Principality of the Pindus
|Principality of the Pindus
Πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου
Printsipat di la Pind
Principato del Pindo
|Puppet state of Italy|
|-||1942–1943||Nicola Matushi (regent)|
|Historical era||World War II|
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The Principality of the Pindus (also Pindo or Pindos, sometimes Pindus and Moglena; Aromanian: Printsipat di la Pind; Greek: Πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου; Italian: Principato del Pindo) was an attempt to establish an autonomous puppet state set up under fascist Italian and later German control in northwest Greece in the regions of Epirus, Thessaly and West Macedonia during World War II. It was proclaimed during the Italian occupation of northern Greece in the summer of 1941 as the fatherland of ethnic Aromanians, but was never able to assert itself over the local population until its de facto disbandment in 1943. The capital of the statelet was Metsovo (Aminciu in Aromanian), but the national assembly sat in Trikala.
The concept of an autonomous Aromanian (Vlach) state in the Pindus area was initially promoted by Romania from the 1860s onwards. The first attempt to realize this goal was undertaken by Alchiviad Diamandi di Samarina, who in 1917 founded the "Republic of the Pindus" in then Italian-occupied southern Albania. Although the statelet survived for only a day, it signalled the beginning of Diamandi's association with the Italians in pursuit of his aims.
Aromanian nationalists desired the creation of an Aromanian state in the Pindus mountains, western Macedonia, and Thessaly. A pre-war dossier for the Italian government on the subject of the Aromanians stated that they were descendants from the Ancient Romans and that the Aromanians had taken shelter in the Pindus mountains to take shelter against barbarian invasions.
After the fall of Greece to the Germans in spring 1941 and the division of the country among the Axis powers, Diamandi created a separatist organisation known as the Fifth Roman Legion, with the support of the Italian occupation authorities. Diamandi established himself as prince at Aminciu, and hoped for the creation of a state that would encompass all of north-western Greece. Diamandi also met the Greek collaborationist Prime Minister, Georgios Tsolakoglou, but Tsolakoglou refused to accommodate his demands. In reality "military authorities refused to permit any form of self-administration by the Aromanians in the awareness that their irredentist aspirations, or appeals for annexation to Italy, were a masquarade by a minority movement seeking political and economic revenge".
In 1942 Ohrana, a faction of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) offered the throne of Macedonia to Alchiviad, but there is no evidence as to whether he accepted it; however, his last successor, Julius I, was always styled as Grand Voivode of Macedonia. Alchiviad eventually left the state in June 1942 and took refuge in Romania, because in the eyes of local Aromanians he was rather pro-Italian than pro-Aromanian, while the Italians considered him a Romanian agent. His successor for a very short time was Nicola Matushi from Samarina, who tried to find a modus vivendi with the Greek leaders, but without success. After the liberation of Greece in October 1944, Matushi also left for Bucharest. From mid-1942 on, the armed Greek Resistance also made its presence felt, fighting against the Italians and their collaborators.
In late 1942, the Italian occupation authorities, which previously had supported mostly Aromanian and Albanian groups, changed their attitude towards the local Slavic population. According to a source from the old pre-communist Bulgarian National Security Service, this change was due to the decisive intervention of the leader of IMRO Ivan Mihailov through Ante Pavelić in Rome in early 1943. Then the vacant title was offered to the Cseszneky family, probably in recognition for their role in supplying the Italian Army with cereals. Gyula Cseszneky was a Hungarian-Croatian aristocrat in Italian service, who only nominally reigned as Voivode Julius between August-September in 1943, but never actually assumed power, although some local pro-Bulgarian autonomist leaders from Ohrana governed in his name. Whatever authority the Principality exercised, it practically ceased to exist after the Italian capitulation in September 1943, when the area was taken over by the Germans.
Another important figure in the history of the state was the Aromanian Vasil Rapotika (Vasilis Rapoutikas). According to V. Papagianni, he was Minister of Defence in the autonomous government since its creation. After Matushi's departure Rapotika was not loyal to the Italians, but rather offered his services to the Germans, particularly after the Italian occupation forces had started to arm local Macedonians. He was killed by a Greek guerrilla group just outside Larissa. The Greeks then tied his corpse on the back of a donkey and paraded him through the Aromanian villages of the Pindus. This was intended in order to scare the local population and as a final proof that the Principality had reached its end.
Another commander was M. Hatzi who was recognized by the Nazi German authorities in 1944 as leader of their local supporters. In September 1944 the above mentioned Ivan Mihailov was offered by the Germans to head a future Independent State of Macedonia but he declined favouring the occupation of Vardar Macedonia[clarification needed] by Bulgaria.
The state adopted certain anti-Greek policies but unlike other fascist régimes of the time was not anti-Jewish. Jews from Kastoria, Veria, and Ioannina held top positions in the hierarchy of the Principality.
- 1941–1942: Prince Alchibiades I (Alchiviad Diamandi di Samarina)
- 1942–1943?: Regent Nicholas I (Nicola Matushi)
- 1943: Julius I (Count Gyula Cseszneky)
Arms of HH the Prince Alchibiades
- See Heraldry
Quarterly, I three moutons passant, Or; II a chèvre salient, gules; III Azure, a river in fess Gules bordered Argent; IV a loup guardant, vert; overall an escutcheon barry of eight Gules and Argent impaling Gules.
Orders and decorations
- Princely Eagle Order
- Julian Order
- See Nobility
- Poulton, Hugh. 2000. Who are the Macedonians? Indiana University Press. p. 111
- (Greek)The capitulation of Italy from Rizospastis newspaper, 7 September 2003
- (Greek) Romanian Propaganda, from the Vlach Association of Almyros Province
- Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2006. p. 105.
- Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2006. pp. 105-106.
- The Pindus region also spans southern parts of present-day Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, but the "Principality" was restricted to the areas under Greek rule.
- Davide Rodogno. Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press, 2006. p. 326. ISBN 0-521-84515-7
- (Greek) Η άλλη Ξένη, from the To Vima newspaper
- Hungarian Aristocracy - Counts
- Regnal Chronologies: Northern Greece
- Bešker, Inoslav: I Morlacchi nella letteratura europea. Il calamo, Roma 2007, ISBN 978-88-89837-40-5.
- Arseniou Lazaros: Η Θεσσαλία στην Αντίσταση
- Andreanu, José - Los secretos del Balkan
- Iatropoulos, Dimitri - Balkan Heraldry
- Toso, Fiorenzo - Frammenti d'Europa
- Zambounis, Michael - Kings and Princes of Greece, Athens 2001
- Papakonstantinou Michael: - Το Χρονικό της μεγάλης νύχτας (The chronicle of big night)
- Divani, Lena: - Το θνησιγενές πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου. Γιατί δεν ανταποκρίθηκαν οι Κουτσόβλαχοι της Ελλάδας, στην Ιταλο-ρουμανική προπαγάνδα.
- Thornberry, Patrick und Miranda Bruce-Mitford: - World Directory of Minorities. St. James Press 1990, page 131.
- Koliopoulos, Giannēs S. (aka John S. Koliopoulos): - Plundered Loyalties: Axis Occupation and Civil Strife in Greek West Macedonia. C. Hurst & Co, 1990. page 86 ff.
- Poulto, Hugh: - Who Are the Macedonians? C. Hurst & Co, 1995. page 111. (partly available online: )
- After the War Was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece By Mark Mazower (partly available online: )
- Kalimniou, Dean: - Alkiviadis Diamandi di Samarina (in Neos Kosmos English Edition, Melbourne, 2006)
- Horváth Mihály: A magyar nemzet története
- Seidl-Bonitz-Hochegger: Zeitschrift für Niederösterreichischen Gymnasien XIV.
- (English) Greece-Epirus, at Worldstatesmen.org
- (Hungarian) A nemlétezők lázadása
- (French) Open University of Calalonia: Le valaque/aromoune-aroumane en Grèce
- (Bulgarian) Ivan Mihailov's Unpublished Memoirs, Diaries and Materials
- (Greek) Η φωνή της γης