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1821: The formation of modern Greece

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By Stefanos Kavallierakis*

The Greek Revolution of 1821 is an event that has not occupied its proper place in European history.

It was the first successful Revolution of the 19th century, the first Revolution to strike the famous Vienna Agreement of 1815, the first Revolution to strike the Ottoman Empire in its soft bosom, the revolution that began to break up the “Balkan Orthodox community” by introducing national elements, and finally, the revolution that would begin the redrawing of European borders, a process that would be completed a century later, in the most local scale with the Balkan Wars and in Europe with World War I.

One of the events of the beginning of the “short” Greek 19th century, but so rich in events that it would end with the end of the Empires and the founding of European nation-states. In 1821, our national identity began to realise their demands and crystallise our national vision.

The Greek state as the heir, but also the creator of this Revolution, as well as all Greeks inside and outside the borders, must celebrate the 2 centennial anniversary. On one hand, to honour the futuristic warriors, but also Western-minded intellectuals, ecclesiastical officials and foreigners who participated in this Revolution that went against the whole European balance of forces for the peaceful 19th century Europe. And on the other hand, to celebrate the founding act of the constitution of modern Greece, highlighting the phases of its formation from then to today.

The emergence of 1821 two centuries later, its unifying message, the addressing of all the forces that now form the social body, from those who fled abroad to immigrants, would not only be a highlight of Greece’s modern-day historical depth but also of its potential to be transformed from an Ottoman province into an EU member state.

The Greek nation has always been a “nation on the move”, migrating, seeking financial freedom, excelling in different commercial sectors, adapting, and contributing to the development of the places it found. At the same time, starting in 1821, it acquired a hotbed, which in addition to the pathogenesis of the operation of the state, the ubiquitous Greeks took care to preserve, expand, strengthen financially, and fight for this hotbed.

In 1821, we offered their mother the frontier, the framework and the unifying link between Greeks everywhere in the world. We must preserve this link of unity, which is passed down from generation to generation. It is not only a link to stories, but a dynamic element of our identity, our strength, our cultural imprint, our ability to integrate and our integration.

1821 is a source of ideals, visions and beliefs for every season when we come across “cyclical dances”, as Dionyssis Savvopoulos says.

*Stefanos Kavallierakis is a Historian and Director of the Museum of the City of Athens

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