving in the Summer of 1827 and the Mercury arriving in 1828. Of the three ships that didn’t go for Greece, one blew up during testing and the other two were left as empty shells that rotted away in the Thames. So, in short, the Greeks spent roughly 200,000 Pounds buying six ships and got 1 ship that worked relatively well and two that were utter garbage. But wait there’s more.

    [5] The story regarding the American Frigates is laughably bad. Orlandos and Louriotis sent the French Philhellene Charles Lallemand to New York in March 1825 to purchase two Frigates. Unfortunately, none were available for sail so he placed an order to construct two new frigates. Right off the bat, the price for the frigates were estimated at around 100,000 Pounds each. To “lower” the costs, Lallemand, who had no knowledge what so ever regarding ship building, agreed to build the ships through day’s work, a process that slowed their construction to a crawl. In October 1825, Bayard and Howland the firm constructing the Frigates, told Lallemand that the price for the ships had returned to their original price of 100,000 Pounds per ship despite using the day’s work. A month later, the price rose again to 185,000 Pounds per frigate, and the month after that it had risen again, at which point the Ricardo’s, who were paying for the ships, refused to pay out anymore. Work instantly halted and only restarted when the Chian merchant Alexander Kondostavlos traveled to New York to negotiate a resolution. Eventually, the American Government agreed to purchase one ship to pay for the other’s completion, which was finally completed in May 1826. One last problem occurred on the journey to Greece, the American crew transporting the ship attempted to mutiny and sell the frigate to Columbia and then again to Ibrahim Pasha. Eventually, the Americans were contained by Andreas Miaoulis and a crew of Greeks who promptly took control of the frigate for Greece in November of 1826.

    [6] The Elephant briefly served as Admiral Horatio Nelson’s flagship during the battle of Copenhagen in 1801.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 22: Fabvier and the Fighting Fiends of Nafpaktos
  • Part 22: Fabvier and the Fighting Fiends of Nafpaktos

    600px-Karaiskakis_landing_at_Phaleron.jpg

    The Greeks Assemble outside Nafpaktos

    The fall of Missolonghi was met with muted celebration across the Ottoman Empire, with the loudest cheers of jubilation coming from Topkapi Palace in Constantinople. The infernal city had finally fallen to the Sultan’s armies, and there was no one more thrilled at the result than Sultan Mahmud II himself. By his command, the minarets throughout the city proclaimed the glories of Allah and the victories of his servants over the traitorous Greeks. Surprisingly, the least enthused about Missolonghi’s capture were the Ottoman soldiers themselves. Rumors spread across the empire, that it was the Egyptians and not the Turks who were responsible for the victory over the Greeks and rather than boosting their morale, it only fell further as a result.

    The yearlong undertaking needed to take the city had been great, of the 50,000 Albanian, Egyptian, and Turkish soldiers sent against the Greeks in the lagoon and in the city, over 18,000 had died, with as many men succumbing to illness as those who succumbed to Greek bullets or blades. Another 15,000 had been so badly mauled in the fighting or made to suffer from other maladies that they were rendered unfit for further combat against the Greeks, with most being mustered out of service entirely or relegated to garrison duty. Over the next month following the capitulation of Missolonghi, their numbers were reduced further still. His obligation fulfilled, Ibrahim and his remaining 4,500 men, many of which were wounded, departed for the Morea to complete his conquests there. Another 2,000 were called away to the East to aid in the last push against the Greeks of Atalanti and Salona. The Greeks who had escaped from Missolonghi also continued to prey upon the Ottomans when they ventured too far from their camps, killing or wounding an additional 2,300 Albanians and Turks between the beginning of May and the end of July.

    Command of the army was also an issue for the Ottomans. The death of Resid Mehmet Pasha in January had left the Ottoman troops effectively under the command of Ibrahim Pasha, but his departure soon after the siege’s conclusion in early May had now left them without a clear leader once again. The only other Ottoman commanders of any significance present at Missolonghi were the Kapudan Pasha, Khosref Pasha and Yusuf Sezeris, the Pasha of Euboea. Both men, however, refused to concede leadership to the other and as a result they did little more than argue for the next two months before Khosref Pasha was finally recalled to Constantinople in early July. Now alone, Yusuf Pasha set about installing garrisons in Missolonghi and its environs before he acted on orders of his own, the reconquest of Nafpaktos. The city and castle had fallen to the Greeks right from underneath Yusuf over two years ago, now was the chance for him to regain his lost honor.

    Reaching Nafpaktos on the 24th of July, with 6,000 infantrymen and 500 cavalrymen, he found the city and its castle lightly defended by no more than 900 Greeks in total, many of whom were likely townsfolk who had been levied for the defense of their city. His good fortune quickly ran out, however. While he could establish siege works along the western edge of the city, his efforts to the North and East were met with great resistance from the Greeks of Nafpaktos. Reinforcement by sea also proved to be an aggravating problem for the Ottomans as the Egyptian fleet had departed with Ibrahim, and much of the Ottoman Navy had left with Khosref Pasha leaving Yusuf with little more than 3 sloops, 2 brigs, and several smaller vessels to maintain a porous blockade around Nafpaktos. While the Ottomans held the Gulf of Patras, the Gulf of Corinth lay entirely in Greek hands, enabling them to quickly rush men and supplies into the city at a moment’s notice. One of those men was the French Philhellene Charles Fabvier.

    250px-Portrait_de_Charles_Nicolas_Fabvier.jpg

    Colonel Charles Nicolas Fabvier, French Officer and Philhellene

    Colonel Charles Nicholas Fabvier had served as an artillery officer and engineer in the armies of France during the Napoleonic wars. Fabvier had an illustrious military career under Napoleon serving with distinction in the Ulm Campaign, Russian Campaign, the Hundred Days Campaign and as a part of various diplomatic missions to the Ottoman Empire and Persia. His career was derailed by injuries which limited his time in the field of battle where he could gain glory or élan. Fabvier continued his service to France after the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy in 1815 but due to his strong association with the Revolution he was relegated to a minor role. After being charged with a crime he did not commit and repeatedly subjected to ridicule over his liberal beliefs, he was finally pushed out of the French Army entirely in 1823. With nowhere else to turn, he and a group of other French and Italian Bonapartists embarked on a ship bound for Greece to make a new beginning for themselves in Hellas.

    Arriving at Navarino in the Summer of 1824, Charles Fabvier intended to establish an agricultural and industrial colony with his fellow expatriates in Greece, but the needs of the Revolutionary Government compelled him to act in its defense.[1] Barely a month after arriving in Greece, Fabvier left for Britain to lobby additional support for the Greeks in London, where he raised funds and gathered volunteers to serve in Greece. After spending a year in Britain, he returned to Nafplion in mid-June of 1825, just in time for Ibrahim Pasha’s attack on the city. Fighting alongside Yannis Makriyannis in the battle of Lerna, Fabvier fought heroically alongside the Greeks earning their trust and comradery. For his valor, the Government, appointed him command of the 2nd Regiment of the Hellenic Army which was presently in Southern Roumeli outside Salona. The move also put him under the command of Odysseus Androutsos, the recently appointed Governor General of Eastern Roumeli.

    Androutsos had made amends with the Government in Nafplion over the Summer and Fall of 1824, due in large part to Byron’s payment of his arrears. Trewlany and Stanhope had both insisted upon Byron to finance their benefactor Androutsos, and while he was nowhere near as devoted to the man as his companions were, Byron recognized the importance of retaining the services of this talented man for the Greeks. Using his position as the custodian of the first English loan, Byron had the Nafplion Government pay Androutsos and their men for their services and bestowed upon them new weapons and fresh munitions. The apparent show of support galvanized Androutsos, as his vigor had been waning in the months following the disappointment that was the Congress of Salona, and compelled him to act. The news of his hated rival Ioannis Kolettis’ withdrawal from the Executive following his grievous injury at the hands of Charalamvis in January also pleased the klepht and did much to reconcile him with the Nafplion Government. [2]

    Together with his deputy Yannis Gouras, Androutsos moved North from Athens to fight off the Ottoman offensives towards Atalanti, Livadeia, and Salona for which he was named Governor General of Eastern Roumeli by the Nafplion Government. Though he was successful initially in halting the advance of Aslan Bey’s men near Bralos, his resources began to run dry. Gouras faced a similar problem as the Ottoman garrison in Khalkis regularly sortied across the Euripus Strait to raid his rear, diverting his own limited resources as well, enabling his opponent Osman Aga to make some gains along the coast. Reinforcements were also in short supply given the invasion of Ibrahim Pasha in the Morea and the beginning of the Third Siege of Missolonghi. Despite their valor, Androutsos and Gouras simply lacked the men and munitions to hold off the Turks indefinitely, still they made them pay for every plot of land they took. Ultimately, through sheer numbers the Ottomans forced the Greeks to cede ground and by the beginning of August, they had taken the hamlets of Bralos and Agios Konstantinos.

    250px-%CE%9F_%CE%9F%CE%B4%CF%85%CF%83%CF%83%CE%AD%CE%B1%CF%82_%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9_%CE%BF_%CE%93%CE%BA%CE%B9%CE%BF%CF%8D%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%82_%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%83%CF%84%CF%81%CE%AD%CF%86%CE%BF%CF%85%CE%BD_%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%82_%CE%B5%CF%87%CE%B8%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%8D%CF%82.jpeg

    Yannis Gouras Ambushes the Turks near Livanates

    The arrival of Charles Fabvier in Salona in August did much to sure up the flagging Greek defenses in the region. His experience as an engineer proved dividends in the hills and valleys of Phocis and Phthiotis, slowing the Turkish advance into a crawl in some places or halting it entirely in others. By the end of November 1825, the theater had stalemated as the Ottomans withdrew into Winter Quarters, effectively ending the offensive halfway. The coming of Spring in 1826 saw a resumption of the Ottoman attack, and like before, they slowly, yet methodically pushed the Greeks southward. Androutsos, however, opted to make his stand at Gravia, where he had famously defeated the Albanian Omer Vrioni nearly five years earlier.

    Despite being outnumbered nearly 10 to 1, Androutsos and 622 men successfully held off Aslan Bey and 5,800 Ottoman soldiers. Unable to crack the Greeks’ defenses after five long days, Aslan Bey was forced to call for reinforcements from Lamia. Fabvier, however, had managed to elude detection and positioned himself and nearly 240 Greeks and Philhellenes in the hills between Gravia and Lamia. When 1,100 Ottoman soldiers appeared along the road near Skamnos, Fabvier sprung his trap. 90 Ottomans were killed in the initial volley and another 370 would be lost in the subsequent hours, but by nightfall they had managed to link up with Aslan Bey when he dispatched his cavalry to rescue them. Despite getting his reinforcements, the existent of a small, but relatively sizeable force of Greeks to his rear made Aslan Bey’s situation increasingly untenable. The number of hostile Greeks in the area continued to rise every day as more and more men came to share in the glory of the looming victory. Seeking to avoid a repeat of Dramali’s Disaster, Aslan Bey decided to withdraw to Lamia, hounded all the way by opportunistic Greeks. While he managed to reorganize his forces, and was reinforced with additional men from Missolonghi, Aslan Bey proved reluctant to march forth once again, and instead opted to remain cloistered away in Lamia for several months.

    With the situation in Phocis stabilized for now, Fabvier was tasked with leading his men West to Nafpaktos to aid in the defense of the city. The situation in the region had barely changed in the two months since the siege began on the 24th of July. While Yusuf Pasha had finally managed to complete his trenches around the city in early August, they were just as porous as the naval blockade outside the city’s harbor, and the arrival of 11 more ships and 2,500 more soldiers in late August did little to rectify the mounting problems for the Ottomans. The Greek garrison within Nafpaktos had similarly grown from 900 to 1,600 by the time Fabvier arrived in early September. What’s more, Markos Botsaris, Demetrios Makris, and many of the surviving soldiers from Missolonghi constantly raided the Ottoman camp, disrupting their supply lines, cutting off their lines of communication, attacking their sentries, and effectively making life miserable for Yusuf Pasha and his men.

    When Fabvier arrived on the scene on the 26th of September with 2,900 regulars and irregulars to break the siege of Nafpaktos, Yusuf Pasha immediately turned his attention to this new threat, bringing 5,000 Ottoman soldiers and the entirety of his cavalry to greet them. Fabvier in preparation for their attack, readied rudimentary defenses and loaded grapeshot and shrapnel into his field guns, which he unleashed as soon as the Ottomans began to ford the Mornos river. Fabvier’s regulars, his Taktikon Infantry, stood shoulder to shoulder in line formation leveled their guns on the charging Ottomans and fired in a disciplined display of withering firepower.[3] Though the opening volley was certainly devastating, Yusuf and his men managed to overcome the paltry defenses and engage the Greeks in hand to hand combat. It was an intense affair, but Fabvier and his men conducted themselves admirably given the circumstances and held their ground until nightfall, effectively ending the battle. When morning came on the 27th of September, Yusuf Pasha discovered the Greeks had fled the field during the night.

    In truth, Fabvier and his regulars had withdrawn in good order to the coast where they embarked on a fleet of transports to carry them into the city under the cover of darkness. The klephts and militia that had joined with him would continue to harass the Ottomans from the hills and forests to the East in conjunction with Botsaris and Makris to the North and West respectively. After nearly three months the Ottomans had made little progress against Nafpaktos and what they had gained they had achieved at a steep price. The final death knell for the Ottoman siege of Nafpaktos would come not on land, but at sea.

    On the 10th of October, the Greek Admiral Andreas Miaoulis and 12 Greek ships, the 4th Rate Hellas, the 4th Rate Kronos, the frigate Leandros, the corvette Hydrai, the corvette Spetsei, and the steamship Karteria, among several others forced their way through the straits of Rio, brushing aside the cannon fire from the castles of Rio and Antirrio before beginning their attack on the Ottoman blockade of Nafpaktos. Though outnumbered 30 to 14, the Greeks, for the first time in the war possessed larger and more powerful ships than the Ottomans. The Karteria under the precise command of Captain Hastings proved especially deadly in this engagement, sinking 5 Ottoman ships by itself. Though coal was a precious resource in Greece, Hastings had rationed his stockpile expertly, saving it solely for situations such as these. With his furnaces running, Hasting’s ordered his crew to heat their shots and fire their carronades with less gunpowder so to imbed the shot within the planks of the enemy’s hull. The tactic worked brilliantly, setting three ships aflame and sinking two others in quick order. It was truly a marvel to behold for the Greeks, witnessing the steamship operate as it did. Traveling at about 8 knots, it smoothly maneuvered through the fighting ships confusing the Ottomans and amazing the Greeks.

    500px-Battle_of_Itea.jpg

    The Karteria in Battle at Nafpaktos

    Miaoulis also shared in the glory, sinking 3 Ottoman vessels with the Hellas. Of all the naval engagements of the war, the battle of Nafpaktos was among the most one sided. Within all of two hours, the Ottoman “fleet” was sent running or sent to the bottom of the sea, the Greeks only suffering some slight to moderate damage on four of their ships and the loss of about 28 sailors and marines. The Greeks, now possessing naval supremacy began to shell the Ottoman positions on land and escorting transports into the city from the Morea. Unable to maintain his lines, Yusuf Pasha was forced to abandon the siege of Nafpaktos and retreat to Missolonghi. The Greeks would deliver one last blow to the Ottoman commander.

    To the north of Krioneri, all of 10 miles from Missolonghi, the Ottoman army was ambushed by 1,300 Greeks and Souliotes under the command of Botsaris and Makris. Exhausted, starving, and ill equipped for a sudden confrontation, the Greeks fell upon the beleaguered Ottomans. In an instant, their morale vanished, their discipline failed them, and they chose to run and flee rather than stand and fight. In the chaos that ensued, over half of the 4,600 Ottomans that remained were captured or killed. Some, including Yusuf Pasha ran to the safety of Antirrio, while others managed to reach the sanctity of Missolonghi’s walls, the irony of which was not lost on the Greeks. For so long, those walls had protected the Greeks from the Ottomans, now they protected the Ottomans against the Greeks. Whatever the case may be, the Ottoman position in Western Greece had completely collapsed and it was only a matter of time before Missolonghi was once more in Greek hands.

    Greece Timeline Map Part 23 Fabvier and Nafpaktos.png

    Greece in the Fall of 1826
    Purple – Greece
    Green – Ottoman Empire
    Pink – The United States of the Ionian Islands​

    Next Time: Scourge No More


    [1] Many die hard Bonapartists fled France and Italy for Britain or Spain in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. Eventually, many returned to France to take part in the 1830 July Revolution, Fabvier himself took part in the event as well, serving as the Commander of revolutionaries in Paris.

    [2] As was the case across Greece, many men who fought for the Greeks went without pay, Androutsos was no exception. Having gone months without pay, and losing men and resources to other captains in favor with the Government, Androutsos, opened negotiations with the Ottomans regarding his defection. Unfortunately for Androutsos, he was captured by the Greeks in an ensuing battle, some accounts say he surrendered willingly, and was summarily imprisoned at the Acropolis where he was later found dead on the 17th of June 1825.

    [3] Taktikon is the Greek name for the modern European style army that they developed in the later years of the war.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 23: Scourge No More
  • Part 23: Scourge No More

    300px-IbrahimBaja.jpg

    Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt, Scourge of Hellas​

    With the fall of Missolonghi accomplished, Ibrahim Pasha and his exhausted Egyptians made the short voyage across the Gulf of Patras and into the Morea where they would continue the conquest of the Peloponnese from the year before. This time, however, their efforts found surprisingly little success due in large part to the thorough depletion of his force. Of the original 17,000 men that Ibrahim arrived in Methoni with over a year ago, about 1,000 had been lost at Navarino, another 1,300 at Maniakion, 2,600 fell at Argos and Myloi, more than 1,600 had been killed in the Morea since his departure for Missolonghi in January, and nearly 9,000 were killed or wounded at Missolonghi.[1] While he had been reinforced with 4,000 fresh recruits in August, an additional 5,000 over the Winter, and another 2,000 a few weeks after returning to the Morea, these men tended to be raw, inexperienced, and generally proved to be poor substitutes for the battle tested veterans Ibrahim had lost thus far.

    Worse still were the losses among his officer corps which suffered tremendous casualty rates, close to 70%. Unlike the vast bulk of his forces which could be easily replaced with new conscripts, Ibrahim’s officers had been extensively and exquisitely trained by the French and they had honed their craft even further through years of war in Arabia and Greece. Ibrahim’s brother in law, Hussein Bey, was one such officer, cut down at Missolonghi in the waning days of the battle. Ibrahim, himself had also been wounded at Missolonghi, an injury which sidelined him for much of the last month of the siege. As can be expected, the quality of his forces was noticeably lower in the Summer of 1826 than it was the year before, both in terms of discipline and the precision of their movements.

    Reinforcement and resupply also posed a burgeoning problem for Ibrahim and his men. The Ottomans vehemently resisted assisting him in any capacity, if Ibrahim was to be Pasha of the Morea, then it was his responsibility to win it himself. More surprising was the lack of support he received from his father Muhammad Ali, the Wali of Egypt. Following Missolonghi’s fall on the 30th of April, the better part of the Egyptian fleet immediately departed for Alexandria where it would remain for the remainder of the year. Though Ibrahim did not know it at the time, Muhammad Ali had opened negotiations with the Russians and British regarding his potential exit from the war, and the withdrawal of his fleets had been a sign of good faith for these negotiations.[2] While the occasional supply and transport ships would cross the sea to the Morea, the machinations of his father had left Ibrahim without any clear direction and he became increasingly isolated in Greece. At most, he had 11,000 men to call upon if one included the few Ottoman auxiliaries that followed his commands. Many of these men were wasted holding the numerous castles, cities, and villages across the Western littoral of the Morea, a country which had continued to aggravate and oppose him.

    At best Messenia had been thoroughly pacified, although some rebels remained in hiding in the hills. The coast running from Patras in the North to Kalamata in the South was also under his control, but most of his gains in the interior he had made over the last year had been lost to the Greeks. Ibrahim’s gains were only secure whilst he himself was present in the region. The moment he departed one area for another, the Greeks would come down from their hills and strike out against the garrisons that he had left behind. Over the Winter and early-Spring while Ibrahim was away at Missolonghi, the Egyptians were driven from Megalopolis, Mystras, Pellana, Sparta, and the area surrounding Tripolitsa. This sudden reversal in the Morea lies in large part with the vigorous campaigning of Panos Kolokotronis who took it upon himself to lead the resistance to Ibrahim with fire and axe. Striking from their hidden bases deep in the hills of the Morean interior, Panos and his band of men achieved as much success against the Egyptians as any had thus far.

    The return of Ibrahim to the region, however, heralded the end of these reversals. Even with his diminished force and lacking the support and guidance of his father, Ibrahim remained a dangerous and cunning foe. Landing in Patras on the 6th of May, Ibrahim cut a swath of devastation southward towards Kalamata. Though the city was officially under his control, it was known to have provided refuge to Panos and his partisans who operated in the area. For this treachery, Ibrahim intended to scourge the Greeks of Kalamata. When the local inhabitants refused to give up the location of Panos or the names of their supporters, Ibrahim had the homes of suspected insurgents burned to the ground. When the people protested or resisted in any manner, the men were slaughtered, the women and children enslaved, and their farms salted and scorched. This act was repeated across the Morea from Patras to Pylos; wherever there were Greeks who opposed him, Ibrahim made sure that they suffered. Rather than spread dread and fear among the Greeks, it incited further resistance to the Egyptians and provided Panos with ever more volunteers with which to oppose him.

    With Kalamata desolated, Ibrahim advanced eastward into Laconia, a region that had hitherto been mostly untouched by the war. Its people were among the most rebellious however, the Maniots of the Mani peninsula, located in the South of Laconia, were a warlike people, a rebellious people who had challenged the authority of the Ottoman sultans even at their height of power and glory. In all the years of Ottoman dominion over Greece, only the Mani had resisted the Turks with some degree of success.[3] When Ibrahim approached the Mani, he dispatched emissaries to demand the surrender of the Maniots, as to be expected the Maniots in no uncertain terms refused. Insulted, Ibrahim pressed on fully intending to pillage the region for its insolence.

    The first confrontation between the Maniots and Ibrahim came on the 5th of July near the fishing hovel of Almyros. Nearly 2,000 Greek Maniots and refugees had amassed behind the long wall protecting the village which ran from the seashore uphill for over a quarter mile, where it was anchored on the steep slopes of Mount Kalathi. While some Egyptians would attempt to circumvent the obstacles by treading through the sea to the West or climbing the mountains to the East, they were generally few in number and extremely exposed to Greek sharpshooters who made quick work of them. The wall also followed a dried-up riverbed providing the assembled Greeks with a moderately deep ditch right before the wall. There did exist several holes existed within the walls, but when the Egyptians attempted to rush these gaps, they found several cannons waiting for them. The ensuing volley ripped the charging Egyptians to shreds.

    111152607.jpg

    Almyros

    For nearly two weeks, the Maniots of Almyros under the inspired leadership of Georgios Mavromichalis, son of former executive President Petros Mavromichalis, kept the Egyptians at bay. When Ibrahim attempted to force the walls with infantry, they were repelled with ease. When he attempted to go around their positions, they were thwarted in their efforts. When he concentrated his artillery fire upon the center of the wall, it surprisingly withstood the mighty barrage. When he brought in gunboats to shell the Greek positions from behind, the Greeks withdrew up the hill only to return when the Egyptians attempted to push through. Nine separate attempts were made against the walls of Almyros, and they were repelled nine separate times. Ultimately, Ibrahim was forced to withdraw when Panos Kolokotronis arrived on the scene with his men, attempting to catch the Egyptians between him and the wall at Almyros. While the loss at Almyros was an embarrassing setback for Ibrahim, the defeat at Areopolis was truly a horrendous failure for him.

    Seeking to bypass the Greek defenses at Almyros, Ibrahim dispatched a squadron of ships and nearly 2,000 men, to take the town of Areopolis to the south, thus diverting the Maniots’ attention and resources with a second front. Unlike his prior stratagems, this gambit quickly backfired on Ibrahim. Though the Egyptians managed to successfully land at the bay of Diro on the 10th of July and achieved their goals of seizing and razing Areopolis, they were soon confronted by local Maniot women and children who delayed them long enough for help to arrive from neighboring villages. After three days in the outskirts and ruins of Areopolis, the Egyptians were forced to flee to their ships, only to find their vessels sinking into the bay and the Greek Navy waiting for them. Now under fire from both the land and the sea it was only a matter of time before they were destroyed.

    Forced between the choice of abandoning his men at Areopolis or potentially losing more trying to save them, Ibrahim chose the latter. As the Greeks had positioned their ships near Diro, he was forced to landed a second force of 1,500 men 4 miles to the north near Itilo. Progress was slow for the Egyptians marching south as they too were bogged down by the Maniots and suffered horrendous losses attempting to reach their comrades at Diro. Eventually at dusk on the 15th of July they managed to meet with the survivors of the first expedition, who numbered no more than 900 men by this time, and began marching north once more. The return journey was just as, if not more perilous for the Egyptians as the Maniots constantly hounded them for the entire night. When they finally reached Itilo the next morning, the panicked and exhausted Egyptians crowded the boats in an attempt to escape to the ships. Those that couldn’t find room on the rowboats were forced to swim to the ships leaving them at the mercy of the Greeks who continued to fire upon them from the shore. When they finally departed from Itilo for Ibrahim’s camp outside Kalamata barely 1300 souls remained.

    With half of his available manpower killed, wounded, or captured at Almyros and Areopolis, Ibrahim was forced to abandon his campaign against the Maniots for a time. For the next two months, Ibrahim remained on the defensive, fighting off frequent raids and stabilizing the frontier with the rebels, but with the arrival of fresh reinforcements in early September, 1,000 Egyptian infantrymen, 1,000 Arab infantrymen, and 400 Algerian, Berber, and Bedouin horsemen bringing his field army to a nominal strength of 6,500, he went on the offensive once more.

    When he arrived at Almyros on the 22nd of September, he found the village abandoned, the fields scorched, the wells filled in, and the livestock slaughtered. The Maniots had retreated to the hills and mountains, the valleys and ravines of the Mani, as if goading Ibrahim to advance further into them. Though he would run the risk of constant attacks by the raiders hiding in the hills, Ibrahim had been laid low by these people and sought to make clear his superiority over them. As expected the attacks came and as predicted, the attacks were generally poorly organized and lacked the coordination needed to seriously challenge him. After three days in the North of the Mani, Ibrahim had yet to encounter any large concentration of Greeks and began to proceed South.

    As they approached Kardamyli on their fourth day, the Egyptians began to encounter Greek ships off the coast. At first, they only exchanged blows with Ibrahim’s paltry fleet of gunboats, which acted as little more than a floating artillery detachment, but the further south Ibrahim went, the more daring they became. While his ships put up a good fight, they were no match for the proper warships the Greeks were utilizing. Many Greek vessels managed to break through Ibrahim’s naval screen enabling them to bombard the exposed Egyptian army as it marched along the coastal road. With the enemy ships shelling his column, Ibrahim was forced to turn inland where the steep mountains briefly gave way to rolling hills around Itilo. Ibrahim’s troubles did not end once he entered the hills, instead they worsened.

    Almost immediately, Ibrahim encountered a band of Greeks who had holed up inside the old castle of Kelefa which overlooked the main route into the interior. Despite only being manned by some 56 Greeks, the castle managed to withstand the Egyptians’ assault for nearly 7 hours before finally being overrun during the night. The strong resilience of the Maniots at Kelefa had more to do with the rough terrain of the Mani which limited the effectiveness of Ibrahim’s artillery. The castle had been strategically located atop a steep hill, well above the sights of the Egyptian cannons and while a plain was located to the south and east of the castle, it was laden with boulders and rocks, making it impossible to move artillery through it.

    Entering the hills on the 28th scarcely improved the Egyptians’ situation as the raids by the Maniots became deadlier and more frequent. The weather also began to turn against them as well as the Summer turned to Fall in Greece, the seasonal rains were especially incumbering, slowing their progress even further. On the 29th, Ibrahim’s scouts stumbled upon some Maniots who had hidden away within the castle of Old Karyoupolis and fired down upon the Egyptians as they approached, forcing Ibrahim to redirect to the south. 92 Greeks at old Karyoupolis resisted Ibrahim for nearly 2 days before finally fleeing in the middle of the night, and in the next village over another 58 Greeks obstructed the Egyptians at Drosopigi for nearly half a day before they were forced to retreat as well. The cost in lives needed to clear these obstructions were atrocious in relative terms with 282 dead and 475 more wounded between the three engagements. Despite the mounting casualties and the worsening conditions, Ibrahim pressed on.

    300px-Maxi_tis_Bergas_-_by_Peter_von_Hess.JPG

    The Maniots Attack

    After five arduous days in the mountains, Ibrahim Pasha and his force emerged on the other side of the peninsula near new Karyoupolis on the 2nd of October. As they had at every village since entering the hills, the Maniots had gathered at Karyoupolis to resist the Egyptian’s. Though it would take much of the day to finally subdue the Greeks, by evening, the city was secure. With Karyoupolis under his control, Ibrahim dispersed his forces to seize Skoutari, Neochori, and Vathi, which were surprisingly undefended unlike the previous towns they encountered. Ibrahim soon discovered why when he approached Gytheio with the remaining half of his force.

    While Ibrahim was preoccupied with Karyoupolis and the villages to the South, a Greek army was fast approaching from the North under the command of Yannis Makriyannis. Meeting with Panos Kolokotronis, Georgios Mavromichalis and nearly 2,000 Maniots and Moreots, the Greeks finally managed to catch Ibrahim at Gytheio, which was itself defended by nearly 800 Greeks. Outnumbered 3,000 to 3,800, Ibrahim began a fighting withdrawal back up the winding road to Karyoupolis, but in the commotion of the battle some units began to waver. In a reversal of Maniakion, Ibrahim’s Arab infantry panicked when gunfire was heard to their rear and fled the field of battle in a complete rout. His position collapsing before him and his subordinates urging him to escape while he still could, Ibrahim for the first and only time during the entire war, fled the field of battle.

    Most of those that remained were cut down where they stood. Those that opted to surrender generally fared no better as the Maniots and Moreots sought to avenge the crimes that had been committed against them, and slaughtered the enemy where they stood. Greek sources from the battle cite the total number of Egyptian dead at over 2,500, while the Egyptians sources list a more likely number of 1,359, which still represents a significant portion, nearly one half, of Ibrahim’s force in the battle. The defeat of Ibrahim at Gytheio caused the entire Mani to flare up in rebellion and in the coming days, the Egyptians were forced to abandon their gains in the region.

    While Ibrahim would cling to his conquests in the north of the peninsula for several more days, by the beginning of November he had withdrawn to Kalamata as the Maniot attacks continued unabated. This too proved to be too much to hold with his available manpower and was ultimately abandoned in mid-November in favor of a defensive line across the Pamisos River to the West. Before leaving the Mani, Ibrahim, in one last act of defiance, razed every village under his occupation to the ground. Rather than demonstrating to the Greeks the futility of their resistance, Ibrahim’s invasion of the Mani did just the opposite. It had shown to all the Greeks that he was not invincible, it had shown them that they could really beat him, and it showed them that he was vulnerable now more than ever.

    Greece Timeline Map Part 24 Scourge No More.png

    Greece on the 1st of December 1826
    Purple – Greece
    Green – Ottoman Empire
    Pink – The United States of the Ionian Islands​


    Next Time: The Prince of Egypt


    [1] Had Missolonghi not fallen when it did in OTL and TTL, it is extremely likely that the siege would have been lifted in the next month as the Ottomans and Egyptians simply lacked the manpower available to continue the siege. It was a terribly pyrrhic victory for the Ottomans in OTL, and even more so in TTL. As a result, the Ottomans and Egyptians are essentially crippled offensively because of their incredibly high casualties and the death of Resid Pasha.

