Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis c. 1915
|President of Greece|
24 August 1926 – 10 December 1929
|Preceded by||Theodoros Pangalos|
|Succeeded by||Alexandros Zaimis|
25 March 1924 – 6 April 1926
|Succeeded by||Theodoros Pangalos|
|Regent of Greece|
28 October 1920 – 17 November 1920
|Succeeded by||Queen Mother Olga|
|Minister of the Navy|
24 September 1915 – 9 June 1916
|Prime Minister||Alexandros Zaimis|
|Preceded by||Athanasios N. Miaoulis|
|Succeeded by||Konstantinos Kallaris|
|Born||9 April 1855|
Hydra Island, Greece
|Died||22 August 1935 (aged 80)|
Palaio Faliro, Greece
|Political party||Independent (Venizelist)|
(m. 1889; her d. 1903)
(m. 1918; his d. 1935)
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Greece|
|Years of service||1875–1917|
Pavlos Kountouriotis (Greek: Παύλος Κουντουριώτης; 9 April 1855 – 22 August 1935) was a Greek rear admiral during the Balkan Wars, regent, and the first President of the Second Hellenic Republic. In total he served four times as head of the Greek State, most times in the history of the seat.
Pávlos Kountouriotis was born on the island of Hydra to Theodoros Kountouriotis, Consul and Member of the Greek Parliament and Loukia Negreponte. From his father's side he descented from the Kountouriotis, a Hydriot family, originally from the village of Kountoura, in the Megarid and was grandson of Geórgios a shipowner who took part as many members of the family in the Greek War of Independence and who served as Prime Minister of Greece under King Otto. From his mother's side he was descended from the Negreponte family, a prominent family from Chios and was great-grandson of Constantine Hangerli, Prince of Wallachia. He was the second of nine children, including Ioannis Kountouriotis. Little is known of Pávlos' childhood. In 1875, following his family's long-standing naval tradition, he joined the Royal Hellenic Navy, presumably in the rank of Ensign. .
In 1886, he took part in the naval operations at Preveza as a lieutenant. During the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, serving as lieutenant 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 Georgios Averof, following the "blue cheese mutiny". As he was highly esteemed, he quickly reimposed discipline and set sail for Greece.
On 16 April 1912 he was appointed Chief of the Navy General Staff until 16 September, when he was appointed of the Aegean Fleet, in view of the worsening situation in the Balkans, and the imminent outbreak of the First Balkan War.
Kountouriotis played a crucial role in the Greek government's decision to enter the war. Partly because the Greek fleet had not yet completed its modernization programme, and in view of the disaster of 1897, the Greek leadership remained ambivalent about Greece's prospects. Kountouriotis weighed in decisively in these discussions, proclaiming his confidence that even with the existing fleet, victory could be achieved, thanks to superior personnel. His reply to Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos became famous:
Mr. President, I do not occupy myself with x plus y and angles of divergence. I know to speak of one thing. Ships without capable personnel, are [nothing but] heavy lead that sinks in water. I assure you that with the ships we have, we shall do our job well.
During the Balkan Wars, with his flagship, 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), bringing most of the Aegean islands under Greek control. 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).
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. 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.
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
- "Η Πρώτη Νίκη του Ναυάρχου Κουντουριώτη στους Βαλκανικούς Αγώνες" (PDF). Hellenic National Defence General Staff. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- The Times (London), Friday 29 October 1920, p. 12
- "Greece - 100 Euro gold, centennial of the Balkan Wars, 2012". Electa Collections. The Eurocoin Store. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
|| President of Greece
25 March 1924 – 15 March 1926
| President of Greece
24 August 1926 – 9 December 1929