Alexandros Mavrokordatos

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His Excellency
Alexandros Mavrokordatos
Αλέξανδρος Μαυροκορδάτος
Mavrokordatos1.jpg
Alexander Mavrocordatos, Athens, Benaki Museum.
1st President of the Provisional Administration of Greece
In office
January 13, 1822 – May 10, 1823
Succeeded by Petros Mavromichalis
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
October 24, 1833 – June 12, 1834
Monarch Otto
Preceded by Spyridon Trikoupis
Succeeded by Ioannis Kolettis
In office
July 6, 1841 – August 22, 1841
Monarch Otto
Preceded by Otto
Succeeded by Otto
In office
April 11, 1844 – August 18, 1844
Monarch Otto
Preceded by Konstantinos Kanaris
Succeeded by Ioannis Kolettis
In office
July 29, 1854 – October 11, 1855
Monarch Otto
Preceded by Konstantinos Kanaris
Succeeded by Dimitrios Voulgaris
Personal details
Born (1791-02-11)February 11, 1791[1]
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died August 18, 1865(1865-08-18) (aged 74)
Aegina, Greece
Political party English Party
Spouse(s) Katerina Bals

Alexandros Mavrokordatos (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Μαυροκορδάτος; February 11, 1791 – August 18, 1865) was a Greek statesman and member of the Mavrocordatos family of Phanariotes.

Biography[edit]

In 1812, Mavrokordatos went to the court of his uncle John George Caradja, Hospodar of Wallachia, with whom he passed into exile in the Austrian Empire (1818), where he studied at the University of Padua. He was a member of the Filiki Eteria and was among the Phanariot Greeks who hastened to Morea on the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1821.[2] At the time of the beginning of the revolution, Mavrokordatos was living in Pisa with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley, and upon hearing of the revolution, Mavrokordatos headed to Marseilles to buy arms and a ship to take him back to Greece.[3] Mavrokordatos was a very wealthy, well educated man, fluent in seven languages, whose experience in ruling Wallachia led many to look towards him as a future leader of Greece.[4] Unlike many of the Greek leaders, Mavrokordators who had lived in the West, preferred to wear Western clothing and looked towards the West as a political model for Greece.[5] The American philhellene Samuel Gridley Howe described Mavrokordatos:

"His manners are perfectly easy and gentlemanlike and though the first impression would be from his extreme politeness and continual smiles that he was a good-natured silly fop, yet one soon sees from the keen inquisitive glances which involuntarily escape from him, that he is concelaling, under an almost childish lightness of manner, a close and accurate study of his visitor...His friends ascribe every action to the most disinterested patriotism; but his enemies hesitate not to pronounce them all to have for their end his party or private interest...Here, as is often the case, truth lies between the two extremes".[6]

Mavokordhatos, a crafty, intelligent man was the best politician thrown up by the Greek struggle and he dominated directly or indirectly the various assemblies that endeavoured to establish a government for Greece.[7] He was active in endeavouring to establish a regular government, and in January, 1822 he was elected by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus as the "President of the Executive", making him in effect Greece's leader.[8] The Epidaurus assembly was largely Mavrokordatos's triumph as he wrote the first Greek constitution and become the new national leader.[9] Reflecting the fact that Greek government had little power, Mavrokordatos was more interested in defending his powerbase in West Roumeli, going first to the island of Hydra to secure the support of the Hyrdriots' warships and then to Missolonghi, where he supervised the buildings of the defensive works while using his wealth to create a network of patronage designed to secure him support from the western Roumeliot clans.[10] Mavrokordatos did not play the part of a national leader, and had created a deliberately complicated constitution largely to ensure that no one else could become a successful leader while he was off securing his powerbase in West Roumeli.[11] One observer commented about Mavrokordatos's tactics: "He imitates the cunning of the hedgehog who, they say, flattens his needles and makes himself thin to enter his burrow, and once inside fluffs them out again and becomes a ball of prickles to stop anyone else getting in".[12]

Alexandros Mavrokordatos by Peter von Hess.

He commanded the advance of the Greeks into western Central Greece the same year, and suffered a serious defeat at Peta on July 16, but retrieved this disaster somewhat by his successful resistance to the First Siege of Missolonghi (Nov. 1822 to Jan. 1823).[2] At Peta, Mavokordatos wanted a victory by his philhellene units and his Greek soldiers trained by the German philhellene Karl von Normann-Ehrenfels to show the advantages of professional military training to the Greeks.[13] Mavorkordatos appointed Normann-Ehrenfels, formerly a captain in the Wurttemberg army his chief of staff.[14] At the Argos assembly in 1823, Mavrokordhatos did not seek office again, but had himself appointed as general secretary of the Executive, which made him responsible for the flow of paperwork both to and from the Executive.[15] In 1823, Mavokordatos supported the Senate in its dispute with the Executive dominated by supporters of his rival Theodoros Kolokotronis.[16] In 1824, Mavrokordatos welcomed Lord Byron to Greece and tried to persuade him to lead an attack on Navpaktos.[17] In 1824, Mavorokordhatos backed a plot by the American philhellene George Jarvis and the Scottish philