Pavlos Kountouriotis

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His Excellency
Pávlos Kountouriotis
Παύλος Κουντουριώτης
AlmiranteCoundouritis--inheartofgermani00vaka.jpg
Admiral Pávlos Kountouriotis
1st & 3rd President of
the Second Hellenic Republic
In office
25 March 1924 – 15 March 1926
Preceded by (Monarchy Abolished)
Succeeded by Theodoros Pangalos
In office
24 August 1926 – 9 December 1929
Preceded by Theodoros Pangalos
Succeeded by Alexandros Zaimis
Personal details
Born (1855-04-09)April 9, 1855
Hydra Island
Died August 22, 1935(1935-08-22) (aged 80)
Athens
Occupation Naval officer
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Greece
Service/branch  Hellenic Navy
Years of service 1875–1917
Rank Návarchos (Admiral)
Battles/wars Greco-Turkish War
First Balkan War

Pávlos Kountouriotis (Greek: Παύλος Κουντουριώτης, 9 April 1855 – 22 August 1935) was a Greek návarchos (admiral) and naval hero during the Balkan Wars and the first and third President of the Second Hellenic Republic.

Family background[edit]

The Kountouriotes was a prominent Arvanite family from the island of Hydra. The original family name was Zervas but was allegedly changed to Kountouriotis, since one of their ancestors lived for a while in the village of Kountoura, Megarida. Many members of the family took part in the Greek War of Independence, including his grandfather, Georgios Kountouriotis, who also served as Prime Minister of Greece under King Otto.

Family members & liaisons[edit]

Theodoros Koundouriotis: father of Pavlos Koundouriotis

  • Aggeliki Petrokokkinou: Pavlos Koundouriotis first wife (1889)
  • Eleni Kouppa: Pavlos Koundouriotis second wife (1918)

Theodoros Koundouriotis: son of Pavlos Koundouriotis and Aggeliki Petrokokkinou
Pavlos Koundouriotis: son of Theodoros Koundouriotis and Efthimia Kallergi. Grandson of Pavlos Koundouriotis
Paola Koundourioti: daughter of Pavlos Koundouriotis and Aikaterini Korchanidi Kogevina. Great granddaughter of Pavlos Koundouriotis

Early life[edit]

Pávlos Kountouriotis was born in the island if Hydra in April 1855 to Theodoros Kountouriotis, son of Geórgios, and Loukia Negreponte. He was the second child of nine, including Ioannis Kountouriotis. Little is known of his childhood. In 1875, following his family's long naval tradition, he joined the Royal Hellenic Navy presumably at the rank of Ensign.

Naval service[edit]

The signal sent by Admiral Kountouriotis from the cruiser Averof to the fleet, at the start of the Battle of Elli.
Translated it reads: "By the power of God and with the wishes of the King and in the name of justice, I sail with unstoppable force and with confidence about victory against the enemy of the nation."

First achievements[edit]

In 1886 he took part in the naval operations at Preveza as a Lieutenant. During the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, serving as Lt. Commander he commanded the ship Alfeios. His ship took part in at least two landings of Greek troops on the island of Crete. In 1901, commanding the training ship Miaoulis, he was sent to Boston. This was reported as the first transatlantic trip of a Greek war vessel. Kountouriotis served as an aide-de-camp to King Geórgios I from 1908 until 1911, receiving the rank of Captain in 1909. In June 1911, Kountouriotis was sent to Britain, to take control of the newly commissioned Averof, following the "blue cheese mutiny". As he was highly esteemed, he quickly reimposed discipline and set sail for Greece.

Balkan wars[edit]

He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1912, on the outbreak of the First Balkan War. During the Balkan Wars, with his flagship, the Georgios Averof, he led the Greek Navy to major victories against the Turkish fleet in December 1912 (Battle of Elli) and in January 1913 (Battle of Limnos), liberating most of the Aegean islands. His victories, due in large part to his daring but successful tactics, earned him the status of a national hero. He was promoted to Vice Admiral for "exceptional war service", the first Greek career officer since Constantine Kanaris to reach the rank (usually reserved for members of the Greek royal family).

Politics[edit]

In 1916, he became a minister in the Stephanos Skouloudis government, but, in disagreement with the pro-German feelings of King Konstantínos I of the Hellenes, he followed Eleftherios Venizelos to Thessaloniki where he was assigned the ministry of Naval Affairs in Venizelos' National Defence government. Konstantínos was deposed, and replaced on the throne by his second-eldest son, The Prince Aléxandros. Kountouriotis subsequently retired from the navy with the honorary rank of full Admiral. On the death of the young King Aléxandros of the Hellenes in 1920, he was elected Regent of Greece by the Greek Parliament on 28 October by a vote of 137 to 3.[1] After the sitting government of Venizelos was defeated in the elections that took place in November 1920, Kountouriotis resigned as Regent on 17 November, to be replaced by Queen Olga, King Aléxandros's grandmother. The following month, King Konstantínos was restored.

President[edit]

In March 1924, after King Geórgios II of the Hellenes was deposed, he was elected as the first President of the Second Hellenic Republic, but resigned the post in March, 1926, in opposition to General Pangalos' dictatorship. He was reelected President in May 1929, but due to serious health complications he resigned in December of the same year.

Death and honors[edit]

Admiral Pávlos Kountouriotis died in 1935. Α World War II Greek destroyer and a Standard-class frigate, the F 462 Kountouriotis, are named after him.

One of the two gold 100-Euro coins issued by Greece in 2012 to commemorate the centenary of the Balkan Wars featured Kountouriotis and the Averof.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Times (London), Friday 29 October 1920, p. 12
  2. ^ "Greece - 100 Euro gold, centennial of the Balkan Wars, 2012". Electa Collections. The Eurocoin Store. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 

See also[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
(Monarchy Abolished)
President of Greece
25 March 1924 – 15 March 1926
Succeeded by
Theodoros Pangalos
Preceded by
Theodoros Pangalos
President of Greece
24 August 1926 – 9 December 1929
Succeeded by
Alexandros Zaimis