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Independence of Greece

This map is part of a series of 24 animated maps showing the history of Europe and nations, 1815-1914.

In the name of European equilibrium, the Congress of Vienna leaves the status quo in the Balkans, but fails to satisfy the national aspirations of the Greek people, who then obtain their independence through warfare.

The insurrection breaks out in 1821; within a few months the Turks are driven out of the Peloponnese, and an Assembly proclaims independence at Epidaurus. In spite of the Turkish repression, manifested by the massacre of the population of the island of Chios, the Greek insurgents subsequently take over Athens and Messolonghi.

The Sultan then calls on the Pasha of Egypt, Muhammad -Ali, whose troops gain a foothold in Crete, then reconquer the Peloponnese. Messolonghi is retaken in 1826. The following year, it is Athens’s turn to fall.

For a long time passive, in spite of the strong current of sympathy for their public opinion in favor of the Greek cause, the European powers commit to intervene. France, Russia and the United Kingdom send their fleets and destroy the Ottoman ships at Navarino in October of 1827. A French contingent then undertakes the reconquest of the Peloponnese, whereas Russian troops penetrate Turkey.

Thus threatened, the Sultan agrees to negotiate, and Greek independence is officially recognized in February 1830 in London. Greece then includes the Peloponnese, the northern gulf of Corinth, Athens, Euboea and the Cyclades, which leaves several regions populated by Greeks under Ottoman domination.