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Paulos Melas (1870-1904)

The Greek national hero Paulos Melas was born in 1870, and completed his university in 1891 at the University of Athens graduating to the military position of sub lieutenant of Artillery. He is among many national heroes that fought bloody battles against the Bulgarian forces in Macedonia.  The battles occurred a result of the Neo-Turks allowing  the Bulgarians to change the ethnic "Greek" character of Macedonia through persecutions.  

The Greeks in Macedonia rose up in arms to protect themselves from an impending genocide.  With the support of  the Greeks in liberated Greece, the Greek Macedonians hoped to save themselves from genocide and liberate Macedonia joining it with mother Greece.

Paulos Melas was one of the first Greek officers to enter in the fight for the defense of Macedonia.  He was a true patriot and burned with love for his homeland, he ran as did many Greeks to defend their people from impending catastrophe, and died for his beliefs.

As he fought against the combined Turkish and Bulgarian forces in Macedonia, he became a legend to the local populations and all of Greece. The local populations had become so filled with hope as a result of their new hero that they awaited liberation from the oppressors.  The Turkish and Bulgarian forces on the other hand developed such a great fear of him that they decided that they would do all that they could to catch him and put him to death.

On October 13th 1904 in the village of Siatista the enemy got its wish, combined Bulgarian and Turkish forces surrounded him and his soldiers.  However, the combined forces were unable to catch the heroic Greek or his soldiers, even though they were heavily outnumbered they managed to break the line of the enemy and withdraw from their positions.  Paulos Melas was unfortunately wounded heavily in this battle and in less then half an hour passed away.

All of enslaved Macedonia and liberated Greece mourned the death of  their national hero.  Out of his death was born the desire throughout Greece that at all costs Macedonia must be liberated and united with Greece.  Within ten years Paulos Melas's dream came to a reality and Macedonia was finally unified with its mother Greece nearly one hundred years after Greece's liberation from Turkish occupation.

 

Directly Related:

The Balkan Wars During these wars that occurred in the early 20th century Greece managed to double its' territory and population.

 

Other Modern Greeks:

  • Rigas Feraios A national Greek hero and poet during the Ottoman occupation. He is considered the first martyr in the war for Greek independence!
  • Alexandros Ypsilantis A national Greek hero who died fighting for Greece's freedom far from Greece, but whose sacrifice helped to liberate it.
  • Ioannes Capodistrias First Prime Minister and hero of modern Greece.  He managed to do the impossible by bringing a devastated country back into modern Europe in the shortest possible time!  
  • Elefterios Venizelos Possibly the greatest Greek politician of the 20th century.  He was Prime Minister of Greece during the most trying of times.
  • Dimitrios Ypsilantis Hero of the war of Independence, he was the brother of Alexandros Ypsilantis and was chosen by him to lead the uprising in the Greek mainland against the Ottoman Empire.  
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