    [2] Muhammad Ali also used the withdrawal of his fleet as leverage against the Ottomans, to gain even more concessions out of Sultan Mahmud II, namely appointing Muhammad Ali as Serasker and the ousting of Khosref Pasha, the Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Navy.

    [3] The Mani was effectively a lawless region of the Ottoman Empire, where the local Greek Maniots ruled themselves. The Porte generally viewed the region as poor and relatively worthless compared to the price needed to secure it. In the end, it was decided to let the Maniots retain some degree of autonomy so long as they remained loyal to the Empire.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 24: The Prince of Egypt
  • Part 24: The Prince of Egypt

    250px-ModernEgypt%2C_Muhammad_Ali_by_Auguste_Couder%2C_BAP_17996.jpg

    Muhammad Ali, Wali of Egypt

    The events in Greece were of great interest to the Wali of Egypt, Muhammad Ali and by the beginning of Summer of 1826, the war seemed as good as won for the Porte. The fall of Missolonghi in late April had done little to improve his opinion of the flagging Ottoman military tradition, however, as the city had been won, not by Turkish arms, but by Egyptian blood. Progress towards it capitulation was made only after Ibrahim had arrived, were it not for his son’s efforts, the city may very well still be in Greek hands. This opinion was reinforced with the slow progress the Ottomans had achieved in Southern Rumelia over the past year. Ibrahim also met with problems in the Morea, surprisingly, as the Maniots and Moreots continued to resist him to an alarming degree. Unlike the Cretans and Cypriots, the Moreots resisted Ibrahim to the last man, woman, child if necessary.

    It was becoming increasingly clear that pacifying the Morea would take many months, maybe even years to accomplish and the price in blood needed to do so would be massive. The value of the Morea was also steadily declining as Ibrahim continued to sack and pillage its settlements to cow the Greeks into submission, efforts which were clearly working against him. Nearly the entirety of Elis, Messenia, and much of Achaea had been depopulated causing the local economy in the region to collapse, villages had been burnt, thousands had been killed, and thousands more had been enslaved, yet the Greeks continued to resist him. The Fall campaign in the Mani had proven as much. To prevent the further loss of lives and resources, Muhammad Ali messaged his son to loiter about along the Morean littoral and, so long as it could be avoided, Ibrahim was to avoid any pitched engagements with the Greeks until he permitted him to do so. Muhammad Ali was no coward and he was certainly not above sending men to their deaths by the thousands if need be to achieve his aspirations, but it was becoming increasingly evident that victory for the Ottomans was no longer the inevitability that it once was.

    While at first, the withdrawal of the Egyptian fleet was merely a ploy meant to coerce Sultan Mahmud II into making more concessions to him for his continued service. Muhammad Ali was clearly growing tired with the war in Greece, a war which was becoming more of an Egyptian war than an Ottoman war with every passing day. If he was to continue to “faithfully” serve his liege lord, then he demanded further privileges for himself and his sons, and that meant more power and more territory. Negotiations with the Sultan proved difficult, as the Summer campaigning season had been relatively successful thus far, before the setbacks of the Fall, Muhammad Ali was deprived of much of his bargaining power. The Sultan had also begun to enact his administrative and military reforms, chief among them was the effort to curtail the Janissaries.

    The fall of Missolonghi had provided Sultan Mahmud with enough political capital to forge an unlikely alliance between the modernizers and the clergy to finally do away with the corrupt and indulgent Janissaries.[1] Over the years, Mahmud had been steadily replacing the more obstinate commanders of the Janissaries with likeminded individuals who supported his reforms. Though it would take many years, by the Summer of 1826 he had finally built up enough good will and support to launch his long-awaited plan to dissolve the Janissaries. Each of the 50 Janissary regiments were to provide 150 men for a new, modern fighting force along the lines of the Egyptian soldiers, the Sekban-i Cedit. Coinciding with the beginning of the siege of Nafpaktos, Mahmud paraded his new troops through the capital of Constantinople alongside the Sipahis, the longtime rivals of the Janissaries. The entire production was meant to humiliate the Janissaries, and as expected it achieved its desired result.

    The Janissaries mutinied, on the 10th of July as they began their revolt with the customary flipping of their cooking pots, renouncing the Sultans protection and authority. Within moments of their declaration, the Janissaries marched on Topkapi Palace only to be attacked by the Sekban-i Cedit, the Sipahis, and the people of Constantinople who had grown tired of the Janissaries indulgences and rallied by the banner of the Prophet which the Sultan had unveiled. The Janissaries were quickly forced to flee, with many barricading themselves in their barracks and the rest scattering across the Rumelia. Those that remained in Constantinople were soon massacred by the angry mob when the gates to their barracks were blown open by cannon fire and the buildings were set ablaze. Over 6,000 Janissaries were killed in the fighting, along with several hundred soldiers loyal to the Sultan and an untold number of civilians. The surviving Janissaries from the Capital were later taken to Thessaloniki where they were put to death by decapitation.[2] With this Sword of Damocles finally destroyed, Mahmud finally began his long-awaited reforms and delayed responding to Muhammad Ali’s demands, forcing the Khedive of Egypt to look elsewhere for his spoils. Surprisingly, the source of his prospective bounty would come from an unlikely source.

    500px-White_tower_1912.jpg

    The Red Tower of Thessaloniki, Site of the Janissary Leaders’ Executions

    The cooling relations between the Ottoman Sultan and the Egyptian Wali was seen by the British and the Russians as a growing break between the two, one which could benefit the Greeks immensely. Stratford Canning, cousin of British Foreign Minister George Canning, was an especially vocal advocate of turning Egypt against Turkey to the benefit of Greece, and petitioned his cousin to see whether this fracture would bear fruit or not. To that end, the British government instructed their consul in Alexandria to meet with Muhammad Ali and ascertain his intentions. It quickly became apparent to the British Consul Henry Salt, that Muhammad Ali was seeking an exit from the war in Greece. The Greeks had proven themselves to be more difficult to subdue than anticipated and the intransigence of the Ottomans had proven more aggravating than the Greeks. If the Powers that be, permitted unto the Wali of Egypt the right to aggrandize himself towards Arabia, he would quit the war with the Greeks at once.

    The terms were relayed to London at once, arriving in the Fall of 1826. Unfortunately, this coincided with a civil war in Portugal between the Liberals and the Miguelites over the succession of King Joao IV.[3] In November, the Spanish and French in alignment with the Miguelites began pressing towards the Portuguese border sparking a crisis in Parliament. As Portugal was a longtime and faithful ally of Britain, matters on the Iberian Peninsula took precedence over Egypt and Greece, and the matter of Muhammad Ali’s peace terms were shelved. Canning, in a show of force dispatched a regiment of redcoats to Lisbon to aid the Portuguese loyalists in the defense of their country, their very presence, however, had the added effect of discouraging France and Spain from invading Portugal directly. Without outside support, the Liberals managed to fend off the now isolated Miguelites by themselves and though the conflict would continue for several more years, the British had seen to the Liberal’s victory without having to fire a single shot.

    When the topic of Egypt was brought up again in January 1827, the British found that the situation in the Orient had continued to change in their absence. Muhammad Ali, lacking a definitive response from the British, had reopened negotiations with the Sultan regarding his continued contribution to the war. In the process, he revealed his dialogue with the British as a means of leverage, forcing his liege to make additional concessions to him. His cause was aided by the fact that the Sultan’s position had also weakened since the Summer. The setbacks of his armies at Nafpaktos, Krioneri, Gravia, and Atalanti, combined with the slew of victories at sea by the Greeks in the absence of the Egyptian fleet, had shown Sultan Mahmud II how weak his hand really was. Combined with the prospect of intervention by the powers, the Sultan had no choice but to accept Muhammad Ali’s demands. In return for reconciling with his liege, Muhammad Ali was named Serasker of the Ottoman Armies in Rumelia and the Morea, and Khosref Pasha, the Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Navy was to be replaced with a candidate of the Muhammad Ali’s choosing. Though the terms were not yet settled by the time a new delegation under Stratford Canning arrived in Alexandria; it was clear that if the British were to reopen the chasm between the Egyptians and the Ottomans, Canning would require more concessions to purchase the Wali’s peace.

    Negotiations between the two sides was tense as Muhammad Ali’s terms were difficult to accept as his price for peace had increased dramatically. In return for his neutrality in the war between the Ottoman Empire and the Greeks, Muhammad Ali wanted recognition for his conquests of Crete, Cyprus, and the Sudan in addition to a free hand in Arabia as he had requested the previous Summer. He also wanted to be recognized as Khedive of Egypt, rather than Wali, providing legitimacy to his son’s future rule in Egypt. Still this was not enough. If the powers wanted his neutrality, he wanted something more appetizing, something more important, he wanted Syria and not just the Eyalet of Damascus, he wanted all of Syria from Gaza to Alexandretta.[4]


    500px-RecepcionMehmetAli.jpg

    Muhammad Ali meets with Canning and the British Delegation​

    The concession of the Sudan was of little consequence to the Powers as it was a relative backwater, a land with little strategic or economic value, and among other things it was already under his control. Arabia was somewhat more challenging to accept given the location of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina in the Hejaz, but as with the Sudan, it was already under Muhammad Ali’s tentative occupation and forcing him to vacate the region would likely take a war. As a result, this too was agreed upon with the treaty between them formalizing the facts on the ground. The other terms were more difficult to accept. Crete and Cyprus were problematic as they would almost certainly create tension between the Greeks and the Egyptians in the future. Whether that tension would lead to war was unknown, but the islands had also been bestowed upon the Wali by the Ottoman Sultan and under the dominance of Muhammad Ali since 1824 and 1823 respectively. Syria was too much to accept however, and ultimately the talks stalled at the end of March. Fortunately, events in Greece continued to conspire to bring the talks to a successful end.

    Despite his posturing, Muhammad Ali’s situation in Greece wasn’t much better than that of Sultan Mahmud II. Ibrahim, had himself nearly been captured or killed at Gytheio, and his army was in tatters, with no more than 6,200 men from Patras to Methoni. The Greeks for their part had held up well, holding the Egyptians to a thin swath of land along the West coast of the Morea. It had also helped that Ibrahim’s initiatives to savage the Moreots had failed miserably, resulting in a deluge of volunteers and partisans ready to oppose him at every turn. While Muhammad Ali had finally released his fleet to aid his son, the quantity of reinforcements needed to turn around the war in Greece would take months to assemble, months that Ibrahim did not have.

    In April, Panos Kolokotronis led 700 men on raid against the city of Pyrgos while Ibrahim was away in the South chasing another band of Moreots under Yannis Makriyannis. Surprisingly, the town was lightly defended by some 400 Egyptian and Algerian soldiers who, despite their bravery, quickly fell to the surprise attack of Panos and the Greeks. The citadel would continue to hold out for several more days, but by the time Ibrahim learned of these events and moved to aid them on the 17th, it was too late. Despite his own fearsome reputation and skill, Ibrahim could not be everywhere at once, allowing the Greeks to continuously pick his men off while he was elsewhere. Ibrahim himself would also fall into a trap set by the Greeks near Pyrgos as he moved to retake the city. As he crossed the Alfios River on the 20th, Ibrahim was ambushed by Moreots under Panos and his brothers in conjuncture with auxiliaries from the Greek Government. Though he succeeded in crossing the river and driving off the Kolokotroneoi from the field, it was a pyrrhic victory for Ibrahim as over 900 of his men lay dead or dying after the battle with hundreds more wounded.

    Despite rushing 2,900 reinforcements to Greece at the end of May, it was too little too late for Ibrahim. The Greeks, despite nearing their own breaking point, sensed blood in the water and pushed as hard as they could against the Egyptians. Steadily, the Egyptian position was pushed back until only several castles and towns along the coast remained under Ibrahim’s control. His strongest force being no more than 3,400 men in a pocket in littoral Messenia, with another 1,200 in a pocket along the coast from Kyparissia to Zacharo, and more than 2,200 in the area from Gastouni to the village of Dymi in the North. It was clear to all that Ibrahim’s position in Greece had finally collapsed.

    To save his son from the retribution of the Greeks, Muhammad Ali called out to the British and Russian delegates and agreed to latest terms with little complaint on the 10th of June. In return for the confirmation of his status as Khedive of Upper and Lower Egypt as well as recognition of his gains in the Sudan and granting him a free hand in the Hejaz, Muhammad Ali, Ibrahim Pasha, and their respective military forces operating in Greece would be withdrawn immediately, including the islands of Crete and Cyprus. Details of the Treaty of Alexandria were dispatched to Constantinople and Nafplion respectively, causing Sultan Mahmud to go blue in the face with rage at the traitorous Egyptians. The reaction in Greece was little better surprisingly. Though they were grateful for the swift exit of the Egyptians from the war, the manner in which it had been brought about was incensing as it denied the Moreots their chance at vengeance, but more than that, it ended the conflict in the Morea with a farce.

    An unofficial agreement written into the treaty of Alexandria was a clause which stipulated Ibrahim would only surrender his positions willingly to the Powers and not to the Greeks. The relay of this term to the Greeks was problematic, and was intentionally delayed by the Nafplion Government, resulting in several skirmishes over the course of the Fall of 1827 until the French landed forces in the Morea in November. By the beginning of 1828, Ibrahim and all his men had fully withdrawn from Greece. The transfer of territory proved more difficult in the islands, however. Ottoman forces had managed to quickly reoccupy Cyprus before it could rebel once more and they managed to secure the coastal cities of Agios Nikolaos, Heraklion, and Sitia in the eastern half of Crete before the local Cretans could liberate them. Their attempts to reoccupy Chania and Rethymno were crushed, however, by the Greek navy under Lord Cochrane and Admiral Miaoulis who sank or sent running the Ottoman fleet dispatched to retake Crete. With the Ottoman navy dealt with, the Greeks quickly managed to reinforce the Cretans establishing a siege of the few remaining Ottoman strongholds on the island.

    One last point of debate was the unresolved matter of Syria. It had been intentionally left out of the treaty, yet something was lost in translation regarding the reasoning behind this decision. The British, French, and Russian delegations had believed the term was over and done with, never to be addressed again. Muhammad Ali and his advisors, however, were under the impression that the door remained open on the issue, one that would be revisited at a later more appropriate date. One thing was certain Muhammad Ali had traded an ongoing conflict with the Greeks for a future conflict with the Ottomans.

    Greece Timeline Map Part 24 Prince of Egypt(1).png

    Greece on the 10th of June 1827
    Purple – Greece
    Green – Ottoman Empire
    Pink – The United States of the Ionian Islands​

    Next Time: The Intervention of the Powers


    [1] Mahmud managed to win the support of the Clergy by increasing their privileges, constructing new mosques, refurbishing old mosques, etc. In a sense, he had traded the Janissaries for the Clergy, but in doing so he had deprived them of their traditional ally and military force.

    [2] Not all Janissaries were killed in the Auspicious Incident. Most were simply reassigned to new units, some were imprisoned or exiled, and others managed to escape to Rumelia where they went into hiding for many years. Only the Captains that opposed Mahmud II’s reforms and the mutinying Janissaries in Constantinople were executed.

    [3] The death of King Joao in March 1826 resulted in a succession crisis. His eldest son Pedro of Brazil was technically next in line for the Portuguese Throne, but neither the Brazilians nor the Portuguese wanted a dual monarchy. To appease both countries, Pedro abdicated the crown of Portugal in favor of his daughter Maria who was only 7 at the time. His brother Miguel argued that his brother had renounced his claims, and the claims of his children, to the throne of Portugal and that he was the rightful King. As a result, war broke out between their supporters resulting in the Liberal Wars.

    [4] Syria in this sense refers to the levant, basically the Mediterranean coast running from Egypt to Turkey. This includes the Eyalet of Damascus, the Eyalet of Tripoli, the Eyalet of Sidon, and the Eyalet of Aleppo.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 25: The Intervention of the Powers
  • Part 25: The Intervention of the Powers

    600px-Prise_de_Coron_par_le_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9ral_de_brigade_S%C3%A9bastiani.jpg

    The French Arrive in the Morea

    The withdraw of Egypt from the Greek War of Independence was one of several achievements for British Foreign Minister George Canning in the year 1827. In continuation of the Protocol of St. Petersburg, Britain, and Russia, later joined by France in August of 1826, began negotiations over a united front with which to bring about a peaceful conclusion to the war in Greece. Unfortunately, the events in Greece were not the only problems facing Canning and the Powers at that time. As mentioned before, Portugal was in the throes of civil war with Britain and France arranged on opposing sides. Though the guile and bravado of Canning, war was averted between the powers sparing Europe from a far greater conflict that year. Another more internal and personal problem emerged in the February of 1827, the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool fell ill and was forced to retire from office soon after in early April leaving a power vacuum in Parliament.

    Canning was by all rights the favored candidate to succeed Liverpool. He was a tenured member of Parliament, having served as Paymaster of the Forces, Treasurer of the Navy, Ambassador to Portugal, President of the Board of Control for the British East India Company, Leader of the House of Commons, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Foreign Minister) on two separate occasions no less. His most recent term as Foreign Minister had been especially successful, with victories in both Lisbon and St. Petersburg, he had also opened Latin America to British trade, and he was a strong proponent of abolishing slavery throughout the Empire. Most importantly, he had the support of the Duke of Clarence and his brother King George IV. Despite their tenuous history with each other, the King appointed Canning as Prime Minister on the 10th of April.[1]

    Still this did not appease all members of the Tory Party. The Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, had been his chief rival for the office and resigned from the Cabinet in protest of Canning’s appointment. Many other High Tories in the cabinet, like Sir Robert Peel the Home Secretary, also resigned from the cabinet along with nearly 45 High Tories in Parliament, all of which refused to support Canning’s government leaving it on tenuous footing. As a result, Prime Minister Canning was forced to form a coalition between the moderate wing of the Tories, the Canningites, and the Whigs to form a functioning government. As such, much of the cabinet under Canning was comprised of his good friends like Lord Dudley, who served as Foreign Secretary, Viscount Goderich, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and William Sturges-Bourne as Home Secretary and then later as First Commissioner of the Woods and Forests. To gain the Whig's support, Canning appointed several of their number to his Cabinet with Lord Lansdowne as Home Secretary, and George Tierney as the Master of Mint. With his cabinet established by the end of June, Canning immediately went to work finalizing the treaty with the French and the Russians regarding Greece.

    When the Russian and French delegates arrived in London at the end of the month, they quickly agreed to the most recent edition of the treaty, signing it on the 5th of July. In terms of intent, the Treaty of London was very similar to the Protocol of St. Petersburg, although there were some key differences. The Treaty of London possessed 7 open articles, as well as 3 closed articles that were privy only to the signing Powers themselves. As with the Protocol of St. Petersburg the 7 open articles called for:
    · Greece shall be established as an autonomous dependency of the Ottoman Empire, paying an agreed annual tribute.

    · The Greeks shall choose their own governing authorities, but with significant influence by the Ottoman Empire over the proceedings.

    · Greece shall have complete freedom of conscience, freedom of trade, and freedom of internal administration.

    · To separate the Greeks from the Turks, the government of Greece shall acquire all Turkish property within its territory.

    · If mediation is rejected by the Ottoman Empire, then these proposals shall form the basis of intervention by Britain, France, and Russia in a joint action.

    · The future extent of Greece shall be settled once the conflict is ended.

    · Britain, France, and Russia shall not seek for themselves any territorial gains, exclusive influence or commercial advantage from the mediation.


    By in large, these articles mostly followed the terms initially set forth in the Protocol of St. Petersburg, aside from amending the terms of the Protocol to reflect the addition of France as a joint partner. There were two important, albeit minor differences between this treaty and the previous protocol, the first being the elimination of a guarantee for the agreement. In effect, the Powers were under no pressure to enforce any of the 7 open articles set forth in the Treaty of London. The Powers also agreed to refrain from acting alone in Greece preventing the unilateral engagement of one power in the conflict, ensuring a unified and unbiased endeavor for peace. The major departure from the earlier Protocol of St. Petersburg, however, lay within the three closed articles which were more determinative of the Powers’ course of action.
    · Britain, France, and Russia shall establish commercial and diplomatic relations with Greece, recognizing her status as an autonomous state.

    · If within a month’s time of receiving this treaty’s terms, the Ottoman Empire has refrained from accepting the joint calls for an armistice and mediation by the Powers, Britain, France, and Russia shall intervene in the conflict to enforce such an armistice.

    · Lastly, should the powers intervene in the conflict, an expeditionary force of the British, French, and Russian navies shall be dispatched to the region to enforce the armistice, and they shall be permitted the use of appropriate force to achieve that end.[2]


    The final two secret articles were amended over the course of the following days. The time limit for the armistice was shortened from a month to a fortnight, and the last article was modified after the signing of the Treaty of Alexandria. The admirals in command of the expeditionary force were subsequently instructed to receive the surrender of Ibrahim Pasha and his men as well as escort them safely to Egypt in addition to their previous orders to enforce peace in the region. For Canning, this was the culmination of nearly three years of work, both as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, the effort had quite noticeably taken its toll on him however.

    While his health had never strong following his duel with Castlereagh nearly 18 years prior, he had been plagued all year with terrible bouts of illness since the funeral of Frederick, the Duke of York in January. These coughing fits often left him weak and bedridden for hours, sometimes even days on a few occasions. Added to that, the rigors and exhaustion of running a government the size and scale of Britain’s weighed heavy on him at all hours. Suffice to say, the entire endeavor had left him weak and sickly, forcing him to take a temporary leave of absence from office on the first of August to save in failing health.[3]

    Suffice to say, the secret articles did not remain secret for long, although surprisingly, they remained secret to the Ottomans far longer than expected. Blithely unaware of these terms and the pending interdiction by the Great Powers represented in them, the Ottomans as they had for all the prior attempts to end the war in a manner not to their liking, rejected the calls for an armistice almost immediately. The Sultan was in no mood for diplomacy with the Greeks so soon after the betrayal of Muhammad Ali and the Egyptians, and while the setbacks against his forces had been painful they were not anywhere near terminal. Even without the men and resources of Egypt, the Ottomans still possessed many times the men and resources of the Greeks. Still, officials of the Porte recognized the threat presented by Britain, France and Russia for what it was and dispatched what forces they could to the front with Greece. If they could reduce the territory held by the Greeks or defeat them entirely, which was unlikely at present, they believed they could limit their losses more so than if they accepted the current calls for peace and opted for negotiations.

    When word of the treaty reached Greece, the reaction was jubilation as people danced in the streets for the Ottomans would surely reject the call for an armistice just as they had for all the others, resulting in the intervention of the Powers. Rather than being pleased by the news, Kapodistrias was more hesitant towards the Powers intervention. Accepting the meditation of the Britain, France, and Russia would put Greece at their mercy just as it would the Ottomans. Whatever terms they set for Greece would be hoisted upon them with little consideration of the Greeks themselves. Still, he would rather the Powers be his ally than his enemy and accepted their calls for an armistice.

    With the Ottomans unflinching in their opposition and the Greeks reluctantly agreeing, the British, French, and Russians made their move. Enacting the last clause of the Treaty of London the Allied Fleet under the joint command of British Vice Admiral Edward Codrington, French Rear Admiral Henri de Rigny, and Russian Rear Admiral Lodewijk Heyden departed for the Aegean on the 19th of August.[4] Due to his seniority over de Rigny, and his better familiarity with the Mediterranean over Heyden, Codrington was elected as the Expeditions’ unofficial leader in matters of debate, deliberation, and diplomacy. While they were instructed to behave as neutral arbiters in Greece and promote peace there, it was clear that biases existed among its members.


    16771.jpg
    248px-Rigny%2C_Henri_de.jpg
    310px-Sigismund_Gustaaf_graaf_Van_Heiden_Reinestein2.jpg

    Sir Edward Codrington (Left), Count Henri de Rigny (Center), Count Lodewijk Heyden (Right)

    The British contingent of 13 ships was stocked with various Philhellene officers like Captain Hamilton of the Cambrian who had provided the Greeks with unofficial, if not illicit support at the battle of Myloi over two years before. Codrington was himself a prominent Philhellene as well and had been a leading member of the London Greek Committee since its inception. The Russians, under Heyden, were also clearly disposed against the Ottomans and if anything, were looking for an excuse to fight them at every turn. The French were perhaps the most neutrally inclined of the three with de Rigny being personally against assisting the Greeks, their efforts were mainly focused towards the evacuation of the Egyptians from Greece.

    Making port at Navarino on the 11th of September, the French began disembarking their men under Lieutenant General Nicholas Joseph Maison. Though it would take some time, Maison managed to successfully transfer control of Pylos from Ibrahim and the Egyptians. Once the Egyptians were safely away, Maison transfered control of Navarino to the Greeks. This spectacle was repeated at Methoni, Koroni, Kyparissia, Gastouni, Kastro, Kyllini, Andravida, Dymi, Larissos, Movri, and Olenia. By Christmas, the entirety of the Morean coast from Kalamata to the outskirts of Patras had been returned to the Greeks.

    The Ottomans in Patras would continue to resist the Greeks and the French for a time, but with their commander Yusuf Pasha trapped in Missolonghi its garrison soon capitulated to the allied forces as well in late January 1828. The fall of Patras set off a cascade of capitulations by the remaining Ottoman holdouts in the region with Rio, Antirrio, the Castle of the Morea, and the Castle of the Roumeli all surrendering to the Greeks between February and March of 1828. Missolonghi, surprisingly, would be the last Ottoman position in the region but it too surrendered in the late April as starvation finally forced Yusuf Pasha to surrender. While events in the Morea proved relatively peaceful, they were anything but in the Aegean.

    Greece Timeline Map Part 25 Intervention of Powers(1).png

    Greece on the 1st of May 1828
    Purple - Greece
    Green - Ottoman Empire
    Pink - The United States of the Ionian Islands​

    Next Time: Crete, Chios, and the Cesme Incident

    [1] Canning had been especially vocal in opposing King George IV’s efforts to divorce his wife Queen Caroline and for his shameful treatment of her. He also distrusted Canning for his more liberal leanings, Canning was from the more moderate wing of the Tory party, whereas the King was a staunch Conservative. Still, the King recognized his talents and did not oppose his appointment as Prime Minister.

    [2] The call for an armistice was little more than an excuse for the Powers to intervene in Greece. They provided the Ottomans with terms that they would obviously reject and use that rejection as a casus-belli for their involvement in the region.

    [3] George Canning died on August 8th, 1827 only a month after the passing of the Treaty of London. The cause of his death is generally attributed to the illness he caught during the funeral service of the Duke of York back in January. The service had been held in an unheated church, and the resulting illness left him deathly ill. While he would survive for several more months the rigors of office took their toll on him resulting in his OTL death. Immediately after the completion of the Treaty of London, Canning delved into efforts to entice Muhammad Ali away from Sultan Mahmud II which occupied his attention and energies, in addition to his other work. With the Treaty of Alexandria already accomplished, Canning has an opportunity for a brief respite to rest, resulting in his prolonged life ITTL.

    [4] These are the same Admirals who led the OTL intervention. While the Russian and French ships are tentatively under the supreme leadership of Codrington they are more or less autonomous. There are 13 British warships, 7 French warships, and 8 Russian warships in this peace keeping force. Codrington was only given overall command of the operation because of his seniority over de Rigny and his experience in the Mediterranean over Heyden.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 26: Crete, Chios, and the Cesme Incident
  • Part 26: Crete, Chios, and the Cesme Incident

    550px-Navarin_Garneray.jpg

    The Battle of Cesme

    As the Powers worked to bring peace between the Ottoman Empire and Greece on the mainland, the war had only intensified across much of the Aegean since their arrival in the region. In the South, the island of Crete roared to life after the evacuation of the Egyptian garrison in late December 1827. Though the island had been a hotbed of rebel activity against the Ottomans for much of the war, it had fallen silent in recent years following the Egyptian conquest of Crete in the Summer of 1824. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of Cretans were slain in the process and tens of thousands fled to the mainland seeking refuge. Even still, the Greeks continued to retain a hold on the island of Gramvousa to the Northwest and the castle of Kissamos on Crete itself against heavy Egyptian and Ottoman opposition. Cretan partisans also continued to operate in the hills and mountains of Crete, striking against vulnerable patrols and striking out where they could. Still they required a better opportunity if they wished to free all of Crete from the Ottomans and Egyptians.

    That opportunity came in the Fall of 1827 with the exit of Muhammad Ali and the soldiers from the war. In the ensuing weeks, Crete quickly became a vacuum as the Egyptians left the island in droves, a vacuum that was soon filled by the local Cretans who once more rose in revolt against the few remaining Ottoman forces on the island. The Ottomans managed to reinforce the island with 1,000 soldiers in late December, but the Greek Navy soon joined by the British, French, and Russian expeditionary fleet, became dominant on the seas and prohibited the further transport of men and war materials to Greece. While this wasn’t so much of an issue for the Ottoman strongholds on the mainland, for the Ottoman outposts on Crete it was a death knell. Despite being heavily outnumbered and now isolated from resupply and reinforcements, the Ottomans managed to retain control of several cities along the northern and Southern coasts of Crete, namely Heraklion, Agios Nikolaos, Lerapetra, Sitia and a few smaller villages in the Northeast corner of the island nearest Anatolia, albeit just barely.

    Rather than wait passively for the Powers to pacify the region in their stead, Kapodistrias took the initiative and dispatched a force of men and ships under the command of the Epirote Hatzimichalis Dalianis to liberate Crete from the remaining Egyptian and Ottoman soldiers on the island. Arriving at the newly liberated port city of Chania on the 11th of January, the Greeks, numbering about three battalions of infantry and two companies of cavalry, roughly 1,400 men on foot and 200 plus on horses and mules in total, immediately moved to East along the Northern coast towards Heraklion. Heraklion was the largest city remaining under Ottoman control on the island. Its defenses were also the toughest, with large stout walls, and the mighty Venetian citadel Castello a Mare sitting amid the city’s silted in harbor. The garrison at Heraklion was also the strongest on the island with slightly over 2,000 regular Ottoman, Albanian, and Egyptian soldiers, along with several hundred armed civilians. Lastly, they were led the ambitious Albanian commander Mustafa Naili Pasha.

    220px-Hatzimichalis_Dalianis.JPG
    244px-Mustafa_Naili_Pasha.jpg

    Hatzimichalis Dalianis (Left) and Mustafa Naili Pasha (Right)​

    Despite being a subordinate of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, Mustafa Naili had remained behind on Crete following the withdraw of Egypt from the War. The Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, upon learning of the Treaty of Alexandria, reached out to the various Egyptian commanders in Greece in an attempt to retain their services for the Porte, or at least delay their departure long enough until his own forces could become available in their stead. Though his efforts generally bore little fruit in the Morea, they were relatively successful in Crete as Mustafa Naili and members of the Egyptian garrison agreed to stay on Crete. The price for his continued service to the Porte, however, was the Vilayet of Crete which had recently become vacant following the betrayal of Muhammad Ali.[1] As the Sultan had no means of transporting troops to Crete thanks in large part to the Powers strict prohibition of it, Mahmud was forced to agree.

    As such, a substantial portion of the Egyptian garrison, roughly 2,500 men, chose to remain behind on the island following the Treaty of Alexandria. Even still, the total Ottoman force on the island amounted to little more than 6,100 soldiers scattered across a dozen towns and cities along the Eastern half of Crete which paled in comparison to the estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Greek regular and irregular combatants believed to be on the island. Still, their continued presence on Crete helped to bolster the flagging Ottoman defenses, prolonging the conflict on Crete for several months to come as the Greeks were forced to starve them out one by one. By the end of June though only Heraklion remained.

