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