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The Convention of Constantinople was signed between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire on 2 July 1881, resulting in the cession of the region of Thessaly (part from Elassona) and a part of southern Epirus (the Arta Prefecture) to Greece.
With the outbreak of the Great Eastern Crisis in 1875, many in Greece saw an opportunity for realizing the Megali Idea and expanding the borders of the country northward at the expense of the Ottoman Empire. At the same time, however, the Greek leadership, from King George I down, aware that the Great Powers, and especially Great Britain, did not favour such adventures, adopted a more cautious stance, particularly given Greece's military unpreparedness.This passivity was reinforced by the fear of Pan-Slavism engendered by the recent crisis over the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate, which led to distrust towards suggestions for a co-operation of all Balkan states, particularly by King George. Proposals by the Serbian prince Milan for a joint attack and partition of Macedonia on the basis of the Greek–Serbian Alliance of 1867 were thus rebuffed.
As the Eastern Crisis erupted into open warfare with the start of the Serbo-Turkish War in 1876, Russia, which was inexorably drawn towards military intervention in the conflict, moved to secure an arrangement with Austria at the Reichstadt Agreement. The Agreement stipulated that a major Slavic state would not be established in the Balkans, that Bulgaria and Albania would become autonomous, and that the three already extant Balkan states—Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro—would annex some territories. For Greece, these were envisaged as Thessaly, Crete, and parts of Epirus.The Greek government under Alexandros Koumoundouros kept to a strict neutrality, in accordance to the wishes of the King. Proposals by Serbia and Romania for a common cause were rebuffed, even though both stressed the need to act to prevent the emergence, under Russian auspices, of a "Greater Bulgaria". As the Powers geared up for the Constantinople Conference, the Greek public turned towards a pro-war stance and clamoured for action. Greece was thrown into a prolonged internal political crisis: the King on the one hand staunchly refused to agree to an alliance with Russia or the Slavic Balkan states, while Koumoundouros and his rival, Epameinondas Deligeorgis, alternated in office. The proposals of the Constantinople Conference, although rejected by the Ottoman government, were a shock to the Greek public: despite the "correct" behaviour recommended by the Powers, Greece saw her interests ignored, at the same time as Russia made headway in her plans for a "Greater Bulgaria".
The political situation shifted with the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, as Greece started moving towards the possibility of war. Even King George, disappointed with the British, began favouring a more dynamic policy. However, by the time the Greek government mobilized its forces for an invasion of Thessaly, the uprisings launched in Epirus, Thessaly and Macedonia had been defeated; only in Crete did the uprising continue; and the Russians and Ottomans were negotiating an armistice.
The Treaty of San Stefano caused outrage in Greece. Not only did the new Bulgarian state gain territories that were seen claimed by Greece and in part inhabited by Greek majorities, but the new Greater Bulgaria, backed by Russia, posed a physical obstacle on the path to the ultimate goal of Greek irredentism: Constantinople.The terms of the treaty also shocked Britain, and caused a turn in British official thinking, away from the dogma of the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire—which now was seen as no longer tenable—towards using Greece as a bulwark against Russian-sponsored pan-Slavism. At the same time the British were interested in smoothing over Greek–Ottoman relations, and possibly creating the basis for a Greek–Ottoman co-operation; in view of the public mood in Greece, however, such intentions were unrealistic, and the British began suggesting that Greece, as a reward, might receive territorial compensations. King George suggested the Haliacmon-Aoös line, but although the British government started sounding out the Ottomans about some concessions on the basis of the Kalamas River–Pineios line, it also refused to undertake any firm commitments towards Greece.