    With their supplies running out and no rescue in sight, Mustafa Naili Pasha attempted a desperate sortie attempt against the smattering of Greeks outside his walls. The gamble succeeded in causing mass casualties among the Greek besiegers, Dalianis himself was severely injured in the attack, but it ultimately failed to break the siege and he was forced to surrender several days later on the 12th of June. The fall of Heraklion completed the liberation of Crete and under the mediation of the Powers, the Turkish and Egyptian soldiers and civilians on the island were given safe passage to Asia Minor or Alexandria and they were generally permitted to bring their personal affects and weapons with them. However, events to the North complicated this planned exodus of the Turks and Egyptians from the island.

    Over the previous Fall and Winter, Governor Kapodistrias had dispatched another force to liberate the islands of Chios and Psara from the Ottomans. In recent years, Nafplion had become inundated with refugees from the islands lost since the war began nearly seven years before. Their kin scattered across the country had also formed a large community of expats with some sway over the local politics by they used their wealth and influence to organize efforts to liberate their homes from the Ottomans. In 1825 the Chios Committee emerged from among the Chian community in Syros, with Ambrosios Skaramangas, Loukas Rallis, and Georgios Psychas as its leaders and representatives to the Kapodistrias Government. The Committee in the ensuing months gathered arms, funding, and political support from their supporters abroad and their friends at home for the liberation of Chios. Kapodistrias himself was a prominent supporter of the endeavor and used his position as Governor of Greece to help their cause. By the Fall of 1827, the final approval for the endeavor had been received and the expedition was launched in late October with the Frenchman Charles Fabvier tasked as the operation’s leader.

    Instead of traveling directly to Chios, the Greek force landed first at Psara, which had been abandoned since the island’s fall to the Turks in July of 1824. The Greek forces numbered 1,100 infantry from the regular army, 350 cavalrymen under the command of the Portuguese Philhellene Antonio Figueira d'Almeida, and a corps of artillery numbering 10 siege guns, 8 field guns, and 6 mortars under the command of the Epirote Engineer Konstantinos Lagoumitzis. They were also assisted by nearly 1,200 irregular units comprised mostly of Chian and Psarian refugees. After reestablishing a Greek presence on Psara, Fabvier and his force finally departed for Chios on the 10th of October. Landing at the town of Mavrolimana, Fabvier and the Greeks managed within the span of two days to liberate the entirety of the island, except for the city of Chios itself on the island’s east coast. Efforts to besiege the city and its castle proved more difficult as the Ottomans still possessed a significant garrison behind their walls and reinforcement also proved to be an issue as Ottoman transports continued to bring more men and arms into the city. If they were to take the city and fully secure the island they would need control of the strait.

    500px-Chios.JPG

    The Castle of Chios

    To that end, the British Philhellenes Lord Cochrane and Captain Hastings, along with the Psariot Admiral Kanaris and a fleet of 20 Greek ships blockaded the city of Chios from the sea. With their route of supply cut off, Fabvier finally began to make progress against the Ottoman defenses at Chios. The Frenchman did not stop there however, and in conjuncture with Cochrane and Kanaris had launched a raid against the coast of Asia Minor near Smyrna which met with some success and planned another assault against the port city of Cesme to be carried out near the beginning of February. Unfortunately, bad weather proved to be an issue forcing the raid to be delayed until the end of the month when the wind and rain finally began to clear. Cesme, located across the Chios strait from Chios had developed into quite the military port over the years, where Ottoman soldiers would gather for operations against the Greek islands. By late February, a small fleet of ships and transports had steadily built up in an attempt to break the Greek blockade of Chios city. If Fabvier and the Greeks were to finally free Chios, then the Ottoman fleet at Cesme would need to be destroyed. Unfortunately, news of this operation leaked out from the Greek camp making its way not only to the Ottomans at Cesme, but it also came to the attention of the Great Powers.

    When word reached them of the coming attack against the Turks at Cesme, the British, French, and Russians moved to intervene. The reasoning for their actions in February 1828 are not hard to understand. While it was no secret that the Powers favored the Greeks, they still wished to present at least a semblance of neutrality and impartiality in the conflict which would be in doubt if they solely limited the Ottomans endeavors while ignoring those of the Greeks. More importantly however, they felt slighted. The Powers had agreed to support Greece in establishing itself in all territories which had taken an active part in the revolt, this territory was generally defined as all land south of a line from Volos in the East to Arta in the West in addition to the neighboring islands, Chios was however noticeably absent from this territory. Since Chios had fallen to the Ottomans in the Summer of 1822 the island had been relatively quiet and had been left out of the Power’s design for Greece for this reason. Efforts to real in Fabvier and Cochrane had met with little success on the part of Codrington and de Rigny and so the Allied Fleet was forced to remind the Greeks of their place.

    Arriving off the coast of Cesme on the 23rd of February, the British, French, and Russian ships arrived off the coast of Cesme. They were soon joined by the Greek fleet under Kanaris leading to a tense, but polite meeting between the two. After some pleasantries, Kanaris was told under no uncertain terms that the Powers would prohibit further acts by the Greeks against Asia Minor. With no other choice, Kanaris, rather than risk a confrontation with the Powers, agreed to withdraw his ships from Cesme and turned for Chios. As soon as he began to leave though, cannon fire began to erupt far to the East.

    Codrington having dealt with the Greeks turned his fleet into Cesme bay to meet with the Ottomans in an attempt to alleviate their concerns. The entrance of the Allied Fleet into the harbor had been carried out without the express permission of the Ottoman commander Amir Tahir, however, bringing the Ottomans into a state of alert. Mistaking the Allied Fleet’s presence as a show of support for the Greeks who were still present outside the bay, the captain an Ottoman ship opened fire on a Russian and French delegation that had come come up alongside to treat with them, striking several Russian sailors and their interpreters dead. The aggrieved Russian ship in return opened fire on the offending Ottoman ship with rifles and light guns killing six Turkish sailors before they ceased their attack.

    Further bloodshed between the Ottomans and the Powers could have been avoided had an Ottoman fireship not been broken free of its moorings and drifted into the midst of the Allied fleet. Believing it was the precursor to an attack, Codrington had the fireship blown out of the water killing all aboard it. This act set off a chain reaction of fighting all across the bay that resulted in the battle of Cesme or the Cesme Incident was it was later known.[2] The “battle” for all intents and purposes was a massacre as the 20 Allied Ships made short work of the 52 Ottoman ships assembled in Cesme Bay. Of the 20 British, French, and Russian ships at Cesme, 10 were Third Rate Ships of the Line all of which were equipped with 74 to 84 guns. The remaining 10 ships in their fleet included 7 Fifth Rate ships of the line with 36 to 50 guns, one Sixth Rate with 28 guns, and a pair of Frigates with 60 and 44 guns respectively.

    The Ottomans in comparison only had 3 Third Rate Ships of the Line at Cesme in addition to 6 Frigates of varying sizes, 14 corvettes, and 20 brigs, in addition to 3 more fireships and nearly 40 transports that did not take part in the ensuing battle. Despite their numbers, the smaller Ottoman ships could not withstand the blistering firepower of the Great Power’s Ships of the Line which made short work of the Ottoman fleet. The deafening roar of the cannons left combatants on both sides incapable of hearing for several days after the battle. The gun smoke also proved problematic for the combatants as it quickly filled the bay impairing vision and it difficult for the commanders to communicate with their ships and crews. Codrington is reported as shouting his orders to neighboring ships through a loudhailer. Flying debris and shrapnel filled the air killing or maiming dozens including Codrington’s young son Henry who was struck by a piece of planking which ripped into the boy’s leg. If any attempts had been made to stop the fighting before its conclusion they were likely hindered by the heavy smoke and the constant crack of cannon fire.

    500px-Navarino.JPG

    The HMS Asia Destroys the Burj Zafer and the Ghiuh Rewan
    The destructive power of the Allied Fleet was immense. Within three hours’ time, the Ottoman fleet had lost nearly half of their number, with twenty warships sent to the bottom of the bay and nearly 1,500 soldiers and sailors had been killed in the fighting and another 2,352 were recorded as wounded. Another twenty ships received varying degrees of damage ranging from very light to very heavy. Of the 4 ships which were damaged beyond repair, 3 were later destroyed by their Turkish commanders to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Allies as their honor demanded they not strike their colors and the last was run aground. The Allies for their part lost 211 sailors and marines in the engagement with several hundred wounded, four ships were heavily damaged along with nine others receiving moderate to light damage.

    The immediate response to the Battle of Cesme was jubiliation in the cities of Europe and great concern by the Ministers in their courts. Codrington, upon his return to Britain the following year, received a hero’s welcome by the British populace, but a slap on the wrist by Parliament and a refusal by the Admiralty to pay the basic rewards to his crew for the capture of Ottoman spoils and riches. It quickly became apparent that Codrington was to be the sacrificial lamb blamed by the Britain for overstepping his prerogative in the Aegean and provoking the confrontation with the Ottoman Navy at Cesme in the first place. Codrington, the Greeks and the Russians for their part place the blame for the battle squarely on the shoulders of the Ottomans for responding with force to the initial entreats of the Powers at Cesme. Canning for his part quietly praised Codrington behind closed doors and publicly shielded him from any further humiliation or punishment while working to meet the needs of his sailors. The more immediate impact of the battle of Cesme was in Chios city, without the support of the relief force at Cesme, the Ottoman garrison was forced to capitulate in early May when the walls of the Castle were finally brought down by Greek sappers.

    More important than the final fall of Chios to the Greeks was the Sublime Porte’s reaction to the Cesme Incident. In retaliation for the blatant and seemingly unprovoked attack on his ships, Sultan Mahmud II declared a Jihad against the Powers, he ordered the Dardanelles closed to Russian shipping, and he rescinded the Akkerman Convention Treaty effectively throwing down the gauntlet to the Powers in general and Russia in particular. Attempts by both Britain and France to calm the situation with the Ottomans fell on deaf ears as the Porte continued to reject any and all calls for peace with the Greeks and the Powers. Britain's efforts for peace were finally foiled when Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire on the 1st of May 1828.

    Greece Timeline Map Part 26 Crete, Chios, and the Cesme Incident.png

    Greece in June 1828
    Purple – Greece
    Green – Ottoman Empire
    Pink – United States of the Ionian Islands​

    Next Time: The Bear and the Horse Tail


    [1] Part of Muhammad Ali’s prerequisites for joining the war in 1822 were the cessation of Cyprus and Crete to his rule. In OTL, Muhammad Ali held these islands until 1841 when the Great Powers forced him to relinquish them following the Oriental Crisis. In TTL, as part of the Treaty of Alexandria, Muhammad Ali was forced to abandon the islands, leaving them without a central authority. Mustafa Naili was the OTL Pasha of Crete following the Oriental Crisis, in which he was forced to shift his allegiance from Alexandria to Constantinople, here he does it a bit sooner.

    [2] This is essentially an analog to the Battle of Navarino.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 27: The Bear and the Horse Tail
  • Part 27: The Bear and the Horse Tail

    500px-Boevoj_epizod_1828-1829.jpg

    Russian Soldiers Ready for Battle

    Coinciding with the declaration of war on the 1st of May, a 95,000 strong Russian Army under the command of Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein advanced into the Danubian Principalities starting the latest entry of the Russo Turkish Wars. A conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire had become inevitable in recent years since the death of Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory IV over seven years before. Though war had come close on many occasions, the repudiation of the Akkerman Convention Treaty and the closing of the Dardanelles to Russian ships finally provided Tsar Nicholas I with the impetus for war that he had been waiting for. To that end, two armies were prepared that would strike towards the heart of the Ottoman Empire. In the West, the Commander in Chief Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein would lead the main thrust into the Balkans with elements of the Guard Corps, the 2nd Infantry Corps, the 3rd Corps, the 6th Corps, and the 7th Corps through the Danubian Principalities towards Constantinople. While in the East, Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich would lead the Separate Caucasus Corps into Ottoman Armenia and Abkhazia.

    The Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia had suffered greatly from nearly seven years of brutal occupation from the Fall of 1821 to the start of 1828.[1] Though the Akkerman Convention Treaty between the Russians and Ottomans had done much to restore stability to the region, its effects were fleeting, and ultimately the region was thrown into disarray once more with the repudiation of the Treaty in March. Highwaymen became increasingly prominent throughout the countryside and all semblance of law and order in the Principalities had collapsed. Added to this was a terrible drought which had stricken the region leading scores of Wallachians and Moldavians to starve as crops failed and herds went hungry making an incredibly bleak setting even more so. The Russians for their part, were to act mainly as peace keepers in the region, intent on reinstating stability to a region that had become a lawless land ever since Alexander Ypsilantis sparked the fires of rebellion seven years before. Their thrust into Wallachia and Moldavia also served another purely strategic purpose; holding the Danubian Principalities would provide Russia with a strong Southern bulwark against the Ottomans and a base from which they could launch offensives towards Constantinople.

    Advancing into the Principalities in early May, the Russians made quick progress in Moldavia, securing the capital of Iasi on the second day of the war followed by the remainder of the Principality in the following week. Their efforts in the Principality of Wallachia similarly went unchallenged except for a determined, month-long resistance by the Ottomans in the fortress of Braila and the city of Galati in the East along with the fortresses of Giuriu and Turnu in the South. Despite the valor of the Ottoman contingent in Galati, the Russians brought in barges and rafts to complete the encirclement of the city from the river leading to its fall on the 30th of May. Once Galati had fallen and realizing aid was not coming, Braila promptly surrendered a week later. Giuriu and Turnu, due to their distance from the main front, would continue to hold out through the remainder of the year. With the Danubian Principalities mostly secured Field Marshal Wittgenstein began advancing southwards across the Danube in early June.

    Pushing into Dobruja under the watchful gaze of Tsar Nicholas himself, the Russian soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Corps led the charge across the Danube near Isaccea under heavy fire from the Ottoman line on the right bank of the river. Despite taking grievous casualties, the Russians managed to secure the right flank of the Ottoman trenches by overwhelming their foe with raw numbers. With their right flank in enemy hands, the Ottomans of the center and left flanks were forced to fall back to the South. With their foothold established, the Wittgenstein began transporting the remainder of his army across the Danube. Due to delays caused by the weather, and Wittgenstein’s overly cautious disposition, the endeavor was completed by the end of the June, finally permitting the Russians to move south into Bulgaria. Almost immediately, however, their offensive ground to a halt as the Ottomans had arrayed against them 150,000 Ottoman soldiers with the largest concentration being in the fortresses of Rousse, Shumen, Silistria, and Varna which managed to resist the initial assaults against their walls.

    280px-Pjotr-christianowitsch-wittgenstein.jpg

    Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein, Commander in Chief of the Russian Military

    The Ottoman garrison at Shumen was especially large at 40,000 men which massively outnumbered the 20,000 poorly equipped soldiers of the Russian 3rd Corps sent to seize it. Still, Wittgenstein managed to maintain a semblance of a siege around the city thanks in large part to the strong defensiveness of the hills and forests to the east of the city. Their position remained tenuous, however, as Turkish partisans constantly raided their dangerously exposed lines of supply and communication running to the north. The raiders also made scavenging an impossibility resulting in short falls in food supplies. As such, the Russian cavalry was systematically slaughtered by the hundreds to provide food for the rank and file. By the end of August, the only horse in the Russian camp outside Shumen was Wittgenstein’s personal steed. Ammunition also became a scarcity in the Russian camp and disease was running rampant through their ranks killing scores of men every day. On several occasions, the siege came very near to breaking from the combined pressure of the Ottoman garrison, the Turkish raiders in the countryside, and the ravages of disease on the Russian camp, forcing Wittgenstein to strip men and resources from the sieges of Silistria and Rousse to bolster the faltering siege of Shumen.

    The Russian position at Varna went somewhat better under the command of Adjutant General Alexander Menshikov. Varna was one of the strongest fortresses in the entire Ottoman Empire with massive stone walls and mighty bastions, 178 guns, a garrison of 15,000 men, and a strong position along the shore of the Black Sea. However, the positioning of the castle proved to be a detriment to the Ottomans as the Russian Navy held complete dominance over the Black Sea. The Battle of Cesme had proven to be especially catastrophic for the Ottomans as nearly two thirds of the Ottoman fleet had been present at Cesme at the time of the battle. Five months later, the damage continued to be felt across the Ottoman Empire as ships were regularly transferred from other theaters to the Black Sea. At the outbreak of war with Russia in May, only 10 warships remained in the Black Sea and another 10 had been stationed in the Sea of Marmara. As such, the Russian Black Sea Fleet reigned supreme in the Black Sea enabling it to routinely bombard the Fortress of Varna from the sea with little opposition from the Turks.

    It would take the arrival of fresh reinforcements in the form of the Imperial Guard Corps in late August before any significant progress could be made against Varna’s walls, with their most important contribution to the siege being the detachment of 64 siege guns and field guns they brought with them. Their arrival was followed soon after on the 10th of September by 20,000 Albanian and Ottoman soldiers marching to Varna from the West under the Albanian commander Omer Vrioni. Following his defeat to the Greeks at Missolonghi over five and a half years earlier, Vrioni had steadily lost favor with the Ottoman government and was ultimately reassigned to Üsküp where he was relegated to hunting brigands. Arriving outside Varna, Vrioni chose to loiter on the outskirts of the city and only engaged in some half-hearted attacks and skirmishes against the Russians. What attacks he did make were generally done at the expense of the Turkish troops in his company, who were wasted on several failed assaults across open fields in plain view of the Russian trenches. After three days in the area, Vrioni and his remaining men withdrew to the West as quickly and suddenly as they had arrived. Abandoned by Vrioni, Varna would finally succumb to the Russians a few days later on the 18th of September when Russian mines destroyed five bastions creating an opening in the castle’s northern wall.

    550px-Siege_of_Varna_1828.jpg

    The Siege of Varna

    Even after the fall of Varna to the combined might of the Russian Black Sea fleet and the Western Russian Army, the situation in the Balkans remained unfavorable to Wittgenstein. Silistria and Shumen continued to resist the Russians well into the Winter, and the Ottomans still outnumbered the Russians by ever growing numbers. Logistics also proved to be a delicate issue, while positions along the coast could be supported, those inland could not. When an Ottoman Army under the Serasker Khosref Pasha began approaching Shumen from the South in early November, Wittgenstein was forced to withdraw back to the North, abandoning the siege of Shumen in the process. This was repeated at Silistria with similar results and by the end of the year, the only position South of the Danube in Russian hands was Varna, which had only just managed to rebuff the Ottoman attempt to retake the city in late November.

    To the East, the situation for the Russian Empire was much improved as Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich had made significant progress in the Caucasus Mountains. His offensive was initially designed as a distraction, a ploy meant to hold down as many Ottoman soldiers as possible allowing the main thrust through the Balkans to quickly strike at Constantinople and as such his force was limited to the Separate Caucasian Corps, numbering 25,000 strong.[2] Among his other objectives, Paskevich was to seize the Ottoman castles along the Black Sea which had long provided the Circassians with arms and munitions, furthering their resistance against the Tsar. It was an audacious strategy, and one which was quickly undone in the West by the stout resistance of Shumen and Silistria against the Russians, foiling the Tsar’s grand battle plan. Despite his more limited resources comparted to Wittgenstein’s, Paskevich managed to achieve much more than his cautious counterpart.

    Launching his offensive in early June, Paskevich and his Caucasian Corps made quick work of the Ottoman defenses along the border West of Gyumri and began swiftly advancing into the mountains of Ottoman Armenia. His men were primarily of local stock, Georgians and Armenians who had lived in these hills and mountains for generations upon generations. They knew the terrain like the back of their hand allowing Paskevich excellent intel on the environment and enabling him to deftly surmount the Ottoman forces in the region. They were also battle tested and hardy folk who had fought against the Persians the year before to great success. Paskevich himself had served with valor in the war with Persia leading the Separate Caucasian Corps to a string of victories over the Persians, chief among them being the conquest of Yerevan.

    Their first target in this war was the fortress city of Kars forty miles to the West of Gyumri. Kars was located on the road between Akhaltsikhe and Erzurum making it a pivotal point of operations for the Ottomans in the region. If Paskevich could take and hold Kars he would effectively cut off Ottoman Georgia from the rest of the Empire, barring the coastal road through Trebizond and Batumi. Arriving on the outskirts of Kars on the 24th of June, a company of Russian riflemen belonging to Paskevich’s vanguard opened fire on elements of the Ottoman garrison who were caught unawares. Despite receiving orders not to advance, several additional units rushed forward to assist the lone company and in the ensuing skirmish an opening was created in the Ottoman defenses.

    Taking advantage of this opportunity, Paskevich rushed forward the remainder of his forces and quickly pushed over the walls and into the city of Kars. By nightfall on the 24th, only the citadel remained with most of the garrison either in flight, dead, or captured. Two days later, the remaining soldiers within Kars’ citadel surrendered to Paskevich’s men when they stormed the castle’s walls. Despite being one of the strongest fortresses in the region, Kars had fallen in only three days. 1350 Ottoman soldiers were taken prisoner in the battle and over 2,000 had been killed compared to the 400 Russian soldiers lost in the engagement, in addition to this the Russians captured the vast majority of the Ottoman munitions at Kars along with 151 of their guns. More surprisingly was fact that Kars had surrendered when an Ottoman relief force was only a day’s march to the West. Kios Mehmed Pasha of Erzurum had mustered an army of 20,000 to relieve Kars, but when he learned of its surrender on the 26th, he immediately turned North instead towards Ardahan.


    450px-Kars_1828.jpg

    The Siege of Kars

    Paskevich’s great feat was continued at Akhalkalaki in July, Akhaltsikhe in August, and Ardahan, Atskhur, Guria, and Poti in September. To the North, the cities of Anapa and Sujuk Kale had also been captured in a daring amphibious assault back in early June by Adjutant General Alexander Menshikov and a detachment of Marines. By the end of the campaigning season the entire northern shore of the Black Sea from the mouth of the Danube River in the West to the outskirts of Batumi in the East belonged to the Russian Tsar. Despite holding a 3 to 1 advantage in manpower, the Ottoman commander in the region Kios Mehmed Pasha was continually outwitted by Paskevich.

    At Akhaltsikhe, Kios Mehmed outnumbered the Russians 40,000 to 15,000, yet when Paskevich turned to face him, the levies of the Ottoman Army turned and fled after the opening volley. Kios was himself wounded in the attack and with 5,000 of his original 30,000 he fled into the citadel of Akhaltsikhe were he sought refuge. Beginning the siege of the city, Paskevich set fire to the town killing hundreds of its inhabitants.[3] The ploy was as callous as it was calculated as the civilians of Akhaltsikhe in their despair fled to the citadel seeking refuge and in his humility, Kios Mehmed opened the gates. The Russians in turn fell upon this opening and managed to seize control of the citadel’s walls and by the following morning, Kios Mehmed Pasha and the remaining Ottoman forces in the city surrendered on the 17th of August.

    As was the case in the Balkans, Paskevich’s offensive would eventually grind to a halt several miles to the east of Erzurum as he came across increasing numbers of Turkish soldiers. At the end of October, Kios Mehmed was replaced with the more capable Salih Pasha and Hagki Pasha and the number of Ottoman soldiers in the region was also increased to 100,000 men by the start of Spring the next year. These new forces included soldiers of the newly organized Nizam-i-Djedid, the regular army of the Ottoman Empire. Their officers had been meticulously trained by Austrian and French volunteers, they had been taught modern military tactics and strategy, they wore European style uniforms, and they had been equipped with the latest weapons and armaments available. While they constituted a small fraction of the total manpower in the field for the Empire, some 50,000 soldiers out of the total 370,000 men under arms across the entire Empire in 1828, they provided the Porte with a solid core of professional soldiers well beyond the proficiency of their average soldier.

    Paskevich’s numbers however, were steadily declining due to attrition and the focus on the Balkan front forcing the Caucasian Corps to take a more cautious approach over the coming months. Another issue was the recent assassination of the Russian ambassador to the Persian Empire. On the 30th of January 1829, a mob of angry Persians gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Tehran demanding blood, specifically Russian Ambassador Alexander Griboyedov’s blood. Three Armenians, one man and two women, had escaped from the Shah’s household seeking the safety of the Russian embassy.[4] When Griboyedov refused to turn the Armenians over to the crowd, they stormed the building killing all inside including Griboyedov. Fear of war with Persia ran rampant in St. Petersburg and while it was ultimately averted, many of the reinforcements dispatched to the Caucasus Front to reinforce Paskevich were instead redirected to the Persian border in the off chance the war with Persia restarted.

    The first seven months of the war could best be described as little more than a wash. While the Tsar’s armies had made good gains in the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia, their results in the Balkans had been underwhelming thus far considering the higher priority that front had received in terms of men and supplies. Wallachia and Moldavia had been swiftly occupied in the opening month of the war, but their efforts South of the Danube left something to be desired as all their gains in Bulgaria, barring Varna, were quickly recouped by the Ottomans over the Winter. The failures of the Balkan Campaign were laid primarily at the feet of Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein. Despite his success in the Danubian Principalities, he had been too cautious and inept in Bulgaria for the Tsar’s liking and his retreat from Shumen without so much as a fight was simply too egregious an act for him to remain in command. As such he removed Wittgenstein as Commander in Chief and in his stead, Tsar Nicholas appointed the Prussian Hans Karl von Diebitsch as Commander in Chief.

    Next Time: The Last Push


    [1] Technically there was a brief interruption of the Ottoman Occupation of the Danubian Principalities from the Fall of 1826 to the Winter of 1828 when the Akkerman Convention was in effect.

    [2] The Separate Caucasian Corps was in fact a much larger unit comparable to a full army rather than a single corps with its total strength being somewhere in the ballpark of 60,000 men. However, most of these soldiers were tasked with guarding the Persian border and occupying the new land from the Treaty of Turkmenchay as the war with Persia had only just ended prior to the war with the Ottomans.

    [3] The cause of the fire is generally unknown. Akhaltsikhe was a densely populated city built mostly from wood and other flammable materials and its very likely the fire was an incidental consequence of heavy fighting in the city’s streets.

    [4] The man was believed to be a Eunuch in the service of the Shah while the two women were harem slaves belonging to the Shah’s son. Griboyedov was completely within his right to offer the three sanctuaries in the Russian Embassy as the newly signed Treaty of Turkmenchay enabled the Russian Government the right to protect Christians in the Persian Empire. Suffice to say, the people of Tehran felt otherwise.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 28: The Last Push
  • Part 28: The Last Push


    250px-Ivan_Dibich.jpg

    Field Marshal Hans Karl von Diebitsch, Commander in Chief of the Russian Army

    Field Marshal Han Karl von Diebitsch would prove to be a much more enthusiastic and aggressive campaigner than his predecessor Field Marshal Peter Wittgenstein as was evident in swift reorganization of the Russian Army’s supply situation. New supply depots and roads were constructed from Odessa to Braila where he made his headquarters, and he instructed the Russian Navy to seize the important port town of Sozopol near Burgas to provide a good harbor to dispense supplies to the Russian Army in the area. Though the Russians would succeed in capturing Sozopol in February, their victory was quickly nullified when the Ottomans immediately moved to blockade the port by land, denying Diebitsch from using the city as a logistical hub. The Russian Black Seas Fleet was also reassigned to primarily support operations in the Balkans as opposed to those in the Caucasus due to the successful completion of their objectives there. When the winter finally gave way to Spring, he advanced across the Danube and laid siege to the city of Silistria once again on the 5th of May.

    Coinciding with Diebitsch’s attack on Silistria, the newly appointed Grand Vizier Khosref Pasha had begun marching against Varna with 40,000 men seeking to reclaim it for the Porte. Diebitsch upon learning of this, immediately moved from Silistria with much of his force, some 26,000 soldiers and nearly 7,000 Wallachian and Moldavian volunteers, leaving behind a small detachment to continue the siege in his stead. True to his reputation, Diebitsch and his men raced South at lightning speeds to catch Khosref and the Ottomans in the hills near the village of Provadiya on the 12th of June. Arriving on the scene, Russian soldiers immediately moved to seize the hilltops overlooking the road but they were soon opposed by Khosref Pasha and his army who advanced up the hill and drove the Russians from its peak. As the Ottomans attempted to run down their fleeing foe, they were met by the remainder of Diebitsch’s force on the plains north of Provadiya who promptly released an enfilade of cannon fire on the charging Turkish soldiers before the Russian infantry made a bayonet charge of their own. It was a gruesome struggle with casualties mounting on both sides to an alarming degree but by nightfall neither side was willing to cede the field.

    Overnight, Diebitsch received reinforcements from the Guard Corps and local Bulgarian volunteers refilling his ranks with fresh bodies. Come morning, Diebitsch ordered a general attack on the Ottoman position and despite fighting uphill, they gradually pushed the Turks back. The main advantage the Russians held at Provadiya lay not in the number of their infantry or cavalry, but rather in their number of cannons and field guns. The 450 artillery pieces that Diebitsch had with him pounded away at the tight ranks of the Ottomans to devastating effect as entire companies of Ottoman soldiers were wiped from existence in a matter of seconds. The thunderous barrage of cannons eviscerated the morale of the Ottomans soldiers causing men to break and flee. Recognizing the battle was lost, Khosref Pasha, his guard, and whatever men he could rally fled back to Shumen where he would remain in wait of reinforcements.

    500px-%D0%9A%D0%BE%D1%86%D0%B5%D0%B1%D1%83._%D0%91%D0%BE%D0%B9_%D0%BF%D0%BE%D0%B4_%D0%9A%D1%83%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B2%D1%87%D0%B5%D0%B9_30_%D0%BC%D0%B0%D1%8F_1829.jpg

    The Battle of Provadiya

    Despite being the victor, Diebitsch had suffered significant casualties at Provadiya amounting to 1,681 killed and 5,822 injured to the Ottoman’s 5,139 killed, and 6,089 wounded, with another 1,930 Turkish soldiers captured in the battle along with the entirety of the Ottoman siege and baggage train. Thousands more had simply abandoned the Ottoman camp all together, forcing Khosref to scour the countryside for levies to defend Shumen where he believed the next attack would come. Rather than chase after the Ottomans to Shumen, Diebitsch chose instead to loiter in its outskirts providing the semblance of a siege, while he awaited the arrival of his men from Silistria. The victory at Provadiya was followed two weeks later with the fall of Silistria which finally fell to the Russians, once it became clear Khosref Pasha had been defeated the Ottoman garrison within the city surrendered freeing the 3rd Corps to join the main Russian army outside Provadiya. Now united, Diebitsch immediately tasked the 3rd with occupying the attention of Khosref and his men at Shumen for as long as possible, while the 6th and the 7th Corps would secretly advance towards their main objective, Constantinople.

    Striking East towards the sea, the Russian Army circumvented the Ottoman defenses of the Balkan Mountains by traveling first to Devnya then Galata before proceeding down the coast of the Black Sea towards Burgas. Under the protection of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Diebitsch came to find little resistance in his path as Ottoman morale in the region had completely collapsed in the aftermath of Provadiya enabling the Russian Army to go faster and further afield. Crossing the mountains on the 10th of July near Byala, Diebitsch raced south towards Burgas seizing the city on the 12th of July, Aytos on the 13th, and Karnobat on the 14th. Two weeks late on the 28th, a cavalry detachment from the 6th Corps managed to dispatch a force of Turks near Sliven effectively cutting Khosref Pasha off from the South.

    By this time Khosref Pasha finally learned of the Russians’ intentions and marched forth to stop them. No sooner than he did, however, was he attacked by the 3rd Corps which had been left behind to shield Diebitsch’s advance. For nearly a month, Khosref was under the false impression the entire Russian army was besieging the walls of Shumen, when in truth only a quarter of Diebitsch’s force was north of the Balkan Mountains. Though Khosref quickly managed to overwhelm the Russian rearguard, effectively destroying it as a viable unit, they had succeeded in their objective, albeit at great cost. By the time Khosref Pasha and the Ottoman Army could travel south from Shumen it was too late, Adrianople had surrendered without a fight.

