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Kingdom of Greece (1832-1924)

Last modified: 2002-10-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: wittelsbach | oldenburg | ionia | smyrna | cross (white) | deligiannakis | eagle (black) | pontus | eagle: double-headed (black) |
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[Kingdom of Greece]by Herman De Wael

[Greek flag outside the country]by Edward Mooney

Under the monarchy, Greece had two national flags. The plain cross flag was used inside the country and the cross and stripes flag, which today is Greece's only national flag, was used outside.

Roy Stilling, 4 February 1997

See also:

The Wittelsbach and Oldenburg dynasties

'In 1832 the Great Powers established an independent [Greek] state and chose Otto of Wittelsbach to be its first king. ... Otto was not a successful king; he brought numbers of Germans with him and tried to rule autocratically. The most memorable of his entourage was the Bavarian brewer Fuchs, whose name and products the Greeks have altered to Fix. In 1862 Otto abdicated; he was, as it happened, childless.'

Source: Heraldry of the Royal families of Europe [lou81]

His coat of arms is depicted on p. 282 (Table 141): on a checky 'Greek' field a 'Bavarian' escutcheon, all blue and white.

After that the house of Oldenburg (royal house of Denmark) became the royal house of Greece: it retained the 'Greek' field, but put a completely different shield on it.

Jarig Bakker, 2 August 1999

Flags shown in Colton's Delineation of Flags of All Nations (1862)

[Greek national flag, 1862?]by Ivan Sache

Captioned: #142. Greece.
Blue field with a decentered white cross and arms in the 'middle' of the cross. The arms look like a Bavarian lozengy shield with a crown. These arms are logical because the Oldenburg dynasty replaced the Wittelsbach one in 1862, the year Colton's work was published.

[Greek merchant flag, 1862?]by Ivan Sache

Captioned: #143. Greek Merchant.
Flag similar to the current Greek national flag, but with a rectangular canton.

Both flags seem to be erroneous.

Source: Colton's Delineation of Flags of All Nations (1862), colour plate reproduced in Znamierowski [zna99])

Ivan Sache, 10 March 2001

Standard of Elias Deligiannakis (1906-1908)

[Deligiannakis' flag]by Ivan Sache & Jaume Ollé

Flag of the Macedonian fighter Elias Deligiannakis.
It can be found in the National Historical Museum, Old Parliament, Room IX in Athens.
The flag is square, the eagle and the circle are dark grey and the words are in gold. The flag has a golden fringe.

Source: Hellenic flags. Insignia-Emblems. [kok97]

Pascal Vagnat, 11 January 1999

The writings read: Amunesthai peri patris, Fight for the fatherland

Jarig Bakker, 16 May 2001

Aborted Republic of Pontus (1919)

[Republic of Ponto]by Jaume Ollé

The Hellenic population of the Pontus (North Turkey, coast of Black sea) was the bastion of Hellenism during the Ottoman rule. The Ottoman Empire attempted to cleanse the region from the Hellenic minorities toward the end of the XXth century first decade, A series of violents acts, arbitrary decisions and laws forced inhabitants of the area to take refuge in the inhospitable mountains of Pontus. The soul of the rebellion in the Pontus was provided by the great national leader Germanos Caravangelis, bishop of Castoria, leader in the Macedonian struggle and Chrissantos, bishop of Trebizonda. The bishoprics of the Pontus became centers of guidance and recruitement of rebels, whereas the mountains became centers of resistance against the Ottomans. In 1917, Greece and the allied powers began to work out a plan for the creation of an autonomous Hellenic state in the Pontus region, purely Hellenic or Hellenic and Armenian. K. Constantinidis designed the map of the new autonomous state and Dr. G. Thoides designed and proposed for approval in 1919 the flag of Pontus. It was the Greek national flag, bearing in the center of the cross the one-headed eagle of Great Comnenes, the Byzantine dynasty from Pontus. After the unfortunate outcome of the campaign in Asia Minor, and the reversal of the allies interest and foreign policy against Hellenic interest and expectations, the plan for the creation of the autonomous state of Pontus collapsed.

The Republic of Pontus was never proclaimed but irregular Greek troops used the flag, and a embryo of state, not occupying all the claimed areas claimed existed c.1917-1919.

Source: M. Lupant, Gaceta de Banderas [gdb] #31.

Jaume Ollé, 26 May 2001

Aborted Ionia state in Western Asia Minor (1922)

The idea of proclaiming West Asia Minor (the area around Smyrna) an independent state was discussed in 1922 as a way out for Greece. On 17/30 July 1922 (the first date is Julian Calendar, then in use in Greece, second is Gregorian), the Greek government issued a proclamation couched in very general language and promising the people of Ionia a system of administration in accordance with the principles that led to Greece taking over in the first place etc. etc.
This included a mandate to the Greek High Commissioner in Smyrna to work in that direction and implement whichever measures he considered necessary. This was a seen as a first step to a proclamation of independence, but nothing else was done and less than a month later (on 14/27 Aug.) the big offensive of Kemal's army was launched. This led to the collapse of the Greek front and the evacuation of Asia Minor, which was then incorporated in Kemal's Turkish Republic.

The idea of an independent Ionia was being aired from various sides all through 1922. To a certain extent it reflected the impossibility of the Greek position at the time - the Greeks were beginning to realise they could not beat Kemal nor keep fighting him for ever, but on the other hand they would not agree to simply pack up and go home, leaving Ionia to Kemal. An independent Ionia, was, or seemed like, a way out of this dilemma.
Also, one must take into account that in those days Greek politics were deeply split between, on the one side, supporters of the great statesman Venizelos and on the other anti-Venizelite royalists (the latter were in government from 1920 onwards). Pro-Venizelites favoured an "independent" Ionia which would be able to utilize Venizelos, for representation abroad, something the anti-Venizelites in the Greek government would never agree to do.

Eventually, for want of a better solution, the "independence" idea caught on with the government who issued that proclamation of 17/30 July. My history books say that the pro-Venizelites boycotted the proclamation gathering, since it was not what they had in mind. However, although it was admitted that the Greek position in Ionia was a deadlock, the Greeks had not realised how close to disaster they were. They thought they had the whole of the winter of 1922-23 before a major offensive by Kemal. So, the government was in no hurry to implement their proclamation. Before they could take any concrete steps Kemal attacked, the front collapsed and Ionia was evacuated.

I have to insist that no State was ever proclaimed. From a legal point of view the declaration of 17/30 July did not change the position which was that: Ionia remained part of the Ottoman Empire (and for this reason the Turkish flag flew from a fort outside Smyrna) but the Sultan had ceded his right to govern the province to the Greek government. The declaration of 17/30 July did not create a new state, it merely stated the Greek government's intent to work towards that goal.

Yannis Natsinas, 3 & 5 August 1999

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