Greece had been under the dominion of the Turks for several hundred years when agitation for independence broke out in 1821.

Once independence had been achieved, a capital city had to be chosen. Athens was a tiny village, and so the nation chose Nafplion.

The first prime minister (or president) was Ioannis Kapodistrias, from Corfu, he had served in the Russian Empire in various diplomatic positions.

 

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Arriving in Nafplion in 1828, he'd never been to mainland Greece before.

Things were turbulent in Greece then (when are they not?) with serious factional fighting.

He was an active president, making many needed reforms. But his attacks on the old clans and chieftains stirred up opposition.

In 1831 problems came to a head. He ordered the arrest of Petrobey Mavromichalis, head of a tribe. His followers didn't like that.

In the fall of 1831, on a Sunday morning Kapodistrias was walking to church when he was confronted by two assassins. Shot and stabbed, he died in front of the church of St. Spyridon.

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The bullet holes are (allegedly) still visible here, and one is protected by this glass.

He is respected in Greece today. His face is on the 20 lepta euro coin from Greece and cities may have a street named for him.

I'm told that this church in Nafplio is an oft visited site for Greeks, a little like Americans going to the place where Kennedy was shot in Dallas.

 

 

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Last modified 6/21/09; original content © 2009 John P. Nordin