    Fearing the war lost and lacking contact with Grand Vizier Khosref Pasha, the commandant of Adrianople surrendered to Diebitsch on the 8th of August, ceding the last major fortification before Constantinople to the Russians. Diebitsch, however, had bet everything on his gamble to take Adrianople. His force had been steadily eaten away by disease and battle depleting his force to barely 25,000 men. Even with the aid of the local Bulgarian populace his army had suffered greatly. Though Diebitsch boasted to his men they would march on Constantinople and capture the Sultan himself, in truth, he no longer had the men needed to take Constantinople. Either out of a false sense of bravado or in another desperate gamble, Diebitsch and the remains of the Russian army struck out once more on an offensive towards Constantinople.

    Worse still for the Grand Vizier was the deteriorating situation in Anatoli. Over the Spring and Summer, Russian Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich had been relatively successful as well in Eastern Anatolia. Despite being outnumber nearly 5 to 1 by the start of the 1829 campaigning season, Paskevich and his Caucasian Corps, bolstered by volunteers from the local Georgian and Armenian communities, advanced on the city of Erzurum. Opposing him was Hagki Pasha and an army of 20000 Nizam Infantry. Hagki Pasha had placed himself right within the Saganlug Pass that led directly to Erzurum, the shortest and most direct route from Kars. It was also incredibly narrow and defensible as discovered the previous Fall when Paskevich drove Eastwards, only to be repelled by a much smaller Ottoman army composed of less skilled soldiers.

    250px-Ivan_Paskevich.jpg

    Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich, Commander of the Separate Caucasian Corps

    As such, Paskevich opted instead to split his forces, sending one half towards the Saganlug Pass and the other along a longer path to the North. If his plan worked as intended, then the Caucasian Corps would be able to catch Hagki Pasha and his men from both directions and destroy it. Though it took longer than expected to traverse the northern route, Paskevich’s stratagem payed off and Hagki Pasha was surrounded in the Saganlug Pass on the 19th of June. In the ensuing battle, much of the Ottoman army managed to break free of the trap, but Hagki Pasha and several thousand men were not as fortunate. After several more hours of resistance the Ottomans finally surrendered clearing the road to Erzurum which would itself surrender one week later on the 26th of June.

    Despite this collapse of the Ottoman frontier to the Russian Army, the war still hinged on a knife’s blade. Four days following the fall of Erzurum, a detachment of the Caucasian Corps sent to secure the road to Trebizond was ambushed and promptly destroyed by a band of local Lazes and Adjars near the neighboring village of Hart. When Paskevich moved to pillage Hart for this transgression the following day he himself was ambushed and though he managed to fight off his attackers, his force had suffered terrible losses forcing him to immediately fall back to Erzurum after burning Hart to the ground. In the Balkans, the Russian Army of Field Marshal Diebitsch was soon cut off from their support in the North and the Black Sea by Khosref Pasha with foes closing in all around them. A skirmish near Kırk Kilise also revealed the porous situation of the Russians in the region when the Russians were forced to cede the field despite inflicting higher casualties on the Ottomans. Khosref Pasha, sensing the Russians were weakening, was of the mind to chase down Diebitsch and destroy him once and for all, but as he readied his force to chase the Russians, a messenger arrived from Constantinople. Sultan Mahmud had made peace with the Russians.

    Sultan Mahmud II had thus far been known to the Russians for his aggressiveness, his belligerency, and his stubbornness, yet surprisingly in August 1829 he came to them seeking peace. After eight years of constant war, Sultan Mahmud II had grown incredibly weary as the constant string of setbacks from Greece and Bulgaria to Anatolia and Armenia had gradually worn away at his resistance to anything less than absolute victory. The fall of Adrianople and Erzurum had been proven to be the last straw in a long line of defeats, and within a week of Adrianople’s surrender the Sultan permitted his representatives to begin peace talks.

    For all their victories, the Russians were similarly exhausted. The war had hardly been the great success they had envisioned in the Spring of 1828, casualties were mounting, with most coming from disease rather than Ottoman arms, but the result was the same. The Russians were hemorrhaging men at a terrifying pace both in the Balkans and in the Caucasus. By August of 1829, Paskevich’s force had fallen below 12,000 of the original 25,000, while Diebitsch had dipped below 50,000 across the entire Balkan theater. The war had also become surprisingly unpopular in Russia, most likely due to the high casualties, high taxes, and rigid enforcement of conscription caused by the war. Protests and riots were quickly becoming common occurrences in St. Petersburg and other cities across the Empire. It was clear to both sides that peace was needed now more than ever.

    Delegates of the Russian and Ottoman Empires met at the city of Adrianople to discuss Peace Terms. Rather quickly though it became apparent that the Sultan, while clearly demoralized, still possessed some dignity and would not cave to all the demands the Russians originally presented, especially when news of the battle near Kırk Kilise reached the conference at Adrianople. As such, the Russians wisely curtailed their demands somewhat to preserve the “honor” of the Ottoman Sultan.

    · Russia shall return to the Ottoman Empire all territory within Europe, hitherto occupied by the Russian Army, with the exception of the mouth of the Danube and its outlying islands which shall be ceded to the Russian Empire.

    · The cities and fortresses of Anapa and Sujuk Kale, along with their surrounding hinterlands shall be ceded to the Russian Empire.

    · The Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, Imeretia, Mingrelia, Guria, and Kars shall be ceded to the Russian Empire.

    · All territory hitherto unmentioned and remaining under occupation of the Russian Army shall be returned to the Ottoman Empire.

    · The Ottoman Empire shall accept the terms of the Treaty of Turkmenchay between the Russian Empire and the Sublime State of Persia.

    · The Ottoman Empire shall permit Russian and foreign merchants the rights to traverse the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits freely and safely.

    · The terms of the Akkerman Convention shall be reaffirmed by all parties, establishing Wallachia, Moldavia, and Serbia as autonomous Principalities subject to the Ottoman Empire.[1]

    · The Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia shall remain under Russian dominance until the payment of war indemnities amounting to 1.2 Million Dutch Guilders is paid by the Sublime Porte to the Empire of Russia.

    · The fortresses of Braila, Giuriu, and Turnu shall be ceded to the Principality of Wallachia.

    · The Ottoman Empire shall abide by the terms laid forth in the Treaty of London, establishing Greece as an autonomous state subject to the Ottoman Empire.

    With that the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire came to an end on the 1st of September 1829.

    Next Time: The Long Road to Independence


    [1] In truth, the Russians are de facto in control of the Danubian Principalities while the Ottomans hold de jure suzerainty over them.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 29: The Long Road to Independence
  • Part 29: The Long Road to Independence

    85074634.jpg

    The Isle of Poros

    In September of 1828 a most peculiar spectacle occurred on the island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf. Representatives of Britain, France, and Russia, along with the Governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias and members of his Government gathered to outline the territorial extent of Greece once the war reached inevitable conclusion. There were several proposals considered by the delegates at Poros, with the most generous to the Greeks unsurprisingly coming from Kapodistrias, who desired a border running from Delvino in the West to Thessaloniki in the East. The most limited border proposed at the Conference was a frontier running across the Isthmus of Corinth, reducing Greece to just the Peloponnese, with all territory to the North remaining under Ottoman dominion.[1] In truth, only two options were considered with any seriousness and as to be expected, they were proposed by two of the Powers themselves.

    Of the two plans, the French option developed by the French Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Armand Charles Guilleminot was the smallest state territorially. He proposed a border from Itea to Livanates, effectively cutting Central Greece in half, with everything the to the South and East joining a Greek state, and everything to the North and West returning to Ottoman control. The islands which were considered under the French plan were the Cyclades and Saronic islands. This effectively left Crete, Chios, Euboea, Icaria, Psara, Samos, and the Sporades outside of a Greek state despite presently being free from Ottoman occupation.

    Stratford Canning, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire proposed a border that was more favorable to the Greeks than the French option. He proposed a border running from Volos in the East to Arta in the West. In addition, Crete, Euboea, the Cyclades, Saronic, and Sporades islands were to be included in the Greek state as well with the possible inclusion of Chios and Samos as well. Canning’s reasoning for this border was twofold. First, it provided the Greeks with a strong defensive frontier that would enable them to defend themselves with a reasonable effectiveness. Secondly, it prohibited the influx of refugees into the nascent Greek state should land presently free of Ottoman occupation be returned to the Porte’s domination, an outcome which would surely take place should the French Plan be enacted.

    250px-Lord_Stratford_Canning.jpg

    Stratford Canning, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire

    Canning’s proposal enjoyed the support of the Russian delegation under Ambassador Alexander Ivanovich Ribopier as well as the Greek delegation and Count Kapodistrias. All parties agreed that this border was the most defensible and the most stable for Greece in the immediate aftermath of the war. A flood of refugees fleeing the return of Ottoman rule to their lands would so thoroughly handicap the Greek state that they would effectively kill the newborn state it in its cradle and for the powers to allow such an act to occur would be utter callousness on their parts. So, it was that Canning’s plan was agreed to by all parties in attendance. One last matter that was discussed at the Conference of Poros was the form of government for Greece, which had thus far been a Republican Apparatus. It was decided rather quickly that Greece would be a Monarchy, but the intricacies of that government would be left to the Greeks themselves. With the delegates in agreement, their proposed recommendations were dispatched to their respective Governments.

    British Prime Minister George Canning was supportive of his cousin’s initiative regarding the territory of the Greeks, and used his immeasurable influence to convince the French and Russian governments of its merits as a baseline for future negotiation if nothing else. The main point of contention, however, remained the level of autonomy for Greece as several members of the British Government were strongly against the complete separation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. Many within Parliament had simply sought to pacify a rebellious province rather than conquer an entire country for the Greeks. Those Greeks, however, were firmly against the return of Ottoman Rule over their lands in any form. While at one time they had considered the idea during the darkest days of 1825 and 1826, following the Treaty of Alexandria and the Battle of Cesme, anything less than full independence was to be considered an insult. They would accept only independence and nothing else, moreover, they now demanded a say in their own fate.

    In November of 1828, the Greeks gathered at the ancient theater in the city of Argos for the Fourth National Assembly. The occasion had originally been promised upon Ioannis Kapodistrias’ arrival in Greece nearly two years earlier, but the rigors of war and the political divisions of the Greeks began to emerge once more delaying the congregation for many months. Kapodistrias himself was similarly opposed to the organization of an Assembly for some time due to his innate distrust of the Magnates and Primates of Greece with whom he held no confidence or trust. While the Count had initially attempted to work with them, their pettiness and greed spoilt any burgeoning relationship between them and so he began to work around them.

    To do so he needed the support of the military and the people. To do so, he used his powers as Governor to reform the klephts and independent Military Captains into a cohesive and professional fighting force, tying them to his will through the regular payment of their arrears and the regulation of their organization. He removed bad actors and implanted loyal commanders in their place, he clamped down on crime and piracy which benefitted trade, and he promoted himself as an impartial adjudicator for all military affairs. By depriving his adversaries of their men, he effectively neutered them as a physical threat to his authority at which time he made his move politically by calling the National Assembly.

    On the 10th of November 238 delegates from across Greece descended on the city of Argos, of which 171 were staunch supporters of Ioannis Kapodistrias. Kapodistrias was accused by his opponents of rigging the elections for the delegates, but in all cases the Count was innocent of the charges cast against him, and in the two cases where there was evidence of malpractice, Kapodistrias condemned them and ordered new elections. The real reason for the high disparity between the number of his supporters and the number of his adversaries at the National Assembly lies within his immense popularity with the middle and lower classes. His policies also had the added benefit of bringing the masses to his side by steadily improving every aspect of their lives, while at the same time painting the Primates and Magnates as the propagators of their misfortunes. He provided the people with security and order, he built schools and hospitals, he constructed roads and networks of communication between isolated villages, and he brought a sense of stability and legitimacy to the Greek government that had been sorely lacking in the years before his arrival.

    Seal_of_the_Fourth_Greek_National_Assembly_1828.png

    The Seal of the Fourth National Assembly


    Using his majority support in the Assembly, Kapodistrias forced through a number of revisions to the Constitution restructuring the Government of Greece in its entirety. The Senate was reduced from 70 members to 30, but more importantly 6 of the 30 were to be directly appointed by the Governor while the remaining 24 Senators would be elected from a predetermined list of 72 candidates. The Senate was then subdivided into three Committees of ten Senators each, a Committee of the Economy, a Committee of Internal Policy, and a Committee of War. The Senate would still retain the power to write and craft legislation, but only at the discretion of the Governor, and the Governor was granted an absolute veto over all legislation. The Governor also expanded his purview by assuming total authority over foreign policy and the war effort, although he promised to cede these powers to the Senate upon the war’s conclusion. Lastly, the Assembly adopted a provision by which the final settlement of Greece’s status and extent after the war must be approved a National Assembly. If nothing else, the Greeks wanted a say in their own fate.

    The Powers were generally dismissive of the Greek’s demands and in the subsequent conferences concerning the state of Greece, its territorial extent, and its political autonomy the concerns and opinions of the Greeks were largely ignored. At best, Kapodistrias could influence the proceedings using his immense force of will and personal connections to advance the debate in the favor of the Greeks, but by in large he was a simple observer. The best way in which the Greeks could affect the ongoing negotiations was to continue the war which had completely turned against the Ottomans following the Battle of Cesme. The Ottoman Navy had effectively been removed from play as a threat against Greek shores making Greece a de facto independent state. Their efforts to liberate further islands from the Turks was challenged by the Powers who became increasingly opposed to the Greeks expanding beyond their current extent after the debacle that was Cesme. On land though, the Greeks enjoyed more leeway as the Powers had no army North of the Gulf to enforce their dictates.

    As year came to an end, the Greeks were advancing North on both fronts as Turkish opposition in Southern Rumelia had melted following the declaration of war by Russia as forces were drawn away from Greece to the fronts in Bulgaria.[2] In the West, the Souliot Strategos Markos Botsaris reached the shores of the Gulf of Arta and began moving towards the city of Arta itself in the following days. Botsaris’ main objective was Arta, but he had a more personal goal in mind, the liberation of his homeland, the Souli Valley. Their progress north was quick initially as on the 10th of January, Botsaris, 1,000 Souliotes, and 4,000 Greek soldiers occupied the town of Peta to the north of Arta, where nearly seven years before the Greeks had suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of Omer Vrioni leading to the fall of the Souli Valley to the Ottomans in 1822. Unfortunately for Botsaris, Ottoman resistance would tighten in the environs of Arta, forcing a siege that would last well into the Summer and delaying his offensive towards the Souli until the end of the year.

    The main Greek thrust came in the East, where the army of Strategos Demetrios Ypsilantis began the long-awaited siege of Lamia. Lamia had long been the logistics center of the Ottoman army in Eastern Greece as many Turkish and Albanian forces would gather in its vicinity before departing Southward into Greek territory. Its importance had waned over recent years as the western front gradually took on a higher priority and campaigns into the Morea ceased with Ibrahim Pasha’s landing in 1825. As such when Demetrios Ypsilantis began his attack in early February the city hosted all of 7,000 men of varying proficiency with only 2,000 Nizamis among them. Ypsilantis in comparison hosted an army nearing 10,000 men with 5,000 Taktikons, and roughly 5,000 irregulars who had joined with them on their advance North.

    The Ottoman defenses at Thermopylae were quickly overrun on the 12th of February, when Ypsilantis sent half his force through the hills and into the rear of the Turkish position causing their retreat. The Ottomans however had prepared a secondary line on the far bank of the Spercheios and managed to repel the Greek attacks for two days before an unguarded ford further upstream was discovered by Greek scouts on the morning of the third forcing the Turks to withdraw once again. Advancing on the city of Lamia on the 17th, the city fell to the Greeks in a matter of minutes after a brief skirmish in the streets, but the castle would surprisingly holdout against them for several months. Despite their determined resistance, their defeat was all but assured unless reinforcements were sent from the North. After many months of waiting their morale had begun to wane, but finally near the end of Summer help was finally on its way.

    In late July, a relief army some 8,000 strong was finally dispatched from Larissa to lift the siege of Lamia, unfortunately for the Ottoman commander Aslan Bey word of their advance had been relayed to Ypsilantis and the Greeks. Leaving Odysseus Androutsos behind to continue the siege, Ypsilantis and some 6,000 men of the Hellenic Army marched forth to oppose the approaching Ottoman army. They met outside the little hamlet of Palamas a day’s march to the North of Lamia. Ypsilantis having arrived only moments earlier had prepared basic defensive works in the hills overlooking the main road south and when Aslan Bey and his men appeared the battle commenced on the 28th of July. Despite being outnumbered, the Greeks managed to hold their own and exchanged a volley of gunfire with the Ottomans before charging on their enemy with bayonets and swords. Unprepared for the Greek advance, many Turkish soldiers began to break ranks and flee, sending the Ottomans into a panic.

    500px-%CE%9C%CE%AC%CF%87%CE%B7_%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%AC_%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD_%CE%95%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AE_%CE%95%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%AC%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%B7.jpg

    The Battle of Palamas

    The casualties for the battle were relatively light on both sides, with the Greeks suffering 25 dead and 160 wounded, while the Ottomans suffered nearly 150 dead, 400 wounded, and nearly 1,500 captured. Aslan Bey managed to regather most of his forces over the course of the evening, but the damage was done. As they were unable to advance on Lamia to break the siege, Aslan Bey and his men turned around and returned to the North. Ypsilantis for his part dispatched a column of infantry and cavalry to follow in their wake and secure as much territory as they could. Faced with the defeat of their relief force, the Ottomans in Lamia commenced negotiations with the Greeks regarding terms of surrender and would capitulate to Ypsilantis three days later on the 1st of August.

    The Battle of Palamas would prove to be the last major battle of the war as the peace between the Ottomans and Russians had finally imposed the Armistice across the land. All of Greece from Arta in the West to the outskirts of Volos in the East had been freed from Turkish rule. Kapodistrias in his memoirs even recounts how Greek cavalry reached as far as the Pinios river near Larissa itself before turning back in the face of Ottoman opposition and the armistice. Markos Botsaris, ever the loyal Souliot made one final push for the Souli valley on the 1st of September only to be stopped short of its entrance by a committed resistance of local Albanians and Turks. It is said that Botsaris and the Souliotes in his company openly wept at their short comings that day. Elsewhere in Greece tears of joy were shed as the war was finally over.

    Next Time: The Conference of London


    [1] Both of these proposals were actually considered in the OTL Poros Conference with the border at the Isthmus having some more credibility due to the poor state of Greece at the time, while the Delvino to Thessaloniki border was a complete pipe dream with no possibility of enactment. Here the situation is more balanced between the two extremes although both are unlikely.

    [2] The total size of the Ottoman Army at the start of 1829 is roughly around 350,000 to 400,000 men, of which nearly 250,000 are facing the Russians, another 100,000 are arrayed along the border with Persia and Egypt, and the remaining 50,000 are spread out across the rest of the Balkans with roughly 25,000 in what is OTL Thessaly and Epirus.
     
    Part 30: The Conference of London
  • Part 30: The Conference of London

    PGBaF Coat of Arms.png

    The Coat of Arms of King Leopold of Greece

    Four Months after the signing of the Treaty of Adrianople, which among other things called for an armistice between the Ottoman Empire and the Greek State, representatives of Britain, France, Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Greece arrived in the city of London to determine the finer points of the peace treaty between them. In addition, plenipotentiaries from Austria, Bavaria, Portugal, Prussia, Saxony, Spain, and Württemberg were also in attendance in a purely observatory role.[1] By the opening of the Conference of London on the 2nd of February, many of the details for the treaty had already been agreed upon by the Conference’s participants. The autonomy of Greece was settled almost immediately in the favor of the Greeks. Despite some initial resistance by the Ottomans, the powers agreed to acknowledge Greece as a fully independent state, separate completely from the Ottoman Empire. The Powers also agreed to guarantee the sanctity of the Greek State and provide it with a loan in the range of 60,000,000 French Francs.

    The form of government for Greece was also dealt with rather quickly as the Conference’s attendees immediately agreed to the Conference of Poros’ proposals, establishing Greece as a monarchy. Whether it was to be a constitutional or absolutist monarchy was left to the discretion of the Greeks. The only issue remaining was the choice of King for Greece. In years past, as many as seven different candidates had been proposed as options for the Greek Crown ranging from the Duke of Nemours to the Duke of Sussex, but by the Fall of 1829 only one candidate remained, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. Born the third son of Duke Francis of Saxe-coburg-Saalfeld and his wife Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf, Leopold was at first glance, a man of little importance, yet surprisingly his fate would remarkably become intertwined with the Great Powers of his age.

    In 1805, his sister Julienne married the Russian Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, brother to Tsar Alexander I. Leopold as an extended member of the Tsar’s family was admitted to the Imperial Russian Army at a young age and bestowed the rank of Major in the Imperial Guard. While it was an honorific rank, Leopold would soon take to the field of battle joining the Tsar at the Battle of Austerlitz, where he exhibited his bravery, his intelligence and his gift for leading men. Despite young Leopold’s valor, the allies were defeated by the French bringing an end to the War of the Third Coalition and he was soon after taken to Paris when Saxe Coburg fell to the French. For several months, Leopold would dwell in the court of Napoleon as little more than a prisoner in a gilded cage before he escaped France for Russia in 1807.

    350px-Leopold_I_als_ruiter.jpg

    Leopold in the Napoleonic Wars

    Leopold would continue to fight Napoleon and France for the next 8 years of his life, taking part in the War of the Fourth Coalition, the War of the Fifth Coalition, the French Invasion of Russia, the War of the Sixth Coalition and the last Hundred Days of Napoleon. Rising through the ranks of the Russian Army, Leopold served with distinction in the battles of Lutzen, Bautzen, Kulm, and Leipzig. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Leopold had achieved the rank of Lieutenant General at the young age of 25, and he commanded the Tsar’s Cuirassiers to great effect at Kulm where he was awarded the Cross of St. George by Tsar Alexander himself.

    After Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815, Leopold found himself in London, where on a chance encounter he won the heart and the hand of Princess Charlotte of Wales with his dashing good looks and infamous charm. The two fell madly in love and were married on the 2nd of May 1816 and were truly happy in their short time together. Despite his own meager standing, Charlotte promised to work hand in hand with her husband as equals ruling Britain as husband and wife, rather than Queen and Prince Consort. Even her father Prince George, who had thus far been dismissive of Charlotte and her opinions, had been won over by Leopold, viewing him as an appropriate match for his daughter and gave his consent to their marriage.[2]

    350px-Princess_Charlotte_Augusta_of_Wales_and_Leopold_I_after_George_Dawe.jpg

    Princess Charlotte and Leopold

    After their marriage, Leopold and Charlotte left the spotlight of London for the privacy of Surrey and Claremont House where they lived together in perfect happiness the likes of which was rarely seen in a royal wedding. As the future Prince Consort, Leopold was inducted into the Order of the Garter and appointed to the rank of Field Marshal in the British Army, although it was a purely honorific commissioning, and he was also provided a yearly stipend of £60,000 allowing him to live in relative luxury with Charlotte. The young couple soon became the hope of the British people with their enlightened views and their charming nature. When the news of Charlotte’s pregnancy filled the country with gossip and joy at their good fortune. Sadly, tragedy would strike the young couple, when Charlotte died in childbirth alongside their unborn son on the 5th of November 1817. The loss of Charlotte utterly destroyed Leopold, denying him everything he had ever wanted. With the love of his life gone and his hopes and dreams gone with her, Leopold fell into a terrible depression that would remain with him for the next 13 years.

    The death of Princess Charlotte plunged the House of Hanover into a succession crisis. It had been presumed that the throne would pass from King George III to his son, Prince George and then to his daughter Charlotte, but her untimely demise had thrown that plan into the fire. As the Regent was unable to receive a divorce from his wife Caroline, his brothers the Duke of Clarence, the Duke of Kent, and the Duke of Cambridge were forced to seek marriages of their own. To the good fortune of Leopold, the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward married Leopold’s sister Victoria. The marriage between Edward and Victoria proved fruitful providing the United Kingdom with a successor to Princess Charlotte, in the young Princess Alexandrina Victoria. The birth of Victoria provided Leopold with another opportunity at prominence in Britain, if he could not serve as Prince Consort in his own right, he could at least become his niece’s adviser or even her regent should George and his brothers meet their ends before she reached her majority.[3] Sadly, for Leopold, George IV and his brothers continued to linger on year after year, frustrating Leopold’s ambition once again.

    Fate was a fickle creature however, and Leopold was provided with a third chance to fulfill his aspirations of greatness in the form of the Kingship of Greece. Leopold had been acutely aware of the war in Greece and while he never considered himself a Philhellene, he took some interest in the struggle of the Hellenes. When word reached Prince Leopold of his candidacy for the Crown of Greece in the Fall of 1829, Leopold grabbed a hold of this opportunity with all his might and refused to let go. He poured himself over every book and map of Greece making sure to catch every little detail every little fact of this country with his personal physician and close friend Christian Friedrich Stockmar, Baron Stockmar. He hired tutors to help him with his Greek, which had become rather shoddy after years of little use and he talked with associates who had traveled to Greece for their opinions and knowledge of the country.

    Leopold also opened a private correspondence with Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias of Greece regarding the land and its people and what his role might be should he accept this opportunity. While he was perturbed at Kapodistrias’ characterization of a rustic little land and its impoverished people, Stockmar’s report on the incredible hardiness of the Greek people and Prime Minister George Canning’s support of his candidacy did much to bolster his flagging opinions on Greece. The moment the throne of Greece was formally offered to him in the opening days of the Conference of London, Leopold enthusiastically accepted. The thought of ruling Greece and restoring it to its former greatness restored some of the vigor and romanticism of his youth that had rotted away after so many years of despair. However, his acceptance of the Greek throne was predicated on the Powers meeting three of his demands.

    320px-Leopold_I%2C_King_of_the_Belgians.JPG

    Leopold circa 1830
    Firstly, he deigned upon the Conference the importance of a loan for Greece. A sum of 12,000,000 French Francs had already been agreed upon by the Conference but through his correspondence with Kapodistrias and the work of his friend Dr. Stockmar, Leopold demanded that sum be increased fivefold. After some deliberation, the Powers agreed to a loan of 60,000,000 Francs to Greece which would be delivered in three installments over the following three years. The Second of Leopold’s demands was a guarantee from the Powers in regards to the security of Greece. He requested a continued military presence in Greece by the Powers until peace could be fully established across the land and to ensure the Ottoman Empire took no aggressive action against Greece for a period of five years. After some debate, the British, French, and Russian delegates agreed to this term as well. Leopold’s final demand was for the territory of Greece to be consistent with the proposal laid forth in the Poros Conference.

    This last demand regarding the territorial extent of Leopold’s future kingdom nearly threatened to destroy his candidacy all together due in large part to the sickness of British Prime Minister George Canning. After his terrible illness in the Spring and Summer of 1827, Canning’s health had remained poor albeit tolerable and he bravely soldiered on despite the hardships for the next three years. Sadly, he fell ill once more in the days following the acceptance of Leopold as King of Greece and was forced to step away from the proceedings for a time. Without Canning’s influence and willpower, the British delegates in attendance dithered aimlessly for several weeks while Canning was recovering. His stand in Viscount Goderich would prove himself to be an unmitigated disaster who failed in every capacity to control the members of his delegation and his party allowing men like Wellington to make inroads in Parliament. Wellington was especially forceful in supporting the Ottoman position in the Conference and his distaste for Leopold was well known.

    When Canning finally returned to the Conference in early May he quickly whipped the British representatives into shape and directed them to support the original proposal from the Poros Conference suggesting the Volos to Arta line. Despite their staunch resistance, the Ottomans were eventually cowed into submission when news of further revolts in the Balkans and the machinations of Muhammed Ali reached the ears of their representatives in London and agreed to a deal. In return for an undisclosed indemnity, the Ottomans would agree to the demands for the Arta to Volos line in addition to Crete and the islands. With Ottoman opposition at an end, the Powers finally began to formalize the terms of the Treaty of London:

    The Treaty of London:
    1. Greece shall be established as an independent state, and shall enjoy all the rights, political, administrative, and commercial, attached to complete independence.

    2. The frontier of the State of Greece shall be limited to the line of demarcation stretching from the village of Anchiaros along the banks of the Bay of Volos in the East to the village of Farsala to the West. From there the border shall travel South along the range of hills to the village of Domokos, from which the border shall go Northwest across the Pindus Mountains to the banks of the Acheloos River near the village of Dendros. The Border will then follow the river to its most westerly point near the village of Mesopirgos before traveling to the north of the city of Arta. Finally, the border shall travel West by the shortest possible distance on land to town of Louros before heading Southwest to the village of Zalongo on the banks of the Adriatic Sea. All land south of this line of demarcation shall be ceded from the Ottoman Empire to the State of Greece. The islands of Chios, Crete, Euboea, Icaria, Psara, Samos, the Cyclades Archipelago, the Fournoi Archipelago, the Saronic Archipelago, and the Sporades Archipelago shall be ceded to the State of Greece.

    3. All territory under Greek occupation hitherto unmentioned shall be restored to the Ottoman Empire in its entirety.

    4. The Government of the State of Greece shall be Monarchial in nature and confided to a prince who shall bear the title, King of Greece. It is the decision of the plenipotentiaries to declare their acceptance of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as King of Greece.

    5. The sovereignty of the Kingdom of Greece shall be guaranteed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Kingdom of France, and the Russian Empire.

    6. Finally, peace shall be established between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Greece.

    With no objections, the Treaty of London was signed on the 29th of May 1830. After nine long years of war, the Greek War of Independence had finally come to an end.

    Next Time: The Coronation of King Leo I


    [1] As Austria and Prussia chose to remain neutral/ opposed to intervention in Greece they were prohibited from having any say in the writing or negotiating of the treaty.

    [2] This opinion wouldn’t last very long. Leopold eventually sided with George’s wife Caroline of Brunswick in their ongoing dispute destroying whatever relationship they might have had. By the time Leopold considered the crown of Greece, King George utterly despised Leopold as well.

    [3] The death of Prince Edward in 1820 and the poor health of George IV would lend credence to Leopold’s ambitions of being Victoria’s regent.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 31: The Coronation of King Leo I
  • Part 31: The Coronation of King Leo I

    2947943.jpg

    The Lion of Saxe-Coburg

    The election of Leopold as King of Greece was a bittersweet moment for him. On one hand, it was the culmination of his life’s work, having finally become a King in his own right due to his own merits. But there were some drawbacks to this decision. By accepting the Crown of Greece, Leopold was forced to give up his yearly allowance of £60,000 from Parliament which by itself was an undesirable turn of events for Leopold, who had become quite the wealthy man collecting his yearly pension. No, the true sacrifice was the loss of his home of 14 years, the beautiful Claremont House. While Leopold and Charlotte had lived in the estate in their short time together, it was a property managed and owned by the British Government, and could not be retained by a foreign head of state. As such, he was forced to surrender his last physical connection to Charlotte for the sake of his crown. The move to Greece also took him far away from his sister Victoria and her daughter, the heir presumptive Princess Alexandrina Victoria (OTL Queen Victoria). Of all his sacrifices, this was the hardest as he had come to adore his niece with all his heart and would miss her most of all.