Once the Congress of Berlin began, Britain pursued two main aims: the reduction of Bulgaria (and consequently of Russian influence in the Balkans) and the cession of Cyprus. British diplomacy aimed to use the Greek claims as a means to achieve the former, and so already in the first session of the congress, Lord Salisbury proposed the invitation of a Greek representative for matters concerning the "Greek provinces of Turkey"—Crete, Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace. Facing stiff Russian opposition, in the end a French proposal was adopted in which Greece would be invited to attend only sessions concerning its adjacent territories—Epirus and Thessaly—as well as Crete.The Greek representative, Theodoros Diligiannis, was instructed to claim Epirus and Thessaly, as well as Crete. He was to support those Powers that opposed Bulgarian expansion into Macedonia and Thrace, and if possible secure some sort of autonomy for "remote Greek provinces" under Great Power auspices. The matter of the islands of the eastern Aegean, including the autonomous Principality of Samos, was not to be raised at all. Diligiannis and the Greek ambassador to Berlin, Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, presented the Greek arguments on 29 June. Although Germany and Russia were favourable to a cession of Thessaly and Crete, the Greek claims became a matter for behind-the-scenes trading between the Powers; the British especially used the matter to press the Sultan to sign over the cession of Cyprus to Britain, threatening to otherwise throw their support behind the Greek claims. After the Sultan complied, the British delegation turned hostile towards Greek claims. It was only the support of the French foreign minister, William Waddington that kept the matter alive. Finally, in the Thirteenth Protocol of 5 July 1878, the Powers called on the Porte to agree with Greece a new demarcation of their frontier in Thessaly and Epirus. The Powers proposed the Kalamas–Pineios line, but left the matter deliberately vague and to the discretion of the two governments; only if the latter were not to come to an agreement, the Powers offered to mediate between them.
The Ottoman government, however, refused to implement the protocol's terms, leading Greece and the Empire to the verge of war. In the end, the Great Powers applied pressure on Greece to reduce her claims.
On 24 May 1881, the Great Powers and the Ottoman Empire signed a treaty which finalized the new Greco-Turkish border, leading to the incorporation of most of Thessaly (except the Elassona area) and of the area around Arta into Greece. Among other measures, Greece in turn pledge to respect the religious identity and autonomy, as well as the possessions of the sizeable Muslim population in Thessaly (including the private possessions of the Sultan and the Ottoman imperial family). The treaty was ratified by Greece and the Ottoman government on 2 July, when it was signed by the Greek ambassador to Constantinople, Andreas Koundouriotis, and Mahmud Server Pasha , President of the Ottoman Council of State .
The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War. In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought against all four original combatants of the first war. It also faced an attack from Romania from the north. The Ottoman Empire lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Although not involved as a combatant, Austria-Hungary became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".
Thessaly is a traditional geographic and modern administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey.
The First Balkan War lasted from October 1912 to May 1913 and involved actions of the Balkan League against the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan states' combined armies overcame the initially numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success.
The Second Balkan War was a conflict which broke out when Bulgaria, dissatisfied with its share of the spoils of the First Balkan War, attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on 16 (O.S.) / 29 (N.S.) June 1913. Serbian and Greek armies repulsed the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked, entering Bulgaria. With Bulgaria also having previously engaged in territorial disputes with Romania and the bulk of Bulgarian forces engaged in the south, the prospect of an easy victory incited Romanian intervention against Bulgaria. The Ottoman Empire also took advantage of the situation to regain some lost territories from the previous war. When Romanian troops approached the capital Sofia, Bulgaria asked for an armistice, resulting in the Treaty of Bucharest, in which Bulgaria had to cede portions of its First Balkan War gains to Serbia, Greece and Romania. In the Treaty of Constantinople, it lost Edirne to the Ottomans.
Eleftherios Kyriakou Venizelos was a Greek statesman and a prominent leader of the Greek national liberation movement. He is noted for his contribution to the expansion of Greece and promotion of liberal-democratic policies. As leader of the Liberal Party, he was elected eight times as Prime Minister of Greece, serving from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1933. Venizelos had such profound influence on the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is credited with being "The Maker of Modern Greece", and is still widely known as the "Ethnarch".
The Megali Idea was an irredentist concept that expressed the goal of reviving the Byzantine Empire, by establishing a Greek state, which would include the large Greek populations that were still under Ottoman rule after the end of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1828) and all the regions that traditionally belonged to Greeks since ancient times.
Enosis is the movement of various Greek communities that live outside Greece for incorporation of the regions that they inhabit into the Greek state. The idea is related to the Megali Idea, an irredentist concept of a Greek state that dominated Greek politics following the creation of modern Greece in 1830. The Megali Idea called for the annexation of all ethnic Greek lands, parts of which had participated in the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s but were unsuccessful and so remained under foreign rule.
