One of Greece’s greatest political leaders, Alexandros Koumoundouros had a strong contribution to Greece’s prosperity in the second half of the 19th century. He served ten times as Prime Minister (a record for a Greek politician), twice as Speaker of Parliament and 18 times as Minister.
He was born in 1815 in the village of Kampos Avias to Revolutionary fighter Spyridon Galani Koumoundourakis. In 1841, while studying law at the University of Athens, he went out to take part in the Cretan Revolution, despite believing it was a lost cause.
He was first elected plenipotentiary of Messina in 1850, when he changed his surname from Koumoundourakis to Koumoundouros. From then on, he was present in Parliament until his death.
In 1855, he was sworn in as Speaker of Parliament and a year later Minister of Finance in the government of Dimitrios Voulgaris. The parliament member became a vocal leader, threatening many members of the opposition. This led to an assassination attempt in 1864, outside the streets of the parliament.
Not letting it deter him, he became Prime Minister on March 2, 1965. The Greek went on to take the role of Prime Minister nine more times, the most of any Greek politician in modern history.
Koumoundouros was recognised for his patriotism and unselfishness. This led to the Greek public leaving trust in him for foreign affairs dealings. In 1881, he brought the peaceful annexation of Thessaly and the Southern Epirus, after first not hesitating to threaten Turkey with war. Koumoundouros was adamant not to bring in a pro-war policy, believing the country was not prepared.
During his time in parliament, the former PM restored the strength of the Greek army, distributed national farms to landless farmers, and approved major construction work.
His 50-year-long period of political involvement ended after he did not receive a vote of confidence in Parliament, in 1882.
As a result, Koumoundouros resigned on 3 March 1882. He died some months later on 26 February 1883, in his home on Ludwig Square (now known as Koumoundourou Square), in Athens.