    Still, the Powers had met all his demands, much to his pleasant surprise, and he had reaffirmed his commitment to Greece when the Treaty of London was signed on the 29th of May. Now all that remained was to organize his transport to Greece and prepare for his coronation. Before embarking, Leopold made one last stop to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where he solemnly bid farewell to his beloved Charlotte before leaving for Greece. Making his way to the port of Dover, Leopold said his goodbyes to his sister and his niece Victoria who had arrived to see him off in what was a genuine display of emotion rarely seen in the man since his wife’s death all those years ago. Promising to write each other letters whenever their busy lives would permit it, Leopold gave the pair a long embrace before he boarded the HMS Madagascar and set sail for Greece on the 20th of June.[1]

    Among Leopold’s company was his longtime companion Doctor Stockmar, the Governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias, the Greek consuls to Britain Andreas Louriotis and Ioannis Orlandos, the former ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Stratford Canning, the British diplomat Edward Dawkins, the British Philhellenes Lord George Byron, Colonel Thomas Gordon, Colonel Leicester Stanhope, and Edward Trewlany, the Scottish historian George Finlay, the Prussian Philhellene and Leopold’s longtime confidant Baron Heinrich Friedrich Karl von Stein, and several others. By all accounts it was a relatively quiet voyage down the Atlantic coast of Europe and into the Mediterranean Sea. Passing the Straits of Gibraltar, the Madagascar was joined by the ships of the Allied Fleet and escorted to the Ionian Islands where they would make their final layover. Arriving off the coast of Zante on the 10th of July, Leopold and his entourage waited for three days before transferring from the Madagascar to the Greek warship Hellas as they made their final approach to the Greek capital of Nafplion on the 14th.

    As they neared the harbor of Nafplion, the calm waters of the Argolic were broken by a volley of cannon fire coming from the mighty guns of Palamidi and Akronafplion in a royal salute. Pulling into the harbor throngs of people came into view as a crowd of 10,000 soldiers and sailors, merchants and farmers, landlords and peasants, men and women from all the islands and all the hills of Greece had come to see their new king. First to disembark from the ship was Ioannis Kapodistrias, followed soon after by the other Greek dignitaries. Next went the various Philhellenes and foreign representatives in their company. Last to land was Leopold himself who was adorned in a brilliant military uniform of a Greek General. His navy-blue coat and trousers were perfectly pressed and pleated, his scarlet sash glittered exquisitely, his black boots were polished to perfection, and his golden embroidered belt and epaulettes, which bore the insignia of a Lieutenant General, glistened in the light of the Greek sun. He was truly a sight to see as his physique still retained vestiges of the strength and grace from his younger years and his face remained as handsome as ever.

    600px-Peter_v_Hess_K%C3%B6nig_Otto_v_Griechenland_%281%29.jpg

    Leopold Arrives in Nafplion

    From the dock, Leopold and Kapodistrias made their way down the cobbled streets of the city on a long tour, seeing the sights and visiting with the people all the while making their way to the Greek Senate building in the center of town. Inside, he was greeted by all 30 Senators, various ministers, bureaucrats, and administrators amounting to the entirety of the Greek Government and the Metropolitan of Argos, Bishop Meletios. The congregation formally welcomed Leopold to their country and beckoned him to join them in the festivities prepared for his arrival. First among them was a National Assembly, which was little more than a ceremonial approval of the Treaty of London.[2] While some men in attendance would have liked more from the treaty, they recognized it was the best they could hope for given the circumstances and ratified it in its entirety with little debate. The Greek Constitution was also amended to reflect the change in government from a Republic to a Constitutional Monarchy.

    With the Treaty of London formally sanctioned by the Greek Government and the Constitution appropriately amended, Leopold was legally recognized as King of Greece. There now remained only one matter which might trouble his coronation, his faith. The topic had been brought up before on several occasions during the Conference of London earlier in the year, yet Leopold had remained auspiciously mum on the topic throughout. Now cornered, Kapodistrias and the multitude of Greek dignitaries in attendance once more called on Leopold to convert to the Orthodox faith as a sign of unity with his new people. Once more though, Leopold evaded the issue. Citing fatigue from the long journey, the King to be asked for a night of rest, thought, and prayer before coming to his decision which he promised the following morning. To that the assembled mass agreed, disappointedly, before departing for the night.

    From the Senate Hall, Leopold was directed towards a vacant manor on the north side of town. It was a pleasantly quaint looking building, standing two stories tall with a façade of five large windows and a fresh coat of plaster. The previous owner, a Turkish merchant, had long since abandoned the building to the Greeks when the city was first liberated from the Ottomans in 1821. Of all the homes in Nafplion, it was one of the nicest, which wasn’t a difficult feat to manage given the poor state of the town, still it sufficed as a temporary court for the new King Leopold and some work had been done recently to improve its appearance in preparation for his arrival. The manor was also furnished with a variety of wares, donated from the local magnates and complimented with the rather meager cargo Leopold had brought with him from Britain, which was surprisingly little for a man of his standing. The interior had similarly been plastered recently, with fine stone floors, and high ceilings, it was a relatively comfortable house by all standards and suited Leopold just fine for the moment.

    Before retiring for the evening, Leopold and his companions were treated to a brilliant celebration by the local Greeks who lauded tales of days past and sung songs of ancient glories. They provided their finest wines and their most treasured delicacies. Joining in the festivities were the various bands of the British, French, and Russian ships who played their songs and anthems with great vigor. The streets were filled with various peoples of various lands speaking various languages partaking in a display of joyousness that hadn’t been seen in this land for generations. The strife that had so divided the Greeks was for one single moment put aside in celebration of their independence and their new king. On and on the merriment went, going well into the hours of the night and in some parts of the town, the revelry could still be heard at the crack of dawn. Leopold for his part stayed as long as was proper before thanking his generous hosts for the feast and entertainment before departing for bed. When morning arrived the following day, Leopold returned to the Senate building where he gave his answer. He would officially convert to the Greek Orthodox Church, though he asked clemency should he fall into the practices of his old faith.

    Leopold was not a particularly pious man by any measure. Though he continued to attend church, sing the hymns, and read the prayers, his faith had been thoroughly shaken when his wife and child died that cold November day. Leopold had also been somewhat of a liberal in his youth and while he had moderated his views in recent years, he still retained some of his old views about religion. Still he recognized the importance it held to the Greeks and seeking to mollify their anxiety, he agreed to their demand. If nothing else, he wished to solidify himself upon his new throne before he made any enemies in this unfamiliar land. His response was met with applause from the delegates and the gathering crowd. With the matter agreed to, Leopold was baptized into Orthodox Church in a private ceremony in the church of Agios Spyridonas the following day. With this matter concluded, the final hurdle to his coronation had been cleared and the last preparations were being made.

    Unfortunately, the number of foreign dignitaries in attendance was lower than expected given the events in Western Europe. News from overseas returned reports of revolution in France which had rightfully concerned their neighbors and sent Prime Minister Canning into a depression given his personal fondness of King Charles, who coincidentally was now the prestigious occupant of Claremont House. Portugal continued to be gripped in the throes of civil war and Spain continued to fight for their former colonies. Still the proceedings continued to progress and by the 14th of August, the coronation was ready to begin. Wearing the same military uniform, he had arrived in the month before, Leopold was departed his manor, which had been appropriately named Apló Palati (the Simple Palace) by the local people, for the Church of Agios Georgios. Traveling by way of open carriage, Leopold was seated in clear view of all who came out to see him as they made the procession of horses and carriages traveled down the narrow roads, roads which had become even tighter given the high number of people in them. All the way the streets were lined with people, many threw laurels in his path, soldiers and sailors saluted their new King as he came into view, while others shouted in adoration as Leopold passed by.


    se60.jpg

    The Metropolitan Church of Agios Georgios[3]

    At 10:00 in the morning the procession finally reached the Church of Agios Georgios and the ceremony officially began. Entering the Church, Leopold, his companions, Kapodistrias, and the members of the Greek government all took their places in the basilica, with Leopold going to the altar where a throne had been prepared for him. After an expedited church service, Leopold kneeled before the Bishop Meletios who blessed Leopold and gifted him the royal regalia, most of which had been purchased only weeks before from a jeweler in Paris, before prompting him to rise as King of Greece. Thunderous applause soon filled the small church as people reveled in this historic and patriotic moment. Leopold, was himself deeply moved by the outpouring of love by these people, his people, and felt compelled to speak. Addressing the crowd, Leopold promised to fulfill his duties as King to the best of his ability, to defend the sovereignty of Greece, and to uphold the constitution so long as he lived. Once more the people cheered for their king and for their country. The reign of King Leopold had begun.

    Next Time: No Rest for the Weary


    [1] The HMS Madagascar was the ship that took Otto to Greece in 1832.

    [2] Technically, the National Assembly would have begun as soon as news arrived in Greece regarding the signing of the Treaty of London back on May 29th. Given Leopold departed from London only 22 days after its signing, it would make some degree of sense that they would have been in the midst of the Assembly by the time he arrived in the country, and opted to formally accept him as their king while he was in their presence.

    [3] The Agios Georgios is one of the oldest and most historic churches in Nafplion. Originally built in the early 16th Century by the Venetians, the Church was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation of the city in 1540, until the Venetians recaptured it in 1686. It was then converted back into a mosque when the Ottomans reconquered the Morea in 1715 until the Greeks finally liberated Nafplio in 1822. This is the church where the funeral service for Ioannis Kapodistrias took place and where Otto had intended on having his coronation. The bell tower and narthex were added during the regency of King Otto in 1834.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 32: No Rest for the Weary
  • Part 32: No Rest for the Weary

    250px-Leopold_I_by_Franz_Winterhalter.jpg

    King Leopold I of Greece


    Almost immediately after his coronation, Leopold was beset with problems on all fronts as he took charge of this war-torn land. The Western Morea from Kalamata to Patras had been reduced to a barren wasteland by Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt and his men for the two years he was in the area. Villages and towns had been wiped from the map, their riches plundered, their people killed or enslaved and any sense of law and order in the land had completely collapsed after their sudden arrival and equally sudden withdrawal in 1827. Whole swaths of the country had been effectively depopulated, with hundreds of thousands of people dead, enslaved, settled in refugee camps across the country, or simply missing. Similarly, to the North, the border with the Ottomans remained a lawless zone, prone to bandits and highwaymen who preyed on the locals with impunity.[1] This thievery was continued at sea, where pirates attacked ships and disrupted trade in the Aegean. While it had been greatly hampered thanks to the efforts of Admiral Andreas Miaoulis and the Greek Navy, pirates continued to operate near the Anatolian coast and northern edge of the Aegean, threatening Greek shipping and trade.

    The economic state of Greece also proved to be a severe problem as it had been primarily dependent on agriculture and trade before the war, institutions which had both been thoroughly devastated during the war, which left the Government on the verge of bankruptcy after the war. Taxation had rarely been enacted because of the conflict and where it had been implemented it was generally inefficient and unpopular. The collection of tariffs had been equally unpopular and equally rare due to the high volume of piracy on the seas. Another issue was the National Bank of Greece which loomed on the brink of collapse as corrupt policies and rampant debt had gradually drained its deposits and investments. Making matters worse were the unruly Capetanei, regional magnates, who had threatened rebellion against the central authority of the Greek Government if they were not properly compensated monetarily for their services and demanded that their old rights and privileges be restored to them. Though he had been appraised of some of these issues prior to his coronation, most had calmed down substantially during his first month in Greece, likely due to the large naval presence in the region by the British, French, and Russians.

    The Allied Fleet also proved to be a point of contention and conflict in Greece. Britain, French, and Russia actively worked to increase their own influence in the nascent Kingdom while simultaneously diminishing that of their rivals. This had the unfortunate effect of reducing cooperation between the Powers when it came to hunting down pirates and restoring order to the countryside. If anything, it increased the unrest throughout the country, if one power supported one group of Greeks, the others would support their adversaries at the expense of the National Government. It was a preposterous situation, and one which the Greeks themselves did little to dissuade, largely because they couldn’t. The alignment and composition of the Greek Government with the election of Leopold as King and the continued prominence of Ioannis Kapodistrias had also done much to sour France’s opinion of Greece. King Leopold was generally viewed by the French as a strong proponent of the British government due to his personal and familial connection to the land. Kapodistrias, meanwhile, was considered as little more than an instrument of the Russian Government and an unwitting pawn of Tsar Nicholas meant solely to strengthen their hold on the region.[2] Under the impression that they had little prospects in Greece and troubled with emerging unrest at home, much of the French Expeditionary Force was recalled in the days following Leopold’s coronation.

    Leopold would learn an important lesson during his first few days in Greece, for all intents and purposes the people of Greece lacked a singular national spirit. Though they considered themselves to be “Greek” they did not truly understand what it meant. Generations of foreign rule had managed to erode much of the cohesiveness of the Greek people who had been reverted to a tribal societal structure with the idea of Hellenism extending only to the edge of their respective communities. Many considered themselves to be Maniots, Moreots, Arcadians, Souliotes, Arvanites, Hydriots, Spetsiots, Chians, and many others rather than Greeks, which was itself a concept that had only reemerged in recent years. By all accounts, Greece was a country that was expected to fail, it was a state that only existed because of the mercy and good will of the Great Powers. Leopold endeavored to prove them all wrong. Faced with so many problems at once, Leopold chose to confront the ones he could deal with personally, the pirates and the bandits, while leaving the those in the realm of politics to Kapodistrias.[3]

    Though he had technically been granted control of the armed forces through the Constitution as Commander in Chief, it was generally expected to be nothing more than a formality, with much of the real control being exerted by his ministers and generals. Leopold, however, had every intention of broadening his power and cementing his role in Greece by using the crisis which he now found himself within. Directing the Greek Navy under Admiral Andreas Miaoulis to begin curtailing the piracy in the Aegean with all the ships available to him, Leopold himself took direct control of the army and departed for the border with the Ottoman Empire. Over the course of the next two months, Leopold spent his time chasing bandits and brigands through the hills, establishing guard posts along the border, and generally meting out justice in the region before finally handing over command of the operation to the Souliot Markos Botsaris.

    400px-Rumeliote_light_infantry_at_Argos.jpg

    The Hellenic Army Hunting Bandits

    Returning to Nafplion in early November, Leopold found the situation with the Islanders and Maniotes had scarily improved, if anything it had gotten worse in his absence. Angered at the loss of their autonomy under Kapodistrias’ government, the magnates of Greece had all but entered into revolt. Since arriving in the country over three years ago, Kapodistrias had worked to rein in the various provinces and actors across the country by implementing a tighter system of governance over the provinces of Greece. While it had been successful in most parts of the country, some regions of Greece now found themselves with less freedoms than they had enjoyed under the Sultan. Many had also been incensed by Kapodistrias’ power grab during the Fourth National Assembly in 1828 which had resulted in the weakening of the Senate and the strengthening of the Governor’s office. Chief among the malcontents were the Hydriots and Spetsiots, who along with the Maniotes, now appeared on the edge of rebellion against Kapodistrias. The matter was made worse by the fact that Leopold, in his ignorance of Greek politics, had given command of the Greek Navy to the Hydriot Andreas Miaoulis who had now retreated to the island of Poros and threaten to burn the fleet should their demands not be met.

    Leopold, using his newness to his advantage, went to treat with Miaoulis to reach an amiable end to the conflict. Presenting himself as a neutral party in the conflict between Kapodistrias and his opponents, King Leopold offered himself as an unbiased arbitrator for which they could air their grievances. Miaoulis coming to trust King Leopold recounted how the Hydriots had invested their fortunes, their ships, and their lives into the war effort, and with the war now over they wished to receive payment for their services. When Georgios Kountouriotis and the Hydriot ship captains brought this request to Kapodistrias in October, he scoffed at their demands for repayment. Kapodistrias in his defense, had nothing to pay them with as the Government lingered on the cusp of bankruptcy and could only generate enough income to pay its current expense, let alone compensate the numerous investors and supporters should they come looking for the return on their investments.

    Leopold came to find himself in agreement with Kapodistrias. From a purely economic standpoint, the Greek Government simply did not have the means to repay the Hydriots and all their other financial supporters. Still he could not simply allow the Hydriots to continue their revolt and so he offered to compensate them from his own pocket. Rather than paying them directly, he donated what funds he did have to the Greek Government, and then directed them to make payments to the Hydriots. Though it did not fulfill the entirety of their arrears, it bought Leopold and the Greek Government some time to negotiate, it also allowed Leopold to remove Miaoulis from control of the Greek fleet by making him the King’s chief naval advisor. He also awarded the Admiral with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer for his service to Greece. With Miaoulis removed from command, Leopold installed the loyal Admiral Constantine Kanaris as commander of the Greek Navy and instructed him disperse the disloyal Hydriots and Spetsiots sailors among the pro government ships and replace them with men loyal to the government. Though there was some scuffling between the sailors, no one was seriously injured in the ensuing takeover.

    250px-Miaoylis-elaio.jpg

    Admiral Andreas Miaoulis

    With their ships now under the government’s control, Leopold had neutralized the militaristic threat from the Islanders, forcing them to come to terms. Provided they ceased all seditious activity, Leopold promised to provide proper compensation to the Islanders as soon as the state's budget improved. But as soon as one crisis had ended another began in the Mani. The Government appointed governor to the region had been forcibly expelled from the Mani by force, and all efforts to enforce the government’s authority in the region had been met with violence on the part of the Maniotes. The primary agitator in the Mani was the war hero Petros Mavromichalis, whose status as the last Bey of the Mani invoked respect and legitimacy in the region where an outsider could not. Added to that was his family’s impressive record from the war of independence which had resulted in a series of stinging defeats against Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt.

    King Leopold dispatched emissaries to meet with Petrobey and his brothers and broach the prospect of a meeting to negotiate a solution to this impasse. Kapodistrias was of the mind to arrest and imprison Petros and his brother Tzanis when they arrived in Nafplion on the 10th of December as was the right and proper punishment for their offense against the law. Leopold, having given his word for an honest dialogue between the two sides rejected the brash measure from the Count as it would ruin not only the King’s reputation, but also that of the Government itself in the eyes of the people. To so blatantly betray the good will of two men, even if those men deserved imprisonment, would destroy any notion of unity Kapodistrias and Leopold wished to construct among the Greeks. So, it was that the meeting between the Mavromichalis brothers, the Count, and the King took place. Grievances were heard, compromises were reached and everyone walked away from the feeling somewhat better regarding the arrangement than they had anticipated. Leopold recalled the previous governor and in his place, he appointed Petros Mavromichalis as Governor of Laconia in his stead. It was a temporary measure that went halfway towards his goal of centralization and one which would need a permanent solution rather soon.

    Of all the main actors from this brief crisis, only King Leopold emerged with his reputation enhanced. His courage in battle, his calmness in the face of hardship, and his common-sense solutions had proven effective in this time of trouble winning over many of his doubters. He had shown strength but also magnanimity to those that sought to oppose him, he exhibited sternness but also a reasonable degree of flexibility. Seeking a more permanent solution, Leopold, together with Kapodistrias and the Legislature embarked on a systematic reformation of the administrative, economic, and military institutions of Greece that would shape the course of things to come.

    Next Time: Reformation


    [1] It has widely been believed that the Ottomans were permitting their brigands to cross the border and raid the Greek countryside.

    [2] This opinion was shared by the British who actively worked to unseat Kapodistrias in OTL and ITTL to a lesser extent. Believing him to be a Russian agent, the British Government supported Kapodistrias’ rivals and opponents, prompting many to revolt against him in 1830 and 1831. Ultimately, in a way the British are responsible, at least partially for the death of Ioannis Kapodistrias due to their interloping and interference into Greek politics.

    [3] When Leopold became King of Belgium in 1831, the Netherlands invaded sparking the 10 Days Campaign. Rather than have the French Army fight off the Dutch, Leopold took command of the Belgian “Army” and went to fight the Dutch near Antwerp. It was a complete disaster and the French were forced to intervene, but it showed Leopold’s willingness to fight for his throne, which he will certainly need in Greece as well.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 33: Reformation
  • Part 33: Reformation
    Lion+near+Hymettus.jpg

    The Colossal Lion of Hymettus

    Meeting on the 5th of January 1831, King Leopold, Ioannis Kapodistrias, the members of the Greek Government, and numerous delegates and representatives from across Greece assembled in the city of Nafplion to address the issues facing their country.

    Political Reforms:

    First on the docket was the abolition of the Office of Governor of Greece. With the arrival of King Leopold, and his status as Head of State and Commander in Chief, many of the powers bestowed upon the Governor now came under the purview of the King. As such, the Office of the Governor of Greece was abolished and in its place, Ioannis Kapodistrias was elected Prime Minister of Greece. As Prime Minister, he would serve as Head of Government and direct the King’s Cabinet. He would also oversee the Legislature and set its agenda. Kapodistrias would serve a four year term and could be removed or reappointed at the discretion of the King.

    Next was citizenship. All Greek peoples residing within the Kingdom of Greece as of the 29th of May 1830 were granted Greek citizenship, as were any Greek tradesmen or diplomats working abroad on behalf of the Greek State. Greek citizenship was also bestowed to the Aromanians, the Arvanites, the Romaniotes, the Souliotes, and the Philhellenes who remained in the country following the War for Independence. Citizens of the Kingdom of Greece were entitled to equal protection under the laws of Greece and the right to vote in local and national elections. Universal suffrage was established for all men 25 years or older in Greece.

    Moving on, the next series of reforms proposed during the Assembly dealt with the complete reorganization of the administrative division of Greece. During the War for Independence and its immediate aftermath, Greece generally continued to follow the province structure established by the Ottoman Empire despite the differences in administration and territory between them. Another issue was much of the infrastructure and bureaucracy for those provinces had been lost during the war leaving the Greeks with little to take control over. As such, a new system needed to be established from the ground up. The old provinces were dissolved and in their place, new units called Nomoi (Counties or Prefectures), were created to serve as the basis for the national government’s administration.[1] The extent of each Nomos was determined with geography, demographics, and history in mind. In total, there were to be 14 Nomoi:

    1. The Nome of Argolis and Corinthia
    2. The Nomos of Arcadia
    3. The Nomos of Laconia
    4. The Nomos of Messenia
    5. The Nomos of Achaea and Elis
    6. The Nomos of Attica and Boeotia
    7. The Nomos of Phthiotis and Phocis
    8. The Nomos of Euboea
    9. The Nomos of Aetolia-Acarnania
    10. The Nomos of Arta
    11. The Nomos of the Archipelago
    12. The Nomos of Chios and Samos
    13. The Nomos of Chania
    14. The Nomos of Heraklion
    Timeline Greece Nomos Map 1831.png

    Each Nomos shall be directed by an Nomarchos (Governor) and an Advisory Council. The Nomarchos shall be selected by the King, with the advice and consent of the Senate, from a prepared list of candidates submitted by the Nomos’ Council. Each Council shall be comprised of popularly elected representatives from their respective Nomos, with the size of the councils being restricted to 30 Councilmen. Together, the Governor and the Advisory Council shall enforce the laws of the state and manage the administrative and local affairs of their respective Nomos. Each Nomos shall be divided amongst several municipalities, directed by a locally elected mayor or chieftain. In addition, each Nomos shall send representatives to the Vouli (House of Representatives), proportional to the total population of the Nomos. To determine the number of representatives for each Nomos, a new census shall be called to take place immediately following the Assembly’s conclusion and elections were to be held following its completion.

    The Legislature was reformed as a bicameral legislature, with the House of Representatives being established as a new legislative body working in conjuncture with the Senate. It was to be an elected chamber, with its members selected by popular vote. Each representative would be elected to a 4-year term and could serve as many terms as they were able. Each representative would be a resident of their respective Nomos. The House of Representatives had the power to craft legislation and establish committees but it did not have the powers of advice and consent with the Monarch, which was granted solely to the Senate. The Senate remained an exclusive chamber of the legislature, with its members appointed directly by the King with the advice and consent of the Prime Minister. The Senate was restricted to 30 Senators, whose members would serve until death or retirement from office. The Senate had the power to approve treaties, craft legislation, establish committees, and confirm the Monarch’s appointments to the Governorships, the Cabinet, and the Judiciary.

    Turning to the Monarch’s cabinet, it was established at 8 members; the Prime minister, the Foreign Minister, the Minister of War, the Minister of the Navy the Justice Minister, the Internal Affairs Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Commerce Minister. Each Minister would have responsibility over their respective Ministries and would serve at the discretion of the King. The Prime Minister would serve as the Head of Government, leading the King’s cabinet, and setting the agenda for the legislature. The Ministers appointed in 1831 were:

    Prime Minister – Ioannis Kapodistrias
    Foreign Minister – Alexandros Mavrokordatos
    Minister of the Army – Richard Church [2]
    Minister of the Navy – Andreas Miaoulis
    Justice Minister – Christodoulos Klonaris
    Internal Affairs Minister – Spyridon Trikoupis
    Treasury Minister - Georgios Kountouriotis
    Commerce Minister – Andreas Zaimis

    The Assembly of 1831 also finally established the Judiciary of Greece as its own institution, separate from the Monarchy and Legislature as had been originally intended in the Constitution of 1823. The Judiciary of Greece was to be composed of three High Courts, the Supreme Court of Greece, the Council of State, and the Court of Audit. The Supreme Court of Greece, would serve as the supreme judicial body for civil and criminal law, having ultimate jurisdiction over all national and local courts in the Kingdom of Greece. The 20 Judges of the Supreme Court would be appointed by the King with the advice and consent of the Senate and serve until death or retirement. Its members would examine the accuracy of each judgement given by the lower courts by ensuring in its decisions their compliance with the laws of Greece. The Lower appellate and municipal courts shall be established by their respective Nome, with the Judges of those courts appointed by the local Eparchos and Advisory Council.

    The Assembly also established a Council of State, in the vein of the French Conseil d'État, to serve as a legal advisory body to the King, his Majesty’s Cabinet, and the Legislature regarding administrative and judicial disputes of the state. It was given the power to review prospective pieces of legislation to determine their compliance, or violation, with the Constitution and convey this information to the King, the Cabinet, and the Legislature. The Council of State was constituted as a twenty-member chamber headed by the Prime Minister, serving as the Council’s President, or in his absence, the Justice Minister. Seven additional members appointed by the King are seated upon the Council’s presiding board, with the council itself being comprised of 12 Privy Councilors and Associate Judges serving on the Council. Each member of the Council shall serve a 4-year term.

    A Court of Audit shall be established and tasked with the advising the King, the Cabinet, and the Legislature on financial and legislative audits. The Court of Audits shall have the power to control state spending, both national and local and to audit individuals and institutions, both public and private, for financial records. It is also responsible for the accountability of public officials and administrators and jurisdiction in salary cases for civil servants. It shall be a chamber composed of 20 judges and lawyers, appointed by the king and serving for a period of four years. An academy for Judges shall be established for the proper training and teaching of prospective Judges for all the courts of the Kingdom of Greece.

    One last political amendment, was the relocation of the capital of the Kingdom of Greece. Since its liberation in December 1822, Nafplion had served as the capital of Greece dutifully providing the bare necessities for the governance of the country. It was strategically located along the coast of the Argolic Gulf, it was protected by a series of fortifications dating from the early 1700’s, and it’s economy was flourishing relative to the far flung regions of the Kingdom. However, there existed a multitude of issues with the city of 6,000 people. Many of Nafplion’s roads were little more than dirt trails which were heavily rutted, and the few paved roads in the city were generally few and far between. Litter and debris had been strewn across the city during the war and remained there long after it had ended. Most worryingly, the aqueduct system in the city was in poor repair, and had proven unable to support the increase in residents following King Leopold’s arrival and coronation the year prior. It was a Medieval city more akin to a provincial town, than a modern capital of a strong state. Many of the Greeks had recognized these problems as well and while some had planned to develop Nafplion, others were looking to abandon it in favor of other more illustrious cities.

    Several candidates for the new capital were proposed from Amphissa, Missolonghi, Patras, and Tripolitsa among many others. While each proved relatively popular, each was summarily rejected by the Assembly. Amphissa was too far North and too remote to be the capital. Missolonghi, despite its impressive pedigree during the war, remained a wreck, with many buildings still ruined two years after its liberation from the Ottomans. It was also too far too the west, placing it far away from the core of the state, this reasoning was also used to discredit Patras’ bid for the capital despite its wealth and relatively intact infrastructure. Tripolitsa, was an impressive choice as it was among the largest cities in Greece and its walls and positioning made it strong defensibly, however, it was an unacceptable option for the Islanders being too far inland and away from their influence. Tripolitsa was also in the midst of a terrible pandemic making it undesirable to many in attendance. With these options removed from consideration, the choice fell to the last candidates remaining, Athens and Argos.

    Both cities were centrally located in the country, both were relatively close to the sea, both had illustrious and ancient pasts dating to the classical age of Greek heroes and thinkers, and both had been the scene of great battles during the war for independence. The similarities ended there however. Of the two, Athens was unequivocally more famous for its ancient history, it was the birthplace of democracy, the sciences, philosophy. It was a center of learning and innovation in the past and the home to many famous leaders, thinkers, heroes and dignitaries. It was also far larger in terms of population, size, and scale at over 5,000 to less than 3,000 for Argos. Ultimately, the decision came down to politics as the Islanders, Roumeliotes, and Cretans all united behind Athens in a bid to oppose the Moreots. After some debate, Athens was declared the winner by a margin of nine votes.

    LEO05.jpg

    Athens, Capital of the Kingdom of Greece
    Next Time: The King of Steam and the Count of Coal

    [1] I’ll probably refer to the Nomos as counties or prefectures on occasion as they are generally interchangeable.

    [2] I had meant to include Sir Richard Church earlier in the narrative, but his role was going to be relatively minor I left it out to keep each part concise. He was a Philhellene from Ireland who was actually Theodoros Kolokotronis’ friend during the Napoleonic War as the Commander of the Greek Light Infantry Regiment. After the Napoleonic Wars, he took a commission with the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and remained there for several years before traveling to Greece in 1827 where he was immediately put in command of the Greek Army during the failed liberation of Athens. After the war, he had a falling out with Kapodistrias and resigned from the Greek Army, but after Kapodistrias’ death he rejoined the military to restore order to the country. He later became the Minister of the Army under King Otto in 1835 and then a Senator in 1844. ITTL, he makes his way to Greece around the same time in 1827, but because of Kapodistrias he never gains command of the Greek military like in OTL and instead serves primarily in the administration of the Greek military.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 34: The King of Steam and the Count of Coal
  • Part 34: The King of Steam and the Count of Coal

    athens-dodwell.jpg

    The Bazaar of Athens (Pre-Revolution)

    With the political debate settled for the time being, the focus of the assembly turned to the economy. While the islands of Chios, Hydra, Psara, and Spetses among others had gained great wealth under ensign of the Sultan, much of mainland Greece had been a backwater in the Ottoman Empire, relegated to klephts, small farmers, and pastoralists. Some magnates on land did manage to secure great wealth for themselves, but they were generally few and far between, or in many cases they had made their fortunes off the backs of the poor and the downtrodden. Taxation under the Sublime Porte had been equally oppressive, crushing any hope of economic advancement for the regular Greek peasants leaving most to scrape by on a pittance, it was no wonder that Greek men took up banditry to make a living by the tens of thousands.

    This dearth of economic wealth in Greece was made worse by the war which saw the complete destruction of Chios and Psara, the sinking of the great merchant fleets of islands, and the devastation of the Greek countryside from Methoni to Missolonghi. Nearly half of the farms, plantations, vineyards, and orchards in the country had been damaged or destroyed, and more than two thirds of the cattle, sheep, and goat flocks of Greek herders had been stolen or killed during the conflict. Efforts by the Greek Government to collect of taxes became an increasingly rare occurrence in war torn Greece as warring bands of Ottoman, Albanian, and Egyptian soldiers pillaged the land with relative impunity from 1821 to 1829. Without any real means of generating an effective income, the Greek Government was forced to take out loans to finance the war effort against the Ottoman Empire.