The history of Byzantine Greece mainly coincides with the history of the Empire itself.
The Greco-Turkish War of 1897 or the Ottoman-Greek War of 1897, also called the Thirty Days' War and known in Greece as the Black '97 or the Unfortunate War, was a war fought between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Its immediate cause involved the status of the Ottoman province of Crete, whose Greek-majority population had long desired union with Greece. Despite the Ottoman victory on the field, an autonomous Cretan State under Ottoman suzerainty was established the following year, with Prince George of Greece and Denmark as its first High Commissioner.
The Treaty of Bucharest was concluded on 10 August 1913, by the delegates of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece. The Treaty was concluded in the aftermath of the Second Balkan War and amended the previous Treaty of London, which ended the First Balkan War. About one month later, the Bulgarians signed a separate border treaty with the Ottomans, who had regained some territory west of the Enos-Midia Line during the second war.
The Battle of Sarantaporo, also variously transliterated as Sarantaporon or Sarandaporon, took place on 9–10 October, 1912. It was the first major battle fought between Greek forces under Crown Prince Constantine and Ottoman forces under General Hasan Tahsin Pasha during the First Balkan War. The battle began when the Greek army attacked the Ottoman defensive line at the Sarantaporo pass, which connected Thessaly with central Macedonia.
The Battle of Yenidje, also transliterated as Yenice, was a major battle between Greek forces under Crown Prince Constantine and Ottoman forces under General Hasan Tahsin Pasha and took place between October 19–20 (O.S.), 1912 during the First Balkan War. The battle began when the Greek army attacked the Ottoman fortified position at Yenidje, which was the last line of defense for the city of Thessaloniki, which had a Greek majority population.
The Battle of Pente Pigadia or Battle of Beshpinar, took place on 24–30 October (O.S.), 1912. It was a battle fought between Greek forces under Lieutenant General Konstantinos Sapountzakis and Ottoman forces under General Esad Pasha during the First Balkan War. The battle began when the Ottomans attacked Greek positions at Anogi. Early snowfall prevented the Ottomans from launching a big offensive, while the Greeks managed to hold their ground for six days in the ensuing series of skirmishes.
The Battle of Sorovich took place between 22–24 October 1912 (O.S.). It was a battle fought between Greek and Ottoman forces during the First Balkan War, and revolved around the Sorovich area. The 5th Greek Division which had been advancing through western Macedonia separately from the bulk of the Greek army, encamped at Sorovich where it found itself to be heavily outnumbered by an opposing Ottoman force.
Elassona is a town and a municipality in the Larissa regional unit in Greece. During antiquity Elassona was called Oloosson (Ὀλοοσσών) and was a town of the Perrhaebi tribe. It is situated at the foot of Mount Olympus. Elassona is bypassed by the GR-3.
The National Schism, sometimes called The Great Division, was a series of disagreements between King Constantine I and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos regarding the foreign policy of Greece in the period of 1910–1922 of which the tipping point was whether Greece should enter World War I. Venizelos was in support of the Allies and wanted Greece to join the war on their side, while the pro-German King wanted Greece to remain neutral, which would favor the plans of the Central Powers.
Panagiotis Danglis was a Greek Army general and politician. He is particularly notable for his invention of the Schneider-Danglis mountain gun, his service as chief of staff in the Balkan Wars and his participation in the Triumvirate of the Provisional Government of National Defence during World War I.
The participation of Greece in the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 is one of the most important episodes in modern Greek history, as it allowed the Greek state to almost double its size and achieve most of its present territorial size. It also served as a catalyst of political developments, as it brought to prominence two personalities, whose relationship would dominate the next decade and have long-lasting repercussions for Greece: the Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, and the Army's commander-in-chief, the Crown Prince and later King, Constantine I.
The borders of Greece from the Protocol of London from March 22, 1829 until the accession of the Dodecanese were changed nine times and its territorial extensions were seven.
The Battle of Driskos, took place on 26–28 November (O.S.), 1912. It was a battle fought between Greek forces under Alexandros Romas and Ottoman forces under General Esad Pasha during the First Balkan War. The battle began when the Greek army attacked the Ottoman defensive line at the Hani of Kamber Aga.