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Alexandros Ypsilantis

The Greek national hero Alexandros Ypsilantis was a member of the aristocratic family of the Fanari region "Ypsilantis".  His father Constantine Ypsilantis was a prince in the region of Vlachia, but was forced to abdicate his position in the year 1805 by the Ottoman Turks.   His family then fled to Russia, where little Alexandros was enrolled in a military school.

Upon graduating from the military school Alexandros joined the Russian army.  In the Russian Army he was promoted to the rank of officer.  He served in the Napoleonic wars and was rewarded by the Tsar who made him his adjutant.

Alexandros eagerly took on the role of leader of the "Friendly Society" and asked a reprieve of service from the Tsar of Russia.  Among other things Alexandros had lost his arm in the Napoleonic wars and the Tsar agreed to the request. 

Alexandros left from Petrograd and eventually arrived in Odessa.  He planned to launch the uprising in the Pelopennese as he believed that the chances of success were far greater than in northern Greece.

In the end Alexandros changed his mind as the Ottoman positions in Greece in general were very strong, whereas in Moldovlachia they were comparable week.  He sent his brother Dimitrios to carry out the uprising in Greece.  

There were many reasons why Moldovlachia far from Greece was the best choice for an uprising.  The region of Moldovlachia had many Greeks from the Fanari region of Constantinople.  The princes who governed these regions were also Greeks from the Fanari and most would be helpful.  As a result of a Russo-Turkish treaty no Turkish troops resided in the region, and none were allowed to enter without the consent of Russia. Moldovlachia also bordered with Russia, Alexandros believed that the Tsar would sent him aid upon hearing of the uprising.  

Alexandros and his brother George entered the capital Iasio on the 22nd of February 1821 with 200 men.  He rose the flag of the uprising in Iasio and was cheered on enthusiastically by the Greeks who lived there.  Alexandros urged the Greeks to join him in the struggle to liberate all Greek speaking territories.  Over 500 students left their schooling to join Ypsilantis as did hundreds of other Greeks which  included governing princes of the region.  All the volunteers decided to form a "Holy Company" that would try to liberate Greece or die in the effort.

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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!
  • Elefterios Venizelos Possibly the greatest Greek politician of the 20th century.  He was Prime Minister of Greece during the most trying of times.
  • Paulos Melas A national Greek hero who fought for the preservation of Hellenism in Macedonia in the early 20th century.
  • 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!  
  • 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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