    Over the course of the war, Greece developed a debt exceeding 3,000,000 Pounds Sterling. Nearly 2.8 million Pounds were borrowed from the city of London and the London Greek Committee, another 20,000 Pounds had been loaned by the Russian Tsar Nicolas, with the remainder coming from private banks, investors, and Philhellenes. While some expected nothing in return, others were not as generous and desired a return on their investments at some point within their lifetimes. To that end, Leopold was forced to ask for another loan from the Great Powers upon his ascension to the throne of Greece amounting to 60 million French Francs or 2.5 million British Pounds.[1] When the first installment of £833,333 arrived in 1831, it was spent in a matter of weeks, with much of it going towards a myriad of issues.

    The largest allocation by far was the expenditures on the military, at roughly 15.3 million Phoenixes or just over £550,000 between the army and the navy at the end of the war. Next were the payments on the interest for the many loans provided during and after the war, which amounted to over 7.5 million Phoenixes a year (£270,000). Then were the costs of the government bureaucracy itself, which was estimated at 2 million Phoenixes (£71,700). Finally, the amount of money allocated to the restoration projects around the country, such as clearing roads, rebuilding farms, building schools and hospitals, expanding ports, etc., all of which came in at a cost of around 1.94 million Phoenixes (£69,500). Altogether, the total budget for the Greek Government in 1830, amounted to about 26.74 million Phoenixes, or just below £959,000.[2]

    With the addition of the government’s revenue of 7,101,915 phoenixes (£284,077), the Greek government ran a small surplus amounting to about £158,410. Without the most recent loan, however, it was clear that the Greek Government would be forced to borrow more money in the future to make ends meet and to repair the damage it had suffered during the war. It quickly became evident to all those in attendance that Greece desperately needed economic reforms lest it be destined for poverty and bankruptcy. As it was currently oriented, the Greek economy was highly dependent upon agriculture and the transporting of that agricultural product to prospective buyers. To that end it was determined that a large class of free farmers was needed to strengthen the economy. Greece faced a problem though.

    Out of a total of 15 million acres (~60,824 km2) of land in the country, only 4 million acres were presently being worked by farmers or plantation owners. Of the remaining 11 million acres, over 2 million acres of land were deemed to be ill-suited for farming; the soil was too poor or the land too mountainous. As such, only 9 million acres were available for agriculture, here again there was an issue as nearly 5 million acres were under the control of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It was clear that land reform was necessary to boost the economy and expand farming production in Greece.

    Relieving the Church of their lands would be no easy task. The Patriarch was a puppet of the Ottoman Sultan for all intents and purposes, and would never agree to ceding the property of his church to a state which effectively ignored him, let alone a state which had just broken away from his master, Sultan Mahmud II. Consulting with his ecclesiastical advisor Theoklitos Farmakidis, Leopold came to the decision that he would declare all the Churches within the Kingdom of Greece to be Autocephalous of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople. In his place, a Holy Synod of Greek Metropolitan Bishops would be established as the predominant authority in the Church of Greece. Leopold and the Greek Government would serve in an observatory role, but in reality they held little to no power over any of the Church's internal proceedings. While the decision initially proved unpopular with many of people at first, over time their fears were placated as little actually changed within the church, outside of its top leadership. The benefits of this decision were more immediate however.

    250px-Archdiocese_of_Athens_emblem.svg.png

    Seal of the Church of Greece

    With the consent of the newly established Church of Greece, the Government of Greece subsequently closed 500 monasteries and churches across Greece for having five or less monks or nuns. The lands upon which the Church had sustained itself for hundreds of years were also seized by the Greek Government and between the two nearly 5 million acres of land had been sold by the church. The move to separate the Church of Greece from the Ecumenical Patriarch also allowed the Greek Government to take custody over the Church’s property in Athens, simplifying the movement of Government assets to the new capital. In return for these generous transfers of property, the Government would agree to pay the Church for its administrative upkeep, the services to the local communities, the construction and maintenance of churches, and the training of the clergy.

    With the Church liberated from the puppet Patriarch in Constantinople, the Assembly returned to the issue of land reform. In addition to the former church lands, the Government now owned about 9 million acres. Some of this land, roughly 3.5 million acres had been mortgaged during the war as collateral for the loans, even still the Government had just shy of 6 million acres of land currently sitting vacant and unproductive. The only question remained what to do with it. Clearly, they didn’t want to just give it away, but at over 5.5 million acres it was too much land to sit on for long, especially while their debts continuing to mount. Eventually they reached a solution. To achieve their desired outcome of a stronger land-owning class of farmers, Greek families, with a priority towards veterans and displaced refugees, would be extended a line of credit from the Government amounting to 2,000 phoenixes which would go towards the purchasing of vacant property at auctions across the country.

    It was also hoped that by distributing this land evenly among the people, that it could decrease tensions between the disparate factions and communities within Greece. To ensure that the land was distributed fairly, a National Cadastre would be established to survey the land and divide it into separate, but equal plots of land. It wasn’t a perfect solution as in many cases, the wealthiest members of Greek society bought several plots of land at these auctions leaving others with nothing, but generally most Greeks managed to walk away with something. It also took some time to fully implement, but by 1841, most of the land had been sold off and by 1846 it was estimated that the average farm in Greece came in around 20 acres, which was considered large enough for self-sustenance. In addition, a fund was to be established to subsidize smaller farmers purchase new farming equipment. Kapodistrias also championed the promotion of potato farming, implementing crop rotation, and utilizing modern farming tools. To that end he himself took up the plow and created his New Model Farm near Tiryns, just north of Nafplion.[3]

    With the perseverance of King Leopold and Prime Minister Kapodistrias, and the continued investment of money and resources by the Greek Government, their efforts paid off and the Greek agriculture economic sector would begin showing signs of a strong recovery by the end of the year. This development created a surprisingly good problem for the Greeks in the coming months. Products headed for the ports of Piraeus, Patras, Nafplion, Heraklion, and Antirrio, among others soon encountered a growing backlog of traffic. The infrastructure of Greece, which had never been great to begin with, had been purposefully worsened by both the Ottomans and the Greeks during the war to impede the other. Roads had been obstructed with boulders, logs, and barricades, while docks had been torn up or their ports had been littered with rocks and debris hampering ships. The Greeks may have grapes and olives in abundance, but they had no means of transporting them to those in demand of their product. Aside from the traditional solution of paving roads and expanding ports, Leopold and several members in his entourage also suggested a more inspired solution, steam locomotives.

    During his 15 years in Britain, Leopold had been keenly aware of the latest industrial innovations, but the most intriguing of all was the locomotive. The Greeks were no strangers to steam technology having benefited greatly during the war from the four steamships of Captain Hastings and Lord Cochrane. The possibilities of these modern marvels of engineering captivated the King’s audience who were dazzled at the prospects of a metal carriage pulling people and products across the rugged landscape of Greece with ease and efficiency. Intrigued by the King’s auspices, the Assembly began reviewing plans for possible develop of rail lines running across the entirety of Greece. Very quickly they realized this project would unfortunately need to be delayed for some time due to two important issues, money and coal.

    450px-Opening_Liverpool_and_Manchester_Railway.jpg

    The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, circa 1829

    Such an undertaking would understandably be outrageously expensive, even the much more limited plan for a rail line connecting Athens to Piraeus would cost a fortune, a fortune they at present didn’t have. The other issue, coal, was a simpler problem to solve. Greece did in fact possess proven coal reserves on the island of Euboea near the port of Aliveri making it an ideal place for a mine to be opened. In addition, Kapodistrias finally managed to convince the assembly of his long running desire to open an iron ore mine near Dirfys to the north of Aliveri. With the iron and the coal, Kapodistrias proposed the creation of a smelting facility near Chalcis to produce the necessary materials for the construction of railways, locomotives, and steamships. While it would take time to generate the necessary funding and equipment for these enterprises, it was the hope of the Assembly, that mining would begin in late 1832, early 1833 at the latest at both Aliveri and Dirfys, while and the iron smelting at Chalcis would begin no later than 1835. Until then, the Greeks would have to make do with their available resources to mend the infrastructure as best they could.

    There were other more pressing concerns, however, as the currency of Greece, the Phoenix was also in desperate need of aid. Originally introduced in 1827 by Ioannis Kapodistrias, the Phoenix was meant to replace the unstable and quickly devaluing Ottoman Piastre. While it was successful initially, it soon ran into problems, namely it lacked the material; copper, silver, and gold, necessary to mint additional coins. As such just under 21,000 Phoenixes had been minted in the nearly four years it had been in existence. Ultimately, foreign currencies continued to circulate throughout the Greek economy in abundance. To deal with the problems surrounding the Phoenix, its value was first fixed at 0.895 French Francs. As precious metals were a rarity in Greece, paper bank notes were distributed to make up the shortfalls in coinage, while more copper and silver was mined and imported. Though the paper money proved unpopular at first, they gradually gained acceptance among the Greek people.

    The National Bank of Greece was also in need of reform to aid in the management of the Phoenix. Also established in 1827 by Kapodistrias, the National Bank of Greece was originally envisioned as a government run institution that would serve the role of a central bank for Greece and it would guarantee the security of its investors’ deposits. Suffice to say, it didn’t work. As was the case for much of the war, money was a constant need for the Greek Government with the finances of the state perpetually floating on the edge of bankruptcy. To avoid default, the Government began withdrawing the deposits from the private investors in the bank to continue funding the war effort. As could be expected, the reputation of the bank plummeted and the steady stream of deposits soon ground to a precipitous halt.

    To rectify this issue, Leopold and the Greek Government agreed to privatize the bank while retaining significant influence over its activities through regulations. The Government also nominated the Epirote banker and former Finance Minister, Georgios Stavros to serve as the first Governor of the Bank.[4] The National Bank of Greece was given the sole right to issue bank notes and the bank was permitted to sell shares to investors both foreign and domestic alongside several other services it provided like insurance and asset management. As a sign of good faith, the Government also agreed to make an investment of 1 Million Phoenix in the bank, purchasing 1000 shares in the bank, King Leopold purchased 100 shares, Kapodistrias bought another 100, and various ministers of the Greek government invested in the bank as well.

    Next Time: Valor and Great Matters


    [1] The French Franc has a value of about 24 to 1 when compared to the British Pound, the Greek Phoenix ITTL is roughly equivalent to the French Franc at one phoenix to roughly 0.9 Francs. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use the value in Pounds Sterling when dealing with loans and foreign financial transactions as that’s what I’ve used thus far in the timeline, but when it comes to Greece’s internal economy, I’ll probably stick to Phoenixes (PHX).

    [2] The French Franc has a value of about 24/25 to 1 when compared to the British Pound, the Greek Phoenix ITTL is roughly equivalent to the French Franc at one phoenix to roughly 0.9 Francs, making one Pound equal to about 27.9 Greek Phoenixes. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use the value in Pounds Sterling when dealing with loans and foreign financial transactions as that’s what I’ve used thus far in the timeline, but when it comes to Greece’s internal economy, I’ll probably stick to Phoenixes (PHX).

    [3] Kapodistrias’ Model Farm was more like a school rather than an actual farm. It was intended to be a place where farmers could be informed of the latest innovations in agricultural technology and practices. Unfortunately, Kapodistrias’ death and the poor state of the Greek economy at the time forced it to close.

    [4] Georgios Stavros was the OTL governor of the National Bank of Greece during its first run from 1828 to 1831 and its second run from 1841 until his death in 1869. Before the war for independence he worked as a banker in Vienna where he learned his trade and became quite wealthy. He later became a supporter of the Filiki Eteria and met with Ioannis Kapodistrias while in Russia. During the war, he sent supplies to the Greeks before traveling to Greece in 1824 where he served as the Finance Minister under Georgios Kountouriotis and later worked with the Swiss banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard to build the National Bank of Greece in 1828 and again in 1841. With the better management of the loans, the continued support of Kapodistrias, and the earlier reaction to its problem, the bank is saved as opposed to being abolished in 1831.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 35: Valor and Great Matters
  • Part 35: Valor and Great Matters

    500px-Arrival_of_Bavarian_army_in_Greece_1833.jpg

    The Hellenic Military

    Of all the expenses of the Greek Government, the military was by far the largest and for good reason as it had just finished a long and devastating war with the Ottoman Empire. Owing to their extensive maritime and land border, along with the historical animosity shared between them, it was likely that another conflict between the two would take place sometime in the future. The Ottomans could easily field hundreds of thousands of soldiers in times of war, well beyond 400,000 men, while the Greeks could manage maybe a quarter of that number and only under extreme measures. Despite this advantage in raw manpower, the Ottomans only ever dispatched 80,000 to Greece at any one time because of Greek naval superiority, which trapped most of the Ottoman soldiers across the sea in Anatolia, and other more existential threats to the East and North, like the wars with Persia and Russia. Still, even with a faction of the total forces available to them, the Ottomans regularly outnumbered the Greeks over the course of the war up until the final year of the conflict.

    The Greeks had proven themselves to be capable fighters and proficient sailors during the war, yet most realized that should they find themselves in another war against the Ottomans alone, their options would be limited. The Greeks would likely be forced onto the defensive on land and be heavily reliant upon the success of their navy to prevent the Ottomans from crossing into Greece by sea. For Greece to survive it was pertinent that they retain good relations with the Powers, specifically Russia and Great Britain, seek potential allies, and expand their military as much as possible given the current economic and demographic state of the country. To that end, Leopold appointed the British Philhellene Sir Richard Church as his Minister of the Army, the Greek Admiral Andreas Miaoulis as his Minister of the Navy, the Greek Strategos Demetrios Ypsilantis as Chief of the Army General Staff, and the Greek Admiral Constantine Kanaris as Chief of the Navy and tasked the four with the express goals of formulating an appropriate strategy for the Hellenic Military in the event of war with the Ottoman Empire. Returning with their findings in early June, the four made their report.

    350px-Richard_Church_Greek_Light_Infantry_of_the_Duke_of_York_1813_by_Denis_Dighton.jpg

    Sir Richard Church circa 1813

    The Greek Military at the end of the War for Independence in 1830 stood at roughly 30,000 men under arms in both the Army and Navy, with roughly 18,000 soldiers officially under the Government’s authority, nearly 5,000 sailors and seamen, and another 7,000 acting as irregular militiamen or volunteers fighting of their own volition on land. Most of the Greek fighters had been infantrymen, the majority of which were light infantry at that, but there did exist a small contingent of cavalrymen and artillerymen in the Greek Army during the later stages of the conflict. The Hellenic Navy by war’s end fielded 94 ships, of which the lions share were merchant ships or smaller vessels which had been retrofitted with additional cannons and crewmen, but they were complemented by a core of powerful warships that would form the post war fleet of the Greek Navy.

    Equipment was harder to determine, as it was a mishmash of muskets and rifles from various sources, makes, and models with the British Brown Bess and the French Modele 1777 corrige being the most common among the regular forces. Swords and knifes were equally prominent among the Greek fighters as well, especially among the former klephts, armatolis, and kapos. Their artillery corps numbered around 180 guns of varying degrees ranging from the meager 8 pounders, of which they had 54, to the mighty 24 pounders, of which they only had 9. Somehow, they even managed to secure 6 massive 30 pounder cannons which were relegated to the fortresses surrounding Nafplion. An identifiable uniform was also a bit of an enigma for most to determine as some men wore the traditional fustanella, while the regular forces tended to wear variants of the French army uniform with a matching set of navy blue coats and trousers. It was obvious that some amount of reorganization and uniformization was required of the Army and Navy was needed, however budgetary concerns and politics delayed this process.

    The Hellenic Army would be set at a nominal peace time strength of 16,000 men, divided between three active formations; the 1st Army, the Separate Island Division, and the Guard Division.[1] The 1st Army was envisioned to be a unit 10,000 strong, comprised of 2 Active Divisions a Cavalry Regiment, and an Artillery Regiment. The 1st Army was stationed along the border with the Ottoman Empire, with the 1st Division barracked in the Nome of Phocis-Phthiotis and the 2nd Division based in the Nome of Arta. Each Division would be comprised of 2 infantry brigades, comprised of 8 infantry battalions. The Separate Island Division was a unit 4,000 men strong, comprised of four infantry regiments stationed across the Aegean with two on Chios, Samos, Psara, and Icaria, and the other two on Crete. The unit was a purely defensive formation meant to protect the islands in the event of war with the Ottoman Empire.

    1st Army (10,000)

    1st Division (4,000):

    1st Brigade (2,000):

    1st Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    2nd Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    2nd Brigade (2,000):

    3rd Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    4th Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    2nd Division (4,000):

    3rd Brigade (2,000):

    5th Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    6th Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    4th Brigade (2,000):

    7th Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)

    8th Infantry Regiment (1,000 men)
    1st Cavalry Regiment (1,000)

    1st Artillery Regiment (1,000)

    Separate Island Division(4,000):

    Recruitment registries were to be established across the country to properly fill the ranks of the military through volunteers and conscripts. Volunteers and conscripts both must be above the age of 18 and no older than 30 for volunteers and 26 for conscripts. Volunteers would have the right to choose their branch of the military and their field in the military. Should the nominal number for each formation not be met through volunteers only, then conscription would be utilized to cover the shortfalls. Conscripts would be selected through a lottery by means of the national census. Both volunteers and conscripts would serve for a period of 3 years.

    Soldiers of the 1st Army and Separate Island Brigade would be provided with a navy-blue uniform similar in styling to the French Army uniform, with a wool navy-blue coat, a pair of wool navy-blue trousers with scarlet red trouser stripes, a pair of light grey trousers for the summer, black shoes, and a black Shako cap along with various pins, belts, and buttons. Each infantryman would be assigned a standard issue Modele 1777 corrige, a bayonet, a gunpowder canister, and a pouch for musket balls. Infantry officers were permitted to carry a sword and a sidearm as opposed to a musket, and they could wear a cockade on their shako and golden embroidery as opposed to the white and red embroidery of a non-commissioned officer.

    IE+STR+014.jpg

    Standard Uniform of a Greek Soldier

    The Guard Brigade, or Frourá, was essentially a bloated Regiment comprised of two infantry battalions and two cavalry battalions, giving it a nominal strength of 2,000. The Guard Brigade was to be stationed near the capital of Athens with other secondary barracks in Nafplion, Tripolitsa, and Corinth. It would serve in a ceremonial role responsible for the protection of the King and the Government, and the last line of defense in the event an enemy pierced through the primary defenses on the border. The main formations of the Guard include the 1st Evzones Battalion, the 2nd Evzones Battalion, the 1st Royal Hippeus Battalion and the 2nd Royal Hippeus Battalion. The Evzones regiments were light infantry formations comprised of former klephts and sharpshooters. Finally, the Royal Hippeus regiments were a units of light cavalry in the vein of Russian Uhlan light cavalrymen. Members of the Guard Brigade would be composed of soldiers selected from the regular units who exhibit superior proficiency of arms and fighting capability.

    Cavalrymen in the regular Army units would be provided a forest green uniform with a red plastron, a czapka as opposed to a shako, and they were assigned a sabre or lance, a handgun, a gunpowder canister, and a pouch of musket balls. Members of the Royal Hippeus regiment wore the regular cavalry uniform with added embroidery and distinctive patches, their helmets would also be more ornate than the standard cavalrymen czapka. Members of the Evzones regiments were permitted to wear the traditional fustanella of a klepht and were provided with rifles, bayonets, gunpowder canisters, and bullet pouches.

    252px-Peytier_-_Members_of_the_Greek_regular_army_at_parade%2C_1830.jpg

    The Evzones
    The irregular forces, the klephts and militia, were abolished and banditry was outlawed in Greece. To prevent these men from falling into poverty, the Government gave them priority in the land auctions held after the war. Others were pulled into the regular units, while some were established as a purely honorific unit, the Royal Phalanx. They were given uniforms, ranks, weapons, and they were arranged as a garrison force far from the border with the Ottoman Empire as an unofficial battalion of the Guard Division. In addition to the 16,000-strong peace time army, efforts were also being made to establish a National Guard for Greece, the Ethnofylaki which would be initially structured for 4 infantry divisions, which would be demobilized during times of peace bringing the army to roughly 32,000 men during times of war. This unit would be comprised of volunteers, discharged soldiers, militiamen, and former klephts, armatolis, and kapos. Due to monetary concerns, the development of the National Guard was slow rolled extensively with most of the resources being directed to the Active Divisions instead and would only reach its intended strength well into the 1840’s.

    The rates of pay for non-commissioned officers and officers were established: A private would receive a base salary of 40 phoenixes a month. A Corporal shall receive 48 phoenixes a month. A Sergeant shall receive 56 phoenixes a month. An Anthypolochagos (Second Lieutenant) shall receive 68 phoenixes a month. A Ypolochagos (First Lieutenant) shall receive 80 phoenixes a month. A Lochagos (Captain) shall receive 100 phoenixes a month. A Tagmatarchis (Major) shall receive 120 phoenixes a month. An Antisyntagmatarchis (Lt Colonel) shall receive 150 phoenixes a month. A Syntagmatarchis (Colonel) shall receive 180 phoenixes a month. A Taxiarchos (Brigadier General) shall receive 220 phoenixes a month. A Ypostrategos (Major General) shall receive 280 phoenixes a month. An Antistrategos (Lieutenant General) shall receive 350 phoenixes a month. Finally, a Strategos (General) shall receive 450 phoenixes a month. Bonuses could also be earned by soldiers shown to exhibit valor in battle or possess skills desirable to the army such as legal expertise or medical experience. In total, the expenditures for base salaries for the Army amounted to about 9,000,000 Phoenixes or £325,000.

    The Navy also received its fair share of attention by Leopold and his Ministers. Leopold and Kapodistrias recognizing the innate numerical disparity between the Ottoman Army and the Greek Army concluded that the Navy must achieve naval superiority in any future conflict with the Ottomans, or the Greeks run the risk of a catastrophe. Any victory on land would be meaningless should the Ottomans win at sea and bring their full might to bear against the Greeks. As a result, the Hellenic Navy was to receive prioritization over the Army in terms of modernization, recruitment, and supply to ensure it was staffed with the best sailors possible, that it was equipped with the best guns possible, and that it was comprised of the best ships possible. Their objective in the event of war would be to secure the islands of the Dodecanese and the Northern Aegean, while disrupting Ottoman naval activity and defending the Greek islands.

    While the official number of ships in the Hellenic Navy stood at 94, in terms of proper warships, the actual number was much lower at 31. This included 4 steamships, 2 Razeed Third Rates, 1 Fourth Rate, 2 frigates, 5 corvettes, 4 brigs, 7 sloops, and 6 gunboats. The private ships and merchant vessels were gradually mustered out of the service leaving the main fighting ships to form the majority of the Hellenic Navy. The number of sailors for these ships came in around 4,000 sailors, gunners, officers, craftsmen, and mechanics. Like the Army, they were staffed primarily through volunteers as well, although conscripts did fill a few gaps. Their pay was also on a similar scale to that of the Army’s coming in around 2,800,000 Phoenixes of £100,000 in total. Additionally, another 1.4 million Phoenixes (£50,000) went towards the maintenance and repair of the fleet each year and another 1.4 million Phoenixes went towards supplying the weaponry and munitions of the entire military of Greece.

    Each branch of the military would have their own academies for the training of young officers. The Hellenic Military Academy, would be moved from Nafplion to Athens and a separate Hellenic Naval Academy would be established at Piraeus.[2] Each academy would host 40 prospective officers each year. Both the Army and the Navy would employ doctors, physicians, and engineers, the army would also employ veterinarians for the horses and pack mules. Two separate regiment of Gendarmeries would be established to serve as a policing force throughout the country under the authority of the Minister of the Army. Funds were to be established to support the widows and orphans of deceased or incapacitated soldiers and sailors who sacrificed life and limb during the War for Independence.

    Next Time: To Secure a Dynasty

    [1] This number will grow in the future, but for the time being it will start relatively low.

    [2] The Hellenic Military Academy was established by Ioannis Kapodistrias in 1828 in the city of Nafplion. It was later moved to Aegina in 1834, then Piraeus in 1837, and finally Athens in 1854.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 36: To Secure a Dynasty
  • Part 36: To Secure a Dynasty

    400px-Koningin_Sophie_te_paard.jpg

    Queen Marie of Greece

    Since the death of his wife Charlotte, the Princess of Wales, in 1817, Leopold had remained unmarried as a show of devotion to his dearly beloved. However, he did not remain alone for the entirety of the 13 years since her passing. Many days were spent in the company of his sister the Duchess of Kent and her daughter the heir presumptive Princess Alexandrina Victoria. Others were filled with old friends and acquaintances from years gone by. Most of his time was spent abroad in Coburg or at the spas of Carlsbad to tend to his health. But it would be on a chance visit to Berlin in 1828, that Leopold came across the beautiful Caroline Bauer.[1]

    An actress by trade, Caroline Bauer bore a striking resemblance to the late Princess of Wales, both in her physically appearance and in her mannerisms. Leopold was smitten immediately and took the woman for his mistress, and for a short while it would have seemed as if the fire had returned to Leopold’s soul. Caroline believed it as well and followed Leopold back to Britain and resided with him at Claremont for several months. Not a moment too soon however, Leopold began to fall back into his depression, the resemblance between Caroline and Charlotte rather than improving his disposition only made his doldrums worse and by the Fall of 1829, Caroline had had enough. She had been faithful to him for over a year, loving him, supporting him and residing with him, yet he had neglected her both socially and intimately with his dull and dreary behavior, and so she left him, never to return.

    The return to a solitary existence wouldn’t have been a problem in years past for Leopold, but with his nomination and later acceptance to the Greek Throne, he very quickly recognized the need for a wife, if not for love then at least for an heir. Matters of the state quickly took priority over his search for a bride, but by the Fall of 1831, the multitude of issues facing Greece began to wane as some sense of stability took hold in the young kingdom. With Greece secure, Leopold turned his attention once more to securing his own dynasty. The only issue was who to choose. As a King in desperate need of legitimacy and security, Leopold needed a princess of equal or higher standing for a bride. As a King of an Orthodox country, Leopold preferably needed an Orthodox princess. Of all the options, available to him the best would have been a Russian Grand Duchess. Sadly, in none were available, there was a daughter of a Grand Duchess available, Princess Marie of Württemberg.

    220px-1818_sophie.JPG

    Princess Marie Friederike Charlotte of Wurttemberg

    Born on the 16th of October 1816 to King William of Wurttemberg and his wife Queen Katharina Pavlovna, Marie Friederike Charlotte was the niece of Russian Tsar Nicholas through her Mother Katharina, Nicholas’ sister. The Grand Duchess Katharina was originally married to Duke George of Oldenburg as a part of a greater string of marriage alliances her grandmother Catherine the Great and her father Tsar Paul were constructing with the principalities of Germany during the early days of the French Revolution.[2] Her marriage in 1809 to George was happy and together they had two sons before tragically, George succumbed to Typhoid fever in 1812. Four years later she would marry her cousin the Württembergian Crown Prince William and together they had two daughters.

    Sadly, the Grand Duchess Katharina died soon after the birth of Marie’s sister Sophie in 1818 leaving the infant sisters in the care of their father and his family. Marie’s childhood would be relatively quiet. As the daughter of a King and a Russian Grand Duchess, she carried herself with grace and dignity, learning the responsibilities of royalty. Like her mother, she engaged in charitable works from a young age and was a regular patron of the common folk in Württemberg. Due to her Russian connection, she originally came to the attention of Leopold in the Spring and Summer of 1830 when he first began his search for a prospective bride. One thing acting against her candidacy for Leopold’s wife was her young age, at only 13 in 1830 she was little more than a child, but her close relation to the Russian Tsar was invaluable for Leopold’s reign. As the King of an Orthodox country, it behooved Leopold to connect himself by blood to his most obvious patron and ally, Russia. So, it was that on 10th of January 1832, Leopold sent his longtime friend and secretary Doctor Stockmar, along with a contingent of Greek diplomats to Stuttgart to ascertain as to the Princess’ eligibility and agreeability for the match.

    Upon his arrival in Stuttgart two months later, Stockmar was pleased to find that the young Princess Marie had blossomed into a lovely young woman who was charming, intelligent, courteous, and well cultured. Stockmar dispatched a steady stream of information back to Athens regarding’s the girl’s appearance, character, health, and hobbies. If the King approved of the match, Stockmar argued that she would make a fine Queen of Greece. Her father King William was generally open to the idea, but he remained resistant to giving a final approval to the marriage of his daughter. Only when Leopold himself arrived in June 1832 did he manage to win over King William. After some negotiations regarding, religion, children, a dowry, and the date of the wedding ceremony, an arrangement was reached and without too much fuss, the match between King Leopold and Princess Marie was approved. With the marriage license agreed to, organization of the wedding went ahead with the ceremony scheduled for early November that year after her 16th birthday.

    The only person unhappy with the arrangement was Princess Marie herself. The thought of marrying a cynical widower more than twice her age and whose greatest asset his famed good looks, which were beginning to fade by 1832, appalled the poor girl. Leopold’s attempts to charm her also did little to win the princess over either. And while the idea of traveling to distant Greece was certainly romantic, it would take her far away from her family and friends and proved to be an unappealing prospect to Princess Marie as well. Still she did her duty as was demanded of a King’s daughter and prepared herself for her new life with Leopold as best she could. When the day of the wedding finally arrived on the 8th of November, Princess Marie and King Leopold were married in a somber ceremony in Stiftskirche Church.

    114231512.jpg

    Stiftskirche, The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Stuttgart

    Leopold, Marie, and their entourage would remain in Württemberg for another two weeks on a honeymoon of shorts before departing for Greece in mid-November. The moment their carriage crossed the border from Württemberg to Bavaria, Queen Marie burst into tears and would remain so for much of their journey. However, by the time their company reached the port of Patras two months later she finally began to come around to her husband. Leopold, while certainly dour and depressing at times, was by all means a kind and gentle man and generally amenable to his new wife. She came to appreciate his considerate and tactful personality and while he may not have loved her intrinsically, he genuinely cared for her wellbeing.

    The people of Greece also came to admire their new queen as a vivacious and beautiful woman whose elegant yet youthful style captivated both men and women alike. She also expanded upon her charitable activity in Greece winning the hearts and minds of the Greeks. After arriving in Athens, the couple held a second wedding ceremony in the Church of the Holy Apostles one week after their arrival in early February before embarking on another journey, this time across Greece. Everywhere they went cheering crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple as they passed through each town and village from the islands, to Crete, the Morea, and then Central Greece before finally returning to Athens in late July.

    Leopold’s and Marie’s typical day together began relatively late. They attended mass at ten in the morning, then followed by breakfast together and would then go for a long walk around Athens with their Kokoni.[3] While Leopold attended to the affairs of the state in the afternoon, Marie engaged in her charitable works around the capital or indulged in horseback riding and falconry. On some occasions she would read, while other times she would walk through the gardens with her ladies. In the evening, Leopold and Marie dined together, sometimes alone, but usually with company. After dinner Marie and the ladies would leave to do embroidery and gossip, while Leopold and the men discussed politics and the economy. When their guests departed, Leopold and Marie would retire to their separate chambers for the night before doing the same activities the next day.

    This monotonous lifestyle would continue for much of 1833 until September when the young Queen announced she was pregnant with the King’s child. The news was met with joy by the people of Greece and consternation by King Leopold, who waited anxiously for the result. On the 10th of June 1834 Marie gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son. This boy would be named Constantine. Young Constantine was soon joined by a brother in 1836 named Alexander and a sister named Aikaterini in 1838. The rapid birth of three children in quick succession wore out the Queen and their fourth attempt at a child ended in tragedy. In February 1840 a third son, named Nicholas was born sickly and small. Despite the best efforts of Leopold’s physicians and the prayers of the people, the young boy would sadly die little over a week after his birth. His death devastated King Leopold and Queen Marie spending them both into a deep despair. Marie had also suffered terribly in the birth of their fourth child and was encouraged to refrain from having any further less they risk her health in the future, Leopold agreed.

