Kingdom of Greece

Article

October 28, 2021

The Kingdom of Greece, in Greek Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος (Vasíleion tīs Elládos), is the political regime in force in Greece from 1832 until the mid-1970s, with the exception of a republican interlude between 1924 and 1935.

History

Foundation

The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 following the Treaty of London by the great powers of the time (United Kingdom, France and Russia). The treaty established the full independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire after the Greek War of Independence.

The Bavarian Monarchy

Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha having refused the crown, the throne is accepted by Prince Othon of Bavaria, who becomes Otho I of Greece, after his election by the Parliament of Nafplion on August 8, 1832. Otho I governs as absolute monarch, is surrounded by Bavarian advisers and shows little inclination to rule with the veterans of the war of independence. Under his reign, the country was nevertheless modernized: reorganization of the administration, justice, a regular army, the Church and education, with the creation, in 1837, of the first university in Greece. . This policy is facilitated by the numerous and important loans which the “Protecting Powers” ​​granted to Greece. Othon Ier is forced in 1843 to accept a constitution. Nationalist and supporter of the Big Idea, the sovereign continues to arouse discontent with his foreign policy and his lack of conversion to the Orthodox religion. In October 1862, he was overthrown by a new uprising. An election of a new sovereign is then organized, the Assembly choosing Prince William of Denmark who then becomes George I of Greece and receives the title of King of the Hellenes.

Expansion policy

As soon as he came to power in 1863, George I obtained from the United Kingdom the cession of the Ionian Islands. In 1881, the Treaty of Constantinople allowed Thessaly and part of Epirus to be attached to Greece. Crete, still a possession of the Ottoman Empire, was occupied by Greek troops in 1897, resulting in the declaration of war by the Ottoman Empire. Greece undergoing a severe defeat is saved only by the intervention of the great powers which impose the evacuation of the Ottoman troops. Under pressure from the great powers, the island then became an autonomous province of the Sublime Porte, with Prince George of Greece at its head. At the same time, Greece is involved in the Bulgarian-Greek-Serbian rivalry in Macedonia, this still Ottoman province being claimed by the principality of Bulgaria and that of Serbia. In 1912-1913, Greece participated in the two Balkan Wars. It obtains the region of Thessaloniki, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (less the Dodecanese ceded to Italy) and the definitive attachment of autonomous Crete. The kingdom then saw its area and its population doubled. But the assassination, March 18, 1913, of George I, succeeded by his son Constantine I, causes a serious political crisis. The conflict has indeed revealed the feeling of rivalry between the new sovereign and the head of government.

World War I and national schism

It was the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 which was the trigger for the split between the King and his Prime Minister. Brother-in-law of Kaiser Guillaume II and pro-German, Constantine I is indeed in disagreement with Elefthérios Venizelos, favorable to the Triple Entente. In October 1915, the king therefore forced Venizelos to quit his functions, but the latter founded in Thessaloniki a "National Defense Government" supported by the Allies and the country quickly found itself cut in two. On June 10, 1917, under pressure from Entente forces, Constanti

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