Himara revolt of 1912
|Part of the First Balkan War|
Spyromilios in the entrance of the Himarë castle
|Commanders and leaders|
The Himara revolt (Greek: Εξέγερση της Χειμάρρας), was a Greek uprising during the First Balkan War that took place in the region of Himara (Himarë, today southern Albania), on November 18 [O.S. November 5] 1912. It successfully overthrew the Ottoman forces of the region, thus securing the coastal area between Sarandë and Vlorë for the Hellenic Army.
During the First Balkan War, the Epirus front was of secondary importance for Greece after the Macedonian front. A small unit that consisted of local Greek Epirote volunteers was stationed in the nearby island of Corfu under the command of Major Spyros Spyromilios, who was a native of Himarë. This unit was later reinforced by additional 200 Greek volunteers from Crete sent by General Konstantinos Sapountzakis, commander of the Greek army in Epirus front.
End of Ottoman rule
The landing of Spyromilios' men began at 07:30 am of November 18, at the bay of Spilia in Himara region. The disembarkment of the volunteer force did not face any resistance. Immediately the landing force was divided into two groups: The first group which consisted of local volunteers approached the town of Himara from the north, while the second group consisting of Cretans approached from the opposite direction. As soon as the first group entered the town it came under fire from the headquarters of the local Ottoman administration, where the Ottoman guard was garrisoned. Finally, after the arrival of the second group, a brief clash occurred which ended up with the surrender of the Ottomans.
Immediately, after the town was secured, the head of the volunteer force, Spyros Spyromilios, raised the Greek flag in the former Ottoman headquarters, thus marking the end of the Ottoman administration.
As soon as the news spread about the successful operation of the Greek force, armed inhabitants from the surrounding villages: Drymades, Qeparo, Palasa, Kudesi, Vuno appeared in Himara, declaring to Spyromilios that they will support him in his movement for the incorporation of the rest of the Ottoman-controlled Epirus into Greece.
Securing the region
In order to secure the control of the region against a possible counterattack Spyromilios ordered the Cretan units to move immediately to the strategic location of the Llogara Pass. The pass was located northwest of Himara and towards the direction of Vlore. Upon advancing to their new positions, the Cretan groups realized that a number of Ottoman Albanian irregulars were stationed there, while an attempt to push them out, in November 24, was unsuccessful.
Spyromilios also suggested to the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos that the coastal city of Vlorë should come under Greek control but the latter responded negatively in fear that this might trigger Italian military intervention.
After the Albanian Declaration of Independence in Vlorë, on November 28, Himarë was constantly attacked by Albanian units without success and the area remained under Greek control until the end of the Balkan Wars. In one occasion when the Greek headquarters expected full scale attack in the area it ordered Spyromilios to retreat, however he rejected the order and remained in the region successfully organizing the local defence.
Under the terms of the Protocol of Florence, signed on December 17, 1913, the region of Northern Epirus, in which Himarë was part was awarded to Albania. This decision triggered a series of events that lead to the proclamation of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus in Gjirokastër by the local Greek population.
- Sakellariou, 1997: p. 367
- "Historia". Republika e Shqiperise Bashkia Himare [Official site of Himarë municipality (in Albanian). Retrieved 2011-01-08.
- A Concise History of the Balkan Wars, 1912-1913, 1998: p. 167
- Kaphetzopoulos Ioannis, Flokas Charalambos, Dima-Dimitriou Angeliki (2000). The struggle for Northern Epirus (1.udg. ed.). Athens: Hellenic Army General Staff, Army History Directorate. ISBN 9789607897404. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
As soon as news of the capture of Cheimarra by Greek troops spread, armed Christian inhabitants of the villages Drymades, Palasa, Vouno, Keparo, Kudhesi, appeared and declared to Major Spyromelios that they were prepared to assist in the liberation...
- A Concise History of the Balkan Wars, 1912-1913, 1998: p. 168
- Kondis , 1978, p. 93
- Pentzopoulos, Dimitri (2002). The Balkan exchange of minorities and its impact on Greece. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-85065-702-6.
- [Ed. committee: Dimitrios Gedeon, Hellenic Army General Staff, Army History Directorate. (1998). A Concise History of the Balkan Wars, 1912-1913 (1.udg. ed.). Athens: Hellenic Army General Staff. ISBN 9789607897077.
- Kaphetzopoulos, Ioannis; Flokas, Charalambos; Dima-Dimitriou, Angeliki (2000). The struggle for Northern Epirus. Athens: Hellenic Army General Staff, Army History Directorate. ISBN 9789607897404.
- Kondis, Basil (1976). Greece and Albania: 1908-1914. Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, New York University.
- Sakellariou, M. V. (1997). Epirus, 4000 Years of Greek history and Civilization. Athens: Ekdotike Athenon. ISBN 9789602133712.
- Μεγάλη Στρατιωτική και Ναυτική Εγκυκλοπαιδεία (in Greek).