    330px-Drawing_of_the_family_of_King_Leopold_I_of_Belgium.jpg

    The Royal Family circa 1844
    (Crown Prince Constantine left, King Leopold center-left, Princess Aikaterini center, Queen Marie center-right, Prince Alexander right)

    Of their three children, Leopold doted on young Aikaterini the most. While he had initially been disappointed that she had been born a daughter as opposed to another son, Leopold quickly changed his mind and embraced the girl with all his heart. He showered her with praise, he gifted her exotic jewels and dresses, most importantly he gave her the finest education a man, or woman, could achieve at the time. She was energetic, curious, and extremely driven in all her pursuits mastering them all with ease and grace. Of all their children, Aikaterini inherited the best looks of their parents, her brilliant brown hair framed her elegant face. Her youthful vigor and beauty earned her the accolades of the leading Princes of Europe who called her the very visage of Helen of Troy reborn.

    The boys, Constantine and Alexander, in comparison, were relatively mundane. As the heirs of the Throne of Greece, both enjoyed a rigorous and strict upbringing at the hands of their parents to prepare them for the difficulties and responsibilities of leadership. Constantine was a particularly shy and aloof little boy with hardly any passions or skill, yet surprisingly of all three, he would be the most ambitious and grandiose. He exhibited little talent in the way of military leadership and as a physical specimen he was relatively poor, his most distinguishable feature being a large nose. He generally failed in the administration of government or matters of jurisprudence as well. His main, if only, redeeming skill seem to have lied within his masterful handling of money and his eye for architecture. His brother Alexander was a more outgoing and gregarious boy and tended to be their mother’s favorite. Born healthy and strong, Alexander was groomed for a military career from a young age but a riding accident in his childhood would unfortunately physically impair his right leg ending any chance he might have had in a military career. However, his mind remained incredibly sharp and would become his greatest feature in later years.

    Despite his qualms with his oldest son, King Leopold’s succession was secure and his place in Greece established along with it. As Greece finally entered a period of peace and stability the same could not be said of the other states of Europe and Asia which exhibited rebellions, revolutions, and wars of their own.[4]

    Next Time: Crisis in the East


    Author's note: I'm using pictures of Marie's sister Sophie in this part primarily because I can only find two pictures of Marie, one which is a portrait with her father and his family circa 1839, and the other is from 1875 when she is 59. I'm also using some events from Leopold's OTL marriage with Louise of Orleans as I had a some trouble finding any specific information on Princess Marie aside from her charitable work and her marriage to Count Alfred von Neipperg.

    [1] Caroline Bauer was also the cousin of Leopold’s good friend and physician Baron Christian Friedrich von Stockmar. Some accounts indicate that she actually married Leopold, but there really isn’t any evidence that supports this. The date of their separation is also debatable with some saying she left Leopold in 1829 and others saying she left him in 1830. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going with the notion that she never actually married Leopold and that she left him in 1829.

    [2] There was talk of her marrying Ludwig I of Bavaria, but this plan was ended by her mother who opposed the match. Apparently, Napoleon also offered his hand in marriage to Katharina but was also rejected for obvious reasons. Katharina’s sisters were married to various German Dukes and Princes during this time as well with her eldest sister Alexandra marrying the Archduke Joseph of Austria, her sister Elena marrying the Hereditary Duke Frederick Louis of Mecklenburg Schwerin, her sister Maria marrying Grand Duke Charles Frederick of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, and her younger sister Anna marrying the King William II of the Netherlands.

    [3] A Kokoni, or Small Greek Domestic Dog is a dog breed commonly found in Greece. Leopold had a strong affinity for dogs and had several throughout his lifetime so it seems fitting he would have one now.

    [4] Now it is time to say goodbye to Greece for a little while as we finally cover the events happening across the rest of the world, starting with Greece’s next-door neighbor, the Ottoman Empire.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 37: Crisis in the East
  • Part 37: Crisis in the East

    500px-Eug%C3%A8ne_Ferdinand_Victor_Delacroix_021.jpg

    The Battle of the Giaour and Hassan

    The end of the Greek War of Independence did not result in the lasting peace that the Ottoman Empire expected, far from it in fact. Although hostilities with the Russians and Greeks had ceased with the signing of the Treaty of Adrianople in September 1829 and the Treaty of London in May 1830, fighting would unfortunately continue in every corner of the Empire. Some groups wished to establish themselves as independent nations separate from the Empire, others simply wanted to carve out privileges for themselves and curtail the various reforms that Sultan Mahmud had struggled for so long to enact. Surprisingly, the borders with Greece, Persia, and Russia would prove to be the most peaceful over the coming decade as internal unrest tore at the very fabric of the Ottoman Empire.

    Muhammad Ali, the self-appointed Khedive of Egypt, had been especially busy since he abandoned the war with the Greeks in 1827 as he attempted to establish his grip over the Hejaz, the Najd, and the Sudan. Although they had been conquered long before, they remained rebellious and resistant to the rule of Cairo. Nowhere was this more evident than in the Arabian Peninsula. After Ibrahim and his men departed for Greece in 1824, the Saudis wasted no time in returning to power in the Najd. Under the leadership of Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad, the Saudis quickly ousted the meager Egyptian garrisons left behind in the region and managed to retake the cities of Diriyah and Riyadh from the forces of Muhammad Ali. With this act, Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad had established the Second Emirate of Najd, it would not last long.

    The uprising had thoroughly embarrassed Muhammad Ali and remained a blight upon his prestige, one he acted to remove posthaste. With his forces freed from the war in Greece with the Treaty of Alexandria in 1827, Muhammad Ali immediately dispatched his son to Arabia once again to deal with the rebellious Arabs. Though they put up a determined resistance, the Saudis fell beneath Ibrahim Pasha and his armies, and the Najd was subjugated once more expanding Muhammad Ali’s realm from Alexandria in the North to Khartoum in the South, and from outskirts of Tobruk in the West to the ruins of Diriyah in the East. Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad and his family were captured and sent to Cairo in chains effectively putting an end to the Second Emirate of the Najd. While some Saudis would continue fighting, by 1830 the region was generally pacified and returned to Muhammad Ali’s control.

    Still, this was not enough to sate the ambitions of Muhammad Ali, he remained tempted by the allure of a far greater bounty, a bounty that sat on his doorstep to the North, a bounty by the name of Syria. The Eyalets of Damascus, Sidon, Tripoli, and Aleppo were among the wealthiest and most populous provinces in the Empire and would serve as the crowning achievement for the Khedive of Egypt.[1] Adding Syria to his already impressive demesne would undoubtedly make Muhammad Ali and his dynasty the greatest powerbrokers in the entire Ottoman Empire. He only needed to reach out and take it. Fortunately for the Khedive, the Empire now loomed on the edge of collapse.

    Nearly nine years of constant war, rebellions, unrest, and conflict had drained the coffers and pools of manpower available to the Ottoman Empire. Defeat after defeat, suffered first at the hands of the Greeks, then by the Allied Powers at Cesme, and finally by the Russians at Kars, Erzurum, Provadiya and Adrianople sapped the Ottoman Sultan’s resolve and weakened his military might both on land and at sea. Greece had gained its independence, Serbia had achieved its autonomy, the Danubian Principalities were leaning closer to Russia every day, Algiers had been conquered by the French, and Tripolitania and Tunisia continued to drift further away from the control of the Porte. Muhammad Ali of Egypt had even taken advantage of the war with the Greeks to strengthen his own position within the Empire, and now he stood poised to take even more. However, something of a more immediate concern to the Sultan were the recent developments out of Albania and Bosnia, regions which up till now had been extremely loyal and faithful to the Porte.

    Discontent had been growing in the Balkan Sanjaks of the Ottoman Empire for years following the destruction of Ali Pasha of Ioannina in 1822. Ali Pasha, like Muhammad Ali, had been a great magnate of the Empire, one whose power and influence reached from Shkoder in the North to the Morea in the South. It is alleged that his armies of Albanians and Greeks reached as high as 50,000 men, and his immense wealth dwarfed that of even Sultan Mahmud himself. Despite his humble origins he was a man of art and philosophy praised for his brilliance by the likes of Lord Byron and Edward Trewlany, but he was also responsible incredible acts of brutality and cruelty during his reign in Ioannina.[2] Of all the Sultan’s vassals in the Balkans, Ali Pasha was the most powerful and the most willful by far. His power deeply concerned Sultan Mahmud and so he sought to destroy him. He soon received a golden opportunity.
    250px-Dupr%C3%A9_-_Ali_Pasha.jpg

    Ali Pasha of Ioannina
    In 1819, a cousin of Ali Pasha by the name of Ishmael had fled to Constantinople after a dispute with the Pasha of Ioannina and soon came into the service and protection of the Sultan. When several Albanians attempted to murder Ismael the following February, the assassins were quickly captured, interrogated, and then killed after revealing they were in the employ of Ali Pasha. Armed with a convenient excuse, Mahmud stripped Ali of his titles, appointed Ishmael the Pasha of Ioannina in his stead, and ordered him to arrest his overbearing cousin. Ali Pasha predictably refused to surrender and revolted sparking a war that pitted much of Albania against the Porte.

    The revolt of Ali Pasha started well enough for the former Pasha of Ioannina. He dispatched envoys to the Powers calling for help, he allowed the Souliotes to return to their valley as part of an arrangement for their aid, and he purchased mercenaries and stockpiled supplies for a coming fight. His army some 15,000 strong under the command of his lieutenant Omer Vrioni was positioned on the main road to Ioannina in the pass of Mestovo, another army under the command of the Klepht Odysseus Androutsos defended Livadeia and Central Greece against the Ottomans, while his sons Mukhtar and Veli defended the North and South of Epirus respectively. Another thing working to his benefit was the poor supply situation and equally poor leadership of Ishmael Pasha who dithered away the months with his feckless strategies.

    Soon though, Ali Pasha’s allies abandoned him. Omer Vrioni and the Albanians sought clemency with the Sultan and left Ali Pasha by the thousands. The Greeks similarly withdrew their support for Ali Pasha when the Greek War of Independence erupted in 1821. Most problematic of all for Ali Pasha was the replacement of Ishmael Pasha by the more competent Khursid Pasha who quickly moved against Ioannina and put Ali Pasha under siege. By the Summer of 1821, even his sons had deserted him leaving Ali Pasha with only the castle of Ioannina and a few hundred men. After a year-long siege, Ali Pasha finally surrendered under a guarantee of clemency and exile in early January 1822. Instead, he was betrayed by the Ottomans and executed ending his threat to the Sultan once and for all.

    600px-The_head_of_Ali_Pasha_Tepelena%2C_presented_to_Sultan.jpg

    The Head of Ali Pasha of Ioannina offered to the Sultan Mahmud II

    The destruction of Ali Pasha terrified the magnates of the Ottoman Empire who had grown powerful and rich off the weakness of the Porte, as the attempts by Mahmud to strengthen the Government threatened their own privileges and powers. These feelings were worsened by the abolition of the Janissaries and the subsequent reforms initiated by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 which only confirmed their earlier suspicions regarding the Sultan and his intrigues. Power was slowly being centralized within the Porte and the Sultan, and the autonomy of the provinces were slowly being reduced. With the Janissaries destroyed, Mahmud turned his attention to the reduction of the Bektashi Order and the elimination of its followers in the Balkans. The Sultan cracked down on corruption, he reformed the Timar/Ziamet system, he confiscated property of known traitors, he abolished the Sipahis, and he diminished the powers of the Pashas. Still the notables of the Empire did not rebel in the vain hope that the Sultan would cease his reforms and return to the traditional ways of the Empire, they were to be greatly disappointed.

    The final straw came during the Russo-Turkish War. During the winter months of 1828 and 1829, Albanian beys had gathered in the city of Berat to discuss among other things the modernization policies of Sultan Mahmud and the centralization of the Porte. Both policies came at their expense as the autonomy and privileges they had enjoyed for generations were gradually stripped from them and vested in the Central Government. The leader of this meeting was an Albanian bey by the name Ismail Qemail of Vlora who continued to express loyalty to the Porte and the Sultan while also withholding men and arms from the war with Russia. By allowing the Turks to suffer the brunt of the losses in the war with Russia, the Albanians, and the Bosnians to a lesser extent, hoped the Sultan would comprise with them in return for their support in the war.

    Their behavior was not portrayed in the best light to the Grand Vizier Khosref Pasha who personally traveled to Berat in January to arrest Ismail Bey and several of his followers for their supposed acts of sedition. Though Ismail Bey surrendered himself peacefully, many of his followers did not as the Albanians mistook the Ottoman presence as an attack and defended themselves in kind. When the fighting finally came to an end a few minutes later, over a hundred civilians and soldiers were killed in the mishap including Ismail Bey when he tried to intervene. Rather than pacifying the Albanians, this act incensed them and threatened to plunge the whole region into war once more. The Ottoman response was not forth coming due to the resources needed in the wars with Russia and Greece. Ultimately, it would take over a year before an Ottoman army finally arrived in Albania to restore order in July 1830.

    Rather than force the Albanians into conflict, however, the Ottomans invited the beys to meet with the Sultan’s representatives in Monastir where they would hear their complaints and work to reach an agreement amiable to both sides. To that end, the three strongest beys of Southern Albania, Veli Bey, Arslan Bey, and Zylyftar Bey Poda all traveled to Monastir to treat with the Sultans emissaries. To their horror, the meeting was nothing more than a trap meant to lure them in and kill them. In the ensuing battle, over 300 Albanian beys and their guards were killed along with several Ottoman soldiers. Of the three leading Beys, only Arslan Bey managed to escape with his life and was soon forced to flee to Ioannina where he raised the flag of revolt.[3]

    550px-Mamluks%2C_Horace_Vernet.jpg

    Massacre of the Albanian Beys

    Arslan Bey was joined several months later by Mustafa Bushatli Pasha of Shkoder and the Bosnian Captains, chief among them Husein Gradascevic. The Bosnians like the Albanians, had become alarmed at the Sultan’s centralizing efforts which cut away at their autonomy and powers. Most damning of all, however, was the cessation of several traditionally Bosnian municipalities to the newly formed Principality of Serbia under the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829. Gradascevic, who had thus far been a loyal, if rowdy, servant of the Sultan, could not bear the insult to his fellow Bosnians. Encouraging his followers to rise up in the defense of Bosnia against the Serbs and the traitorous Turks, Gradascevic soon became the de facto leader of the Bosnian rebellion. Within the span of six months, the Western half of the Balkans from Novi Grad to Ioannina were in revolt.

    Seeking to take advantage of this great opportunity, Muhammad Ali of Egypt dispatched his own representatives to the Sultan’s court in Constantinople. There, he revealed his demands. In return for his continued cooperation and loyalty to the Porte, Muhammad Ali demanded the Eyalets of Damascus, Sidon, Tripoli, and Aleppo. Muhammad Ali believed it to be a fair arrangement considering the past deals made between them in 1823 and 1826. The Sultan, however, was not amused at the Wali of Egypt’s demands after his blatant betrayal in 1827 with the Treaty of Alexandria and promptly berated the emissary ad nauseam before having the man forcibly removed and shipped back to Egypt in chains. Muhammad Ali, however, had not waited for the Sultan’s response and on the 11th of May 1831, Muhammad Ali made his move. Dispatching his son Ibrahim at the head of his fleet, the Egyptian army and Navy departed for Syria and war.

    Next Time: The Syrian War


    [1] Aleppo had once been the second city of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th Centuries thanks in large part to the silk trade with Safavid Persia. Their collapse in 1722 would similarly result in an economic collapse of Aleppo which would last for much of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Damascus similarly was an important center of trade in the Ottoman Empire, serving as a decent junction between Anatolia, Egypt, and the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

    [2] He allegedly killed over 700 men for no other reason than being descendants of men who killed his father and raped his mother and sister over forty years earlier. Another story relates an incident where Ali Pasha drowned Greek women who were accused of being adulteresses. In most cases they had been falsely accused or arbitrarily chosen, but it made no difference and they were killed regardless. This last story influenced in part Lord Byron’s poem the Giaour which details a man, the Giaour, seeking to avenge his murdered lover who was drowned by the local Ottoman lord Hassan.

    [3] In OTL, Resid Pasha managed to kill over 500 Albanian Beys and their guards, of the three Arslan Bey managed to escape but was quickly hunted down and killed in the ensuing chase. The Massacre of the Albanian Beys at Monastir created a power vacuum in Albania that lasted for several years. Here Resid Pasha is long dead and the attempts to deal with the Albanians are less effective as a result.
     
    Part 38: The Syrian War
  • Apologies for the lack of content recently but I have a relatively large part that should hopefully wet your appetite.

    Part 38: The Syrian War

    550px-G3689.jpg

    The Egyptian Army outside Acre

    For Abdullah Pasha, the Wali of Sidon, the 14th of May was a normal day just like any other. Bandits operating from the ruins of Sanur continued to oppose the authorities and his attempts to combat them had been unsuccessful, blemishing Abdullah’s otherwise impressive Governorship. News from the capital was sporadic at best and what news he did receive from Constantinople proved to be depressing, particularly in the Balkans where the Albanian rebels defeated an Ottoman army near Tuzi capturing or killing nearly 1,000 men in early March. The efforts against the rebel Bosnians were similarly disappointing following an engagement near Stolac which ended in a stalemate of sorts. More worrying were the reports from Egypt of the grand aspirations of Muhammad Ali who looked to Syria with great desire and envy.

    While it had started as a normal mundane day, it soon became anything but as a group of ships coming from the Southwest would soon change everything for Abdullah Pasha. Initial accounts indicated that 10 ships were approaching Acre from the South. This, however, quickly rose to 20 ships, then 30, and 50 all the way up to 128 ships. It was clearly too big to be the fleet of British, French, or Russian ships which still remained in the Aegean, nor could it be the Ottoman fleet which was still rebuilding after the disaster at Cesme. There was only one possible source for these ships, Egypt. Muhammad Ali had dispatched the greatest fleet the Muslim world had ever seen to conquer Syria, 76 warships with 5 ships of the line, 14 frigates, 29 Corvettes, 18 brigs with a whopping 3,600 guns between them. In addition, there were 10 fireships and 50 transport ships carrying 20,000 battle tested soldiers and the Scourge of Hellas himself, Ibrahim Pasha.

    Landing his men to the South of the city, Ibrahim immediately offered terms to the Wali for his surrender, the surrender of the city, and the surrender of the Eyalet of Sidon. Should he accept, he would continue in his role as Governor with his allegiance shifting from Constantinople and the Sultan to Cairo and Muhammad Ali. Should he reject the terms for surrender, then Ibrahim would bombard the city into surrender with his fleet and slaughter all who resisted. While Abdullah Pasha had at one time considered Muhammad Ali his ally and friend, his loyalty lay with the Sultan and so his response was a definitive no as was expected. With little delay after Abdullah Pasha’s answer, Ibrahim commenced the siege of Acre in earnest at the crack of dawn on the 15th of May.

    Before Ibrahim could complete his encirclement of Acre, however, Abdullah dispatched a contingent of riders to call upon his ally, the Emir of Mount Lebanon, Bashir Shibab.[1] Though they had a tenuous relationship, Bashir had been a capable, powerful, and relatively loyal subordinate for Abdullah Pasha and had saved him once before in 1822 from the intrigues of Damascus. To his great surprise, Bashir and an army of Lebanese fighters had arrived far sooner than expected, arriving only four days later on the 18th. Rather than advance to his aid though, Bashir moved to take up positions alongside Ibrahim and his men. It immediately became clear to Abdullah that Bashir Shibab had thrown in with the Egyptians and provided them with support against him and the other Ottoman Agents in the region.

    220px-BashirChehab.jpg

    Bashir Shibab, the Emir of Mount Lebanon

    With the betrayal of Bashir Shibab and the general unpreparedness of Acre for a long siege, Abdullah knew there was no chance for victory. While Acre boasted an impressive set of fortifications, Abdullah Pasha and much of the cities’ garrison had been caught off guard by the sudden arrival of Ibrahim and the Egyptian fleet. Most had believed the inevitable invasion by Muhammad Ali would take place further to the South against Jaffa or Ascalon, not Acre. As such, a large portion of the city’s guardsmen were still in Jabal Nablus chasing bandits and members of the Jarrar clan leaving the city egregious short on manpower. The size of the Egyptian fleet was also imposing as it deluged Acre with cannonballs. The display of military might by the Egyptians was so great that neighboring Haifa surrendered to Ibrahim without so much as a shot fired against it. After ten days of sweltering cannon fire Abdullah Pasha was forced to surrender the city to Ibrahim. For the former Wali of Sidon, his war was over as he was quickly shipped off to Egypt where he would remain locked away in a gilded cage, but for the Ottomans the war had only just begun.

    While Ibrahim besieged Acre, another Egyptian army under Sulayman Bey had marched North along the coast with the utmost speed and efficiency conquering Gaza, Ascalon, and Jaffa before heading inland to capture Jerusalem on the 30th of May. After taking Jerusalem, Sulayman then turned towards Damascus in early June where he would spend the next six months sitting outside its walls in a prolonged siege. Unlike Abdullah Pasha, Mehmed Emin Rauf Pasha had received word of the Egyptian invasion, albeit only a week in advance of his counterpart in Acre. Still, this was enough time for the Wali of Damascus to gather his men and stockpile supplies when the Egyptians inevitably came for him. While Mehmed Pasha recognized he would likely be unable to defeat Sulayman Bey by himself, Sulayman had approximately 40,000 men, he could at least hold out until help arrived from Constantinople.

    Ibrahim, after resupplying his forces and being reinforced with another 10,000 men, began moving North along the coast towards Tripoli on the 13th of June. Most cities in his path surrendered under the withering fire of the great Egyptian fleet, others submitted in anticipation of their arrival. In the span of six weeks, the entire Levantine coast from Gaza to Beirut had fallen forcibly or submitted peacefully to Muhammad Ali of Egypt. It would only continue from there as Ibrahim reached the port city of Tripoli on the 29th of June and immediately put in under siege.

    For Sultan Mahmud and the Sublime Porte, the invasion of Ibrahim Pasha into Syria could not have come at a worse time. The rebellions of the Albanian Beys and the Bosnian Ayans had only just begun a few months before and the Ottomans had only just started pushing them back in the days preceding the invasion of Syria. With the Egyptian conquest of the Levant, progress on these fronts would likely slow as men and resources are pulled to the front in the East. Instead of killing the rebellion in the Balkans before it could metastasize, it was allowed to fester. One thing that was working in the Porte’s favor was the surprising support they received from the Serbians.[2] Despite fighting a long and brutal war for independence over a decade before, they now fought alongside the Ottomans against the Albanians and Bosnians to protect their newly won autonomy and territory. Still, The Ottoman response to the invasion of Syria was slow at best.

    Muhammad Ali’s demands had only arrived in Constantinople on the 12th of May at which time Ibrahim was already under way to Acre, which would itself fall long before any relief force could be dispatched by the Capital. While it took some time to prepare a new force to be sent East, by the end of June, an army 45,000 strong under the command of Osman Pasha was ready to challenge Ibrahim Pasha and the Egyptians. The newly refurbished Ottoman navy was also dispatched to challenge the Egyptian naval blockade of Tripoli. Arriving at noon on the 12th of July, the Ottomans and Egyptian ships engaged in a heated engagement. Despite being outnumbered 76 warships to 44, the Ottomans featured more ships of the line than the Egyptians at 7 to 5, and in frigates at 14 to 20. At the head of this fleet was the newly constructed First-Rate Ship of the Line, Mahmudiye, which boasted 128 guns across three decks and over 1,200 crewmen, making it the largest ship in the world.


    300px-Ottoman_ship_of_the_line_Mahmudiye.png

    The Ottoman Flagship Mahmudiye

    The Ottoman fleet managed to inflict some blows of their own against the Egyptians, sinking one of the Egyptian Ships of the Line, 3 frigates, a pair of corvettes, and a pair of brigs. In addition, another Third Rate, 3 frigates, and 7 corvettes were heavily damaged in the exchange with 19 more Egyptian ships suffering from minor damage to their hulls and sails. Sadly, these losses paled in comparison to the losses inflicted on the Ottoman navy, which lost 3 ships of the line, 7 frigates, and 4 sloops, along with 13 other ships taking heavy to light damage before it was forced to retreat at sunset. Even the Ottoman flagship, the mighty First Rate Mahmudiye suffered terrible damage in the battle of Tripoli and would be forced to undergo extensive repairs at the Naval Arsenal for the remainder of the war.

    The poor showing by the Ottomans off the coast of Tripoli was likely a result of the terrible condition the Mahmudiye was in prior to the battle. Despite only being two years old, the Mahmudiye was already suffering from extensive dry rotting in its hull making it much weaker than it should have been. As a result, it suffered extensive damage during the opening rounds of the battle and quickly began to take on water, forcing it to withdraw. The retreat of their flagship in the early stages of the battle deeply demoralized the remainder of the Ottoman Navy and disorganized the remainder of the fleet. Taking advantage of this opening, the smaller Egyptian ships quickly swarmed the slower Ottoman ships and inflicted a severe blow on their Turkish counterparts that they would not recover from anytime soon.

    With Egyptian naval superiority maintained, Osman Pasha’s army was forced to travel overland and would only arrive in Northern Syria by mid-September at which point Tripoli had fallen and the Egyptians had advanced as far North as the outskirts of Alexandretta. Osman, rather than remaining on the defensive at Alexandretta, opted instead to march his weary men south through the Belen Pass to challenge Ibrahim directly. The Egyptians, however, where waiting for him, having arrayed themselves in the hills overlooking the pass, Ibrahim released a devastating volley of gunfire and cannon fire on the approaching Ottomans. Despite the valor and numerical superiority of the Turkish soldiers, they were forced to retreat, first to Adana and then to Icel and the Taurus mountains where they would remain throughout the winter guarding the passes into the Anatolian heartland of the empire.

    When news of Osman Pasha’s defeat reached Damascus in late November, Mehmed Pasha surrendered the city to Sulayman Bey and the Egyptians. Though he had managed to hold out for nearly six months, his supplies where running dangerously low, the city was nearing starvation, and his men were on the verge of mutiny. Without any hope of reinforcement, their last reason for holding out had disappeared and so they surrendered. The fall of Damascus opened the Syrian interior to the Egyptians who now stood poised to take it in the falling campaign season. With Ibrahim and his men stationed in the North to oppose any further Ottoman advances and the Egyptian navy retaining dominance at sea, Syria was effectively lost to the Sublime Porte and by the start of 1832 they were likely to lose much more.

    With the arrival of Spring, Ibrahim once more embarked on the offensive, targeting the Ottoman positions near Icel which fell in early April, followed soon after by Karaman two weeks later. Ibrahim did not have time to celebrate as an Ottoman army, 50,000 strong under the command of the Grand Vizier Khosref Pasha was fast approached the city from the Northwest with every intention of catching and crushing Ibrahim’s paltry force of 21,000. Despite being outnumbered over 2 to 1, Ibrahim stood his ground, erected his defenses as quickly as possible and readied his men for battle. Arranging his forces into four columns, three in the front and one in reserve.

    Once the Ottoman soldiers came into range, Ibrahim’s artillery opened fire on the approaching Ottoman infantry in a ruthless barrage on cannon fire. Hundreds of men were struck down in a matter of seconds as iron and lead ripped through flesh and bones. Still, the Turkish soldiers continued their charge and soon met the Egyptian and Arab soldiers of Ibrahim’s army in hand to hand combat. Swords clashed against swords and bayonets against bayonets. The battle swung back and forth on the edge of a knife for several moments, but gradually the Ottomans were pushing the numerically inferior Egyptians back. However, by a stroke of good fortune, a gap appeared in the right flank of Khosref Pasha’s line.

    free-d_1317139783169076112.jpg

    The Battle of Karaman

    Drawing up the last of his reserves, Ibrahim charged headlong into this gap. Through sheer determination and a bit of luck, Ibrahim succeeded in isolating the right column of the Turkish army as he fell upon it with all the might he could muster. In the ensuing chaos the Ottoman Right flank collapsed and retreated in a disorderly rout that soon spread to elements of the center column of the Turkish line. Now outflanked, Khosref Pasha ordered a withdrawal, ending the battle of Karaman. While Ibrahim held the field, his force had suffered terrible casualties in the engagement over 2,000 men were killed and another 5,300 were wounded. The Ottomans had suffered worse however, losing nearly 10,000 men to injury or death, and another 12,000 were captured or missing. It is at this point that Ibrahim received orders to stop from his father Muhammad Ali.

    Fearing the imminent collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Britain and the Powers moved to intervene. The British Mediterranean fleet, which had been patrolling the Aegean since the end of the Greek War for Independence, was reassigned to the Eastern Mediterranean in a bid to persuade the Egyptians to back down from further conquests. On land, Russia and Austria signed treaties with the Ottoman government offering military assistance in the event Ibrahim advanced onto Constantinople. Prussia, despite lacking a border with the Ottoman Empire or the means to reach it, voiced its approval of intervention on its behalf. France, however, was conspicuously absent from the negotiations with the Ottoman Empire owing to their overt support of Muhammad Ali and Egypt. Rather than forcing the issue, Muhammad Ali accepted the Powers’ calls for peace in return for massive concessions from the Porte.

    The Syrian Eyalet of Aleppo, Damascus, Sidon, and Tripoli were to be transferred to Muhammad Ali and his son Ibrahim. The Adana Eyalet was also ceded to the Khedive of Egypt cementing his place as the predominant magnate of the Ottoman Empire. While Egypt was still a part of the Empire in de-jure, it was for all intents and purposes an independent state after the Syrian war of 1831/1832. Muhammad Ali was free to conduct his own foreign policy, he set his own rates for taxes and tariffs, and he had unbridled control over his new territories. More than anything though, the war between Egypt and the Ottoman Empire had revealed how tenuous the hold over its territory was. It also revealed a break between Britain and France that had not existed since the Napoleonic wars and one that would only deepen with time.

    Next Time: Three Glorious Days, Two Revolutions, and One Eaglet


    [1] The Emirate of Mount Lebanon was a semi-autonomous emirate within the Ottoman Empire corresponding roughly with Northern Lebanon.

    [2] They aren’t so much allies as they are co-belligerents. Serbia was given 6 traditionally Bosnian municipalities when it was officially established as a Principality in 1830, as such they are also a target of the Bosnian rebels who want this territory back.
     
    Part 39: Three Glorious Days, Two Revolutions, and One Eaglet
  • Part 39: Three Glorious Days, Two Revolutions, and One Eaglet

    500px-Lar7_cogniet_001z.jpg

    The Three Glorious Days of the July Revolution

    The souring of British-French relations can be traced to the events of the July Revolution of 1830 which resulted in the ousting of King Charles X of France. Prior to the Revolution, relations between Britain and France were at their highest in years, thanks in no small part to the strong personal relationship King Charles shared with the British Prime Minister George Canning. Canning had traveled in person to Tuileries in 1827 to meet with the King and his government as a prelude to the 1827 Treaty of London sanctioning the intervention of the Powers in the Greek War of Independence. Despite having radically different political views, Charles was a devoted Absolutist and Archconservative while Canning was more of a moderate Tory, they developed a close bond during his stay at the royal palace. Unfortunately, the rest of King Charles’s reign was marred with problems.

    His intervention in Greece alongside the British and Russians had been extremely popular among the common people, but the failure to secure a French king for the Greek throne was a disappointment as it denied him the opportunity of expanding France’s influence in the new country. Egypt was proving itself to be another disappointment as well. While Muhammad Ali had eagerly purchased French weapons and ships, and recruited French officers to staff and train his army and navy, he had proven himself to be too willful and ambitious and was not interested in the slightest in serving as a puppet or vassal of France.

    Charles’ most recent venture was the most controversial. Citing an attack against the French ambassador to Algiers and a return to piracy, King Charles X organized a punitive expedition against the Regency of Algiers. In truth, the endeavor was likely an attempt by Charles to improve his flagging support in France with a colonial enterprise abroad. As was to be expected, the campaign in Algiers was a complete success and the entire Mediterranean coast of Algiers was occupied by the Kingdom of France. Still, this venture did little to improve Charles standing at home which was quickly eroding by the Summer of 1830.

    Charles had taken the throne in 1824 to great fanfare as well as great hopes for the future of France by the common man who hoped he would continue the policies of his brother King Louis XVIII. These feelings would not last long as King Charles rapidly attempted to claw back the powers of the crown that his brother had ceded to the Parliament. He also restored many of the rights and privileges that the church and nobility had enjoyed prior to the Revolution, offering indemnities for lost property or damages sustained and reestablishing the death penalty for profaning the Eucharist. King Charles also attempted to roll back the liberties of the press and reinstitute Primogeniture succession although both acts were voted down in Parliament each time they were brought up. The breaking point came in March 1830, however, when the King dissolved the Parliament following a vote of no confidence and scheduled elections to take place in two months. When the new parliament also resisted the King’s demands, he dissolved the Parliament once again and this time he suspended the constitution as well.

    280px-Karel_X-Koning_der_Fransen.jpg

    King Charles X of France

    With the entire power of the government in fully his hands, King Charles enacted a series of ordinances that censored the press, reduced the powers of Chamber of Deputies and limited the number of deputies for future Chambers, he increased the powers awarded to him under the Constitution, and he stripped the middle class of their right to vote. Suffice to say this did not sit well with the people of France who had enjoyed exercising their liberties and greatly resented them being ripped away piece by piece. Protests broke out across Paris almost immediately after their enactment. The agitation was made worse by the declining French economy during the latter half of the 1820’s which saw many thousands become unemployed and impoverished. On the 26th of July, the Revolution began in earnest as thousands of journalists, businessmen, and merchants took to the streets to voice their disapproval of the King’s ordinances.

    Generally, the people were peaceful, if a bit rowdy, and the soldiers of the Garde Royale were patiently withheld from using force to break up the congregation. As nightfall arrived, however, things began to change. Angry Parisians began throwing stones and roof tiles at the soldiers, who in turn began firing warning shots at first and then actual shots at the protesters. What began as a peaceful event quickly spiraled out of control for King Charles when 32 people were killed by soldiers while attempting to break up the protest. The mob quickly degenerated into a riot as people began to take up arms against their persecutors.

    Despite the escalation of violence, hope remained for a peaceful solution as several members of the Parisian revolt presented a list of demands to the commander of the Garde Royale Marshal Auguste Marmont, the Duke of Ragusa that they wished to see enacted. Chief among them were the revocation of the King’s July Ordinances, and the removal of his ministers who were primarily blamed for the enactment of the ordinances and the poisoning of the King’s mind against the people. Hopes for a peaceful end to the conflict were dashed however when the King bluntly refused to fulfill their terms or even meet with the men who wrote them. If anything, Charles was making matters worse as he actively antagonized the mob, inciting them to further acts of violence and revolt. By the end of the second day, it was clear that the King had no intention of compromising and soon after, the riot became a Revolution.

    By the beginning of the third day, the King’s supporters began to desert him en masse. Soldiers began siding with the revolutionaries and even some members of the aristocracy started to turn on King Charles when it was clear he was on the losing side. Only the Duke of Ragusa, and some members of the Garde Royale remained loyal to the King and even they lacked the willpower or manpower to save him.[1] By noon on the 28th, the Parisian mob had stormed into Tuileries Palace, killing or scattering the last of the Swiss guardsmen on duty, and capturing the King and his family as they attempted to flee. The Revolutionaries had won the day.

    520px-Louvre_1830.jpg

    The Parisian Mob Storms Tuileries

    The constitution of France was reaffirmed and a provisional government was established in the place of the King’s fallen government. Charles unwilling to rule as a constitutional monarch abdicated his claim to the throne and that of his son the Dauphin, Prince Louis Antoine, Duc de Angouleme. Most likely, King Charles and Prince Louis Antoine had no choice in the matter as the Revolutionaries demanded no less than their complete ouster by the end of July. Still wishing to retain his family’s hold on the throne, Charles named his grandson Henri, Duc de Bordeaux as his rightful successor in the hopes the boy would be permitted to remain on the throne. Young Henri’s reign however would last little more than a week before he himself was removed from power by his distant cousin Louis-Philippe of Orleans who was named King of the French in his stead. So, it was that the House of Bourbon was ousted from the throne of France and forced into exile.

    With nowhere else to go, Canning offered the former King of the French and his family temporary residency in Britain until a more permanent arrangement could be established and sent ships to retrieve them from Le Havre. Upon their arrival in London, Canning greeted them in person with open arms and offered him every hospitality he could afford, in what he hoped would be a temporary situation. For several days, Charles and his family wined and dined in London with members of the British high society before departing for the countryside and the comfort of Lulworth Castle. Still, Canning recognized the political ramifications his courteousness with the former king would have on French relations and remained coy on the possibility of a return to France for the Bourbons. As the days and weeks passed by, it became clear to Charles that he, nor his son Louis Antoine, nor his grandson Henri would never be king again.

    Charles’ daughter in law, Princess Maria Caroline de Bourbon-Sicilie, the Duchess of Berry, however, was more persistent on her son’s behalf and used her father in law’s good relationship with the Prime Minister to her advantage. She repeatedly deigned upon Canning the legitimacy of her son Henri’s right to the throne of France and spent many days in and around 10 Downing Street meeting with the Prime Minister to demand his support and aid for her cause, much to his dismay. This exhausting routine would continue for day after day, week after week, until the Duchess surprisingly departed London for her home of Naples and then onto France in early 1832 where she raised a revolt in her son’s name. Predictably, her revolt was put down and the Duchess was captured by the French authorities. While imprisoned she would claim that Canning had given his support to the Duc de Bordeaux’ claim, and provided her with material and financial aid for her cause.

    Canning, for his part vehemently denied giving the Duchess anything whatsoever and disavowed her claims as the vicious gossip and hearsay of a madwoman. Whether true or untrue, the Duchess’ revolt in the Vendee and her claims of British support did nothing to help British French relations. More damning than a woman’s failed rebellion and unverified claims of support from the Canningite government were the geopolitical ramifications of the revolution itself. The ousting of King Charles alarmed the government of Prime Minister George Canning who saw the eviction of a legitimate, if tyrannical, head of state from power as a troubling precursor to further revolutionary fervor that would spread across Europe. He was more accurate than he would have liked.

    240px-La_Duchesse_de_Berry.jpg

    The Duchess of Berry, Princess Maria Caroline de Bourbon-Sicilie

    The ouster of Charles and the Bourbons set off a chain reaction of revolutionary fervor across the continent of Europe and even parts of the Americas. In addition to France, rebellions against the status quo erupted in Brazil, the Italian States, the Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland. In Brazil, the Emperor Pedro I was forced to abdicate his throne and return to Portugal while his son Pedro II took the throne in his stead. Pedro routinely found himself in opposition to the plantation owners and landlords of Brazil, who frequently dominated the parliament. Their differences lay in large part to Pedro’s progressive views on slavery, an institution he vehemently opposed and wished to abolish. As he was an avid constitutionalist, he could not simply eradicate it himself and his attempts to win them over to his side with morality and Christian values were met with deaf ears and cold heart.

    More damning to his reign in the eyes of the common people was his continued reliance on Portuguese ministers in his government over native Brazilians. This resulted in suspicions that he was planning to reunite Portugal and Brazil, a prospect which was greatly opposed by both states and their peoples. The frequent correspondence between Emperor Pedro and his daughter Queen Maria did little to alleviate these concerns of reunion. Both issues had resulted in Pedro becoming increasingly separated from his Brazilian subjects who seized upon the revolts in Europe to turn against him. When the army refused to support him, Pedro knew it was over for him in Brazil. With his support waning, and his daughter, Queen Maria of Portugal in need of his aid, Pedro abdicated the throne and departed for Lisbon in early April 1831 never to return to the land he loved.

    In Poland, the “revolution” met with much less success following the surprising death of Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, the Governor of Poland and older brother of Tsar Nicholas. Konstantin had led the Russian delegation to Greece to celebrate Leopold’s coronation as King and had spent some time in the country seeing the sights and touring the country before returning home in early September. While passing through Sevastopol and the Crimea on his return trip to Russia, however, he became stricken with a virulent strain of cholera and succumbed to his illness within days of contracting the disease.[2] What followed was jubilation and celebration rather than unrest and riots in the major cities of Poland. It was no secret that the people of the Kingdom of Poland detested the Grand Duke as he was for all intents and purposes a tyrant who strictly enforced the Russian rule over their country and so it was that when the news that he had died reached Poland, they were extremely grateful and overjoyed.

    Tsar Nicholas however was not amused. News of Konstantin’s death had been tightly controlled by the State so that it arrived in St. Petersburg before it had reached Poland. As such, Russian soldiers were already moving to secure the Kingdom before the Poles could react. Many prominent agitators and radicals were immediately arrested and others simply disappeared never to be seen again. The Polish army was also disarmed and dissolved with its members integrated into the Russian army. While many people protested these moves as a break with the Kingdom’s constitution, and called for an uprising against the Russians, the death of the tyrant Konstantin Pavlovich and the incarceration of their leaders had removed much of the organization and impetus for a revolt at that time. Some Poles did in fact revolt against the Russian occupation, but they were generally few and far between and were quickly put down by the Russian Army and by early February the “Kingdom” was fully pacified.[3]

    550px-Marcin_Zaleski%2C_Wzi%C4%99cie_Arsena%C5%82u.jpg

    The Russian Army Occupies Warsaw

    Of all the revolutions of 1830-1831, the Revolution in Switzerland, the Ustertag, was perhaps the most peaceful and the most successful of all. On the 22nd of November 10,000 “Revolutionaries” marched on the city of Zurich where they demanded the adoption of a new constitution granting the people of Switzerland greater say in their government through legislatures and mechanisms to amend the constitution. Additionally, they wished to distribute power and representation more evenly across the cantons rather than solely investing power in their capitals. Without much in the way of conflict or controversy, these reforms were passed by the Swiss assemblies and the revolution was ended quietly. While Switzerland had been the scene of an amiable solution, neighboring Italy would see the bloodiest and most destructive phase of the 1830-1831 revolutions.

    Italy had long been a hotbed of revolutionary activity since the early days of the French Revolution 40 years before. The fires of revolution had swept across the peninsula disrupting hundreds of years of feudalism and absolutism uniting the many northern countries of Italy into a singular Kingdom of Italy. While Napoleon would eventually fall and the Kingdom of Italy would be dissolved into its previous entities, the ideals of a united Italy remained with the Italian people, many of whom formed a secret society bent on that ideal, the Carbonari. The Carbonari and their supporters would organize a revolt in Naples in 1820 and then another in Sardinia Piedmont in 1821, both attempts however, ended in failure. However, their aspirations remained and would linger on for several more years in secret. Encouraged by the success of the July Revolution in France and the promises of support by its new King, Louis-Philippe the Carbonari prepared one last uprising that was nine years in the making.

    In Modena, the Carbonari found a willing partner in Duke Francis IV who held lofty ambitions of ruling a Kingdom of Italy centered in Modena. Carbonari flocked to Modena by the hundreds to join the Duke, chief among them being Ciro Menotti and the Piedmontese General Annibale Santorre di Rossi de Pomarolo, Count of Santarosa.[4] Santarosa had been a leading member of the failed 1821 Revolution in Piedmont before heading into exile at the end of the revolt. During his travels he journeyed to Greece where he aided the Greeks in their war for independence serving as a military advisor in the Ministry of War and briefly took part in the battle of Myloi in 1825 against Ibrahim and his Egyptians. Despite his talents, he was denied a high rank in the Greek Army due to his Italian heritage and his revolutionary past which had earned the ire of the Powers, and so upon the conclusion of the war, Santarosa along with his colleagues left Greece for lands unknown.


    280px-Geminiano_Vincenzi_-_Ciro_Menotti_al_supplizio_-_litografia_-_1875-1899.jpg
    210px-SantorrediSantarosa.jpg

    Ciro Menotti, the Carbonari leader in Modena (Left) and Annibale Santorre di Rossi de Pomarolo, Count of Santarosa (Right)

    Santarosa eventually turned up in the border region between France and the Kingdom of Sardinia following the July Revolution where he organized a band of revolutionaries and volunteers before crossing the mountains into Northern Italy. Having been promised aid against Austria from the new French King Louis-Philippe; Santarosa, Menotti, and their Carbonari compatriots threw all of Italy into a crucible of revolution in late November that burned through Modena, Parma, and the Papal Legations. Within a matter of days following the outbreak of the insurrection the cities of Bologna, Ferrara, Forli, Imola, Pesaro, Ravenna, and Urbino had all fallen to the Italian Revolutionaries. By far though, their greatest successes in came in Parma where the Austrian appointed Prime Minister Josef von Werklein and the Duchess of Parma, Maria Louise were captured by the Carbonari under Santarosa.[5]

    The loss of Parma and the capture of Marie Louise was a shocking blow to the Austrian Emperor Francis II who immediately dispatched the army of Lombardy Venetia into the Duchy of Parma to destroy the rebels and rescue his daughter. Santarosa and the revolutionaries buoyed by their success moved to engage them in battle along the banks of the River Po to the North of Parma meeting them in battle on the 1st of January 1831. Using his experience in the Napoleonic wars and the war in Greece, Santarosa and the Carbonari laid in wait for the approaching Austrian force where upon he ambushed it as it forded the River Po. Despite being outnumbered nearly 2 to 1, the Italians, bolstered by foreign volunteers were dogged in their attack on the Austrians and managed to force them back. Unable to make definitive progress against Santarosa’s position, the Austrian force was ordered back to Mantua while they awaited further reinforcements from Austria.

    The defeat on the River Po, while by no means a major loss for the Austrians, threatened to embolden the rebels and their supporters to further acts of revolt. The longer the insurrection continued unopposed, the more dissidents would flock to its cockade, and the more cities which would fall to the rebels. It was at this time that the Duke of Reichstadt, grandson to the Emperor, arrived in the Imperial court seeking an audience with the Emperor. While he was by no means close to his mother Marie Louise, her imprisonment at the hands of revolutionaries and dissidents demanded his attention and he requested permission to be sent to Italy with his men. Against the wishes of Metternich, Emperor Francis relented to his grandson Franz’s requests and dispatched his battalion to join the campaign in Italy.

    Next Time: A Pyre for the Carbonari


    Author's Note: I was a little more liberal with the use of butterflies in this part as seen in Poland and Italy/Austria. That being said, TTL's events of the July Revolution, the Ustertag, and the Abdication of Emperor Pedro of Brazil are all consistent with the events from OTL although that will quickly change, especially in France.

    [1] There were loyalists to King Charles outside Paris and around the country that could have come to support him had he or Marshal Auguste Marmont called on them, but for whatever reason they both hesitated, allowing the revolutionaries to take control of the city.

    [2] In OTL, Konstantin died from a cholera outbreak in 1831 while fighting the Polish rebels in the November Uprising. Here, he travels to Greece and succumbs to the disease several months earlier on his return trip. Konstantin was married to Leopold’s sister Juliane from 1796 to 1820 when their marriage was annulled so I believe it would be reasonable for him to attend Leopold's coronation, if for no other reason than to spread Russian influence in the country.

    [3] Even without the November Uprising it is extremely likely that Tsar Nicholas would have begun to abolish the Kingdom of Poland.

    [4] I made a note of this in passing in one of the comments, but the Count of Santarosa is still alive ITTL. In OTL he died in the battle of Sphakteria in Greece fighting against Ibrahim Pasha's soldiers in 1825. Due to some butterflies he wasn't present at that battle and was instead in Nafplion with the Greek government as a military advisor.

    [5] Technically, Parma and Marie Louise were “captured” by the Italian revolutionaries in 1830/31 but she eventually managed to escape given the poor situation of the rebels.
     
    Last edited:
    Part 40: A Pyre for the Carbonari
  • Part 40: A Pyre for the Carbonari

    550px-Cacciata_degli_austriaci_da_Bologna_%281848%29.jpg

    The Expulsion of the Austrians from Bologna
    The defeat of the Austrian army on the banks of the River Po near Parma sent shockwaves throughout Italy as would be revolutionaries emerged by the thousands across the breadth and width of the Italian countryside. Seizing upon this victory, the Carbonari of the Papal Legations formed the United Italian Provinces (Provincie Unite Italiane) on the 5th of January with its capital established in the city of Bologna and made clear their aspirations of liberating all of Italy from foreign powers. Lest all of the Italian Peninsula succumb to the fires of revolution, the Austrians needed to respond quickly and overwhelmingly. And so, 60,000 soldiers of the Austrian army were dispatched to Northern Italy under the command of General Johann Maria Philip Frimont.[1] Also accompanying the army was the Duke of Reichstadt, Oberstleutnant Franz Bonaparte, or as he was more famously known, Napoleon II.

    Napoleon II was the son and heir of Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous French Emperor and General who tore Europe asunder with his audacious military campaigns and his brilliant victories against all of Europe. Born in France on the 11th of March 1811, Napoleon II had originally succeeded his father as Emperor of the French in 1814 only to be ousted by the arrival of King Louis XVIII and the Coalition forces in May. Napoleon II along with his mother, Marie-Louise were sent to the Austrian Empire following Napoleon’s first defeat in 1814 and would never see his father again. While in Vienna, Napoleon II, or Franz as his Hapsburg family called him, was systematically cleansed of his previous identity as Crown Prince of the French Empire. Every connection to his father was removed, every connection to his life in France, was removed, he was even removed from the care of his mother who was sent to Parma leaving him alone in Vienna with his Hapsburg cousins and Grandfather who all eyed him with suspicion. While he was permitted to join the military as an officer, he was relegated to ceremonial units and garrison duty in Vienna out of fear of emulating his great father.

    The campaign into Northern Italy would prove to be his first venture outside of Vienna in nearly 17 years, and his first foray away from the claustrophobic control of Chancellor Klemens von Metternich. Even then, however, he remained under the specter of Metternich’s watchful gaze as his Franz’s commanding officer, Oberst Lamezan-Salins sent dispatches to the Chancellor every day. Franz and his unit were held in the rear of the force near General Frimont and his staff during the entire march from Austria to Mantua leaving him with little prospects of fighting in the war. In essence, he had traded the gilded cage of the Imperial Palace in Vienna for a more spartan environment in the army. Every aspect of his day was under close surveillance and every action he took was recorded by his superiors with scrupulous details, all of which made its way to Metternich in one form or another. Still they could not stop him from seeing everything going on around him.

    Large swaths of land in Northern and Central Italy had fallen to the Revolutionaries. Much of the Papal Legations had been ceded peacefully from the Papal officials to the revolutionaries, Parma had fallen by coup, and the Duchy of Modena had seemingly sided with the Carbonari. Another gaggle of Carbonari and rabble rousers under the former Napoleonic war colonel Giuseppe Sercognani were marching on the city of Rome having already captured the cities of San Leo, Urbino, Ancona, and Spoleto. There was even word of an attempted uprising in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, although it was put down before it could progress any further. Reports of French soldiers at the Battle of the River Po near Parma, however, had proven to be the most alarming to the Imperial court in Vienna.[2] Should France intervene on the side of the Italian rebels, then Europe would once more be plunged into a terrible war. As such all available military units were to be sent to the front in Italy posthaste to destroy the Italian insurrection before France could interfere.

    Timeline Map Part 40 Pyre for Carbonari.png

    The United Italian Provinces (Orange)

    While the Austrians marched into Mantua, an Italian army of Carbonari and revolutionaries marched on the township of Rieti East of Rome. The man in charge of this force, General Giuseppe Sercognani, had served in the Cisalpine Republic and then later in Eugene de Beauharnais’ Kingdom of Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. After its collapse in 1814, Sercognani remained in the service of his home city of Pesaro when it was returned to the Papal States with the Congress of Vienna. However, he retained his liberal and nationalist views, and became an early supporter of the Carbonari. Following the outbreak of the revolution in Italy, Sercognani led Pesaro in revolt against the Papal authorities, seizing the city for the Carbonari and the United Italian Provinces. With Pesaro and the Romagna secured for the Revolution, he then turned south towards the Marche and Umbria which soon fell before him and his men.

    Sercognani’s advance into the legations of Rieti and Viterbo would prove to be more contested than those to the East and North as the Papal army under Cardinal Giuseppe Albani arrived to combat them. Cardinal Albani was tasked by Pope Gregory XVI with restoring order to the Legations and crushing the rebellion. On the 10th of March, Sercognani and 3,800 revolutionaries engaged Cardinal Albani and 3,200 papal militiamen near the city of Rieti. What followed was an inconclusive affair. While Albani and the Papal army were forced to cede the field to Sercognani and the rebels, the Revolutionaries had taken more losses than their opponent with 471 dead, 892 wounded, and another 188 captured or missing, compared to Albani’s 230 dead, 705 wounded, and 206 captured or missing. Still, the road was clear to Rome, but with his losses, Sercognani could do little more than shoot at the city’s walls with his muskets and rifles as he had no cannons to reduce Rome’s walls. His efforts to starve the city or terrorize it into submission met with little succession and soon signs of malaria began to appear among his men.

    In the North, the Italians efforts met with similar results as the Romagnan General Carlo Zucchi led 6,000 men across the Po in a thrust towards the city of Chioggia. Before he could move to besiege the city, however, Zucchi was confronted by the vanguard of Austrian General Frimont’s army who swiftly relieved Chioggia, forcing the Italians to retreat across the Po. To the West, the Count of Santarosa met with more success capturing Pavia without a fight in early February and taking neighboring Cremona after a brief siege at the end of the month. However, Milan remained stoutly opposed to Santarosa and his men, forcing the Piedmontese General to lay siege to the city. The Italian Revolutionaries would make little progress before reports of the new Austrian army reached his camp in early March. Recognizing the disparity between his forces and the Austrians, Santarosa was forced to call on Louis-Philippe to aid the Italians as he had promised the year prior.

    The formal request for support by Santarosa, however, put King Louis-Philippe in a bind. While he could get away with allowing volunteers to travel to Italy, he could not risk openly sending French soldiers to Italy, lest he risk a war with Austria. Britain also opposed any move by the French to aid the Italians, with the Canningite government threatening war unless Louis-Philippe stayed his hand from intervening. Unwilling to jeopardize his still fragile position in France, Louis-Philippe went back on his word and refused to send official aid to the Carbonari. While he allowed his own revolutionaries and dissidents to travel to Italy by the hundreds, the official disavowing of the Italians was a disheartening blow to the rebel’s cause. With aid from France no longer a viable option, Santarosa was forced to turn to the Kingdom of Sardinia and its new King Charles Albert.


    250px-Franz_Xaver_Winterhalter_King_Louis_Philippe.jpg
    266px-Carlo_Alberto_in_divisa.jpg

    King Louis-Philippe of France (Left) and King Charles Albert of Sardinia (Right)

    For Santarosa to turn to Charles Albert was a serious show of desperation on his part following the latter’s betrayal in 1821. Santarosa had been a minor noble in the Kingdom of Sardinia following the Napoleonic Wars, serving faithfully as a member of the court and military in the wake of those tumultuous time. He was somewhat of a liberal in his political leanings and he was incredibly supportive of a united and independent Italy, free from the influence of Austria. And so, he and a group of like-minded individuals plotted to establish a constitution upon the Kingdom and to aid the Neapolitans in their ongoing Revolution in the South of Italy. Santarosa’s intermediary during this venture was the King’s cousin, Charles Albert who was himself relatively supportive of the venture and offered his aid to the would-be revolutionaries. Sadly, for Santarosa and his allies, Charles Albert had a crisis of conscious and turned on Santarosa forcing him to flee into exile in 1821. Charles Albert would himself later become King of Sardinia following the death of his cousin the childless King Charles Felix in early March forcing Santarosa to negotiate with the very man who betrayed him.

    Charles Albert for his part wasn’t against the notion of expanding his Kingdom at the expense of Austria. However, he had more pressing issues at the time than antagonizing the Austrians, namely the resurgence of revolutionary activity in France. The July Revolution in France had alarmed Charles Albert and his predecessor Charles Felix who feared the return of French dominance over his Kingdom as had happened following the previous revolution in France in 1798. As such he had begun negotiations with Austria regarding a defensive alliance against France in the event of an invasion of Piedmont. More importantly, Charles Albert had a personal connection to Austria through his wife Maria Theresa, who was the niece of the Austrian Emperor Francis II through her father Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. After a brief diplomatic exchange, it was clear to Santarosa that Charles Albert and Sardinia would sooner fight against him than alongside him.

    With no aid forthcoming and an opposing Austrian army incoming, Santarosa’s position outside Milan had become untenable and he was forced to withdraw back across the Po, ceding control of Pavia and Cremona to General Mengen and the Austrians. Old General Frimont kept advancing, however, and managed to catch Santarosa’s force to the East of Piacenza near the commune of Caorso. Despite gathering over 13,000 volunteers and militiamen from across Lombardy, Piedmont, Parma, along with several hundred Frenchmen and Poles, Santarosa’s force was greatly outnumbered nearly 4 to 1 as Frimont had come West from Mantua to Piacenza with most of his force. The Piedmontese General, however, had managed to quickly cross the Po River ahead of the Austrians putting it between him and them.

    The battle of Piacenza began at 4:00 PM on the 5th of April when two companies of Lombard riflemen under the command of a captain Carlo Cattaneo fired upon a squadron of Hungarian Hussars as they approached the ford. The hussars were soon followed by full battalion of horsemen who came charging down on Captain Cattaneo who was similarly reinforced by a brigade of French and Polish volunteers under the leadership of the Polish general Guiseppe Grabinski. Soldier after soldier went racing to the fight near the river crossing, turning what had originally begun as a skirmish into a pitched battle between the two armies. Santarosa to his credit had managed to destroy several of the nearby bridges and stationed men near the remaining river crossings to challenge any attempts by Frimont’s men to cross the river elsewhere. He could not guard every crossing, however, given his immensely smaller army and his lack of cavalry, and eventually a battalion of Austrian light infantry did succeed in crossing the Po downstream of Cremona by days end.

    610px-Trebbi_Mauro_Cesare_-_1831_Rimini_-_litografia_-_1870s.jpg

    Battle of Piacenza

    Their flank now exposed, Santarosa was compelled to retreat once more, but in doing so he would risk losing his force to desertion. Seeking to claw victory from the jaws of defeat, the Count of Santarosa placed his hopes and those of Italy on a desperate gamble, he would stage a night attack. With darkness falling and the river now definitively under Mengen’s control, Santarosa and 5,000 men were forced to make a dangerous trek back across the Po river in the dead of night. Some men were pulled beneath the water by the swift current and dashed against the rocks, but generally most of Santarosa’s men managed to traverse the river with the aid of local herders and boatmen. Unfortunately, they were soon discovered upon reaching the Northern bank of the river, but rather than retreat, Santarosa and the Italians plunged into the Austrians with all the might they could muster.

    Outnumbered and now surrounded the Italians pushed deeper and deeper into the Austrian camp while their enemy was still somewhat confused as to the events going on around them. Santarosa, despite the hopelessness of the situation held true to his cause and pressed onwards towards General Frimont’s command tent in the vain hope he could capture or kill the enemy commander. Taking the lead on the charge, Annibale Santorre di Rossi de Pomarolo, the Count of Santarosa inspired his men to follow him into the jaws of death itself as he attempted to hack his way through the assembled Austrian soldiers. Sadly, he would not get very far before being cut down in a hail of bullets. The last thing the Count of Santarosa would see before passing was an immaculate young man on horseback with golden hair and wearing the white uniform of an Austrian colonel.

    For the Duke of Reichstadt, the battle of Piacenza would be his first and only battle of the war. His unit had been held in reserve during the day with Franz serving in a purely observatorial role thus far, but the sudden attack by the Italians under the Count of Santarosa had done away with that. Due to the chaos of the battle, the Duke of Reichstadt quickly became separated from his handlers and was forced to fight for his life in the engagement which saw the destruction of a large portion of his force as they defiantly held their ground against the Italian rebels. At the battles peak, young Franz’s horse took a shot to the chest sending it plummeting to the ground, with its rider in tow, after which, he was not seen from again. The official report to Vienna was that Oberstleutnant Franz Bonaparte had fallen in battle fighting against the Italian revolutionaries at Piacenza. Unofficially, however, it was believed that he may have survived the engagement but his immediate whereabouts following the defeat of the Italians at Piacenza were unknown.
    245px-Le_duc_de_Reichstadt.jpg

    Napoleon Francois Charles Joseph Bonaparte "Franz", Duke of Reichstadt​

    Though the Italians had inflicted terrible losses on the Austrians at Piacenza; 2,300 dead, 7,800 wounded, and another 1,022 captured or missing, the Italians had suffered much worse with 5,301 dead including Santarosa, an unknown number of wounded, and nearly 4,200 were captured, of which the officers and firebrand revolutionaries would later be executed. With the death of Santarosa, the Italian cause in Parma effectively collapsed. In Modena, the disaffected Duke Francis IV seeing the writing on the wall and increasingly agitated by the overly liberal and republican tendencies of the Revolutionaries had had enough and turned on his Carbonari allies. His soldiers were ordered to round up any and all Carbonari members in Modena including their leader Ciro Menotti. A shootout occurred in the streets of Modena as Menotti and his Carbonari followers were forced to flee the city. The Italians revolutionaries would meet with a similar fate to the South and East.

    Outside Rome, General Sercognani was losing men by the hundreds to disease and desertion as the dismaying reports from the north reached his camp. By early April, his force had dwindled to a little over 1,500 men and was quickly overwhelmed by Cardinal Albani’s men when they sortied against him. Though Sercognani would manage to escape capture, the revolution was effectively dead in Lazio and Umbria. In the Marche and the Romagna, it would continue for a time under General Zucchi, but with Parma and Modena freed from the Revolutionaries, the Austrians directed all their resources against their capital of Bologna. Despite their valor the Italians were quickly forced to surrender Bologna, then Ferrara, Forli, and Ravenna in quick succession. Faced with the prospect of defeat and needless loss of life, the remaining cities of the United Italian Provinces surrendered to the Austrian and Papal forces.

    Before the surrender of the Italians final stronghold at Ancona in early June, many of their prominent supporters, were forced to flee the country in any way that they could. Chief among them being the British adventurer and poet Lord Byron, the former King of Holland Napoleon Louis, and his younger brother Louis Napoleon. Those foreign nationals that remained behind were quickly arrested by the Papal and Austrian authorities and sentenced to death, although at the insistence of the French government and King Louis Philippe, their sentences were commuted. Duke Francis of Modena would be permitted to retain his crown after claiming coercion by the rebels and throwing himself at the Emperor’s mercy. Many Italians revolutionaries were not as fortunate. The gallows of Lombardy-Venetia were particularly busy with a little over 800 revolutionaries meeting their ends on the hangman’s noose. By the end of July 1831, the Revolution in Italy was effectively dead and the Carbonari along with it.

    Next Time: Roi de Belgique


    [1] Despite being 72 years old at the start of 1831, Frimont was the Austrian commander who quashed the OTL 1830-1831 Italian revolt. He is extremely knowledgeable of Italy from his many years of service there during the Napoleonic Wars and he was stationed in Venice before the uprising. For these same reasons he is leading the effort in TTL as well.

    [2] The Count of Santarosa had Frenchmen in his company at the battle of the River Po near Parma. Generally, though, these men were volunteers rather than actual French soldiers. Still, the presence either officially or unofficially of Frenchmen in Italy is not good news for Austria.
     
    Last edited:
    Top