Macedonian Committee

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Macedonian Committee
Seal of the Greek-Macedonian Committee.jpg
Seal of the Committee, showing Alexander the Great and Basil II ("the Bulgar Slayer")
Formation1903
TypeIrredentist organization
Purpose-Reinforce the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the Bulgarian Exarchate in Macedonia
-Liberation of Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire
-Incorporation in Greece
Key people
Main organ
Newspaper Embros

The Macedonian Committee (Greek: Μακεδονικό Κομιτάτο, Makedoniko Komitato), formally the Hellenic Macedonian Committee (Ελληνομακεδονικό Κομιτάτο, Ellinomakedoniko Komitato), was a Greek irredentist organization with the aim of liberating Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire (in the vilayets of Monastir and Salonika). It formed in 1903 under the leadership of wealthy publisher Dimitrios Kalapothakis; its members included Ion Dragoumis and Pavlos Melas.[1] The committee organized the sending of guerrilla fighters to Macedonia—the so-called Makedonomachoi—during the Macedonian Struggle (1904–1908).

Following the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate, Greeks and Bulgarians were engaged in a propaganda struggle for the allegiance of the inhabitants of Macedonia. Following the abortive Ilinden Revolt in August 1903 by the Bulgarian-sponsored IMRO, in 1903 the Macedonian Committee organized to preserve Greek interests in the region. The Bishop of Kastoria, Germanos Karavangelis, sent to Macedonia by the ambassador of Greece Nikolaos Mavrokordatos and the consul of Greece in Monastiri, Ion Dragoumis, realised that it was time to act in a more efficient way and started organising Greek opposition. While Dragoumis concerned himself with the financial organisation of the efforts, the central figure in the military struggle was the capable Cretan officer Georgios Katechakis.[2] Bishop Germanos Karavangelis animated the Macedonian Greek population against the IMRO and formed committees to promote Greek national interests.

Taking advantage of the internal political and personal disputes in IMRO, Katechakis and Karavangelis initially succeeded in recruiting some IMRO members and in organizing guerrilla groups, which were later reinforced with people sent from Greece and thus mainly comprised ex-officers of the Hellenic Army, volunteers brought from Crete, from the Mani area of the Peloponnese, as well as Macedonian Greeks, such as Evangelos Natsis from the village of Asprogia, Lazaros Apostolidis from Kastoria, Captain Giaglis from Ierissos, Konstantinos Kottas from Florina (former IMRO), Michael Sionidis, Captain Ramnalis, Pantelis Papaioannou, Stefanos Papagalos from Veria, Dimitrios Dalipis from Kastoria, Pericles Drakos from Kavala, Christos Dellios, Christos Argyrakos and many more.

The rebel fighters who fought for the Greek cause were known by the Greeks as Makedonomachoi (Greek: Μακεδονομάχοι; "Macedonian fighters").[3] Greek writer Penelope Delta portrayed them in her novel Τά μυστικά τοῦ Βάλτου (Ta Mystiká tou Váltou – The Secrets of the Swamp), and Germanos Karavangelis recalls them in the book of memoirs Ὁ Μακεδονικός Ἀγών (The Macedonian Struggle). On the other side, the fighters of IMRO and their activities appear in the book Confessions of a Macedonian Bandit: A Californian in the Balkan Wars, written by Albert Sonnichsen, an American volunteer in the IMRO during the Macedonian Struggle.

Sources[edit]

  • Karavangelis, Germanos: "The Macedonian Struggle" (Memoirs)
  • Dakin, Douglas: "The Greek Struggle in Macedonia 1897–1913", 1993 ISBN 9607387007
  • Rappoport, Alfred: Au pays des martyrs. Notes et souvenirs d'un ancien consul-général d'Autriche-Hongrie en Macédoine (1904–1909). Librarie Universitaire J. Gamber, Paris, 1927. Memoirs of the General Consul of Austro-Hungary in Macedonia. Cat. No. 7029530203814.
  • Livanios, D., 1999. ‘Conquering the souls’: nationalism and Greek guerrilla warfare in Ottoman Macedonia, 1904-1908. Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 23, pp.195-221.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Konstantinos Vakalopoulos, Historia tou voreiou hellenismou, vol 2, 1990, pages 429-430
  2. ^ Bulgarian Historical Review, vol 31, 1-4, 2003, p 117 "Only a few days later -on November 1- Katehakis arrived in Macedonia as Melas' successor
  3. ^ Keith S. Brown; Yannis Hamilakis (2003). The Usable Past: Greek Metahistories. Lexington Books. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-7391-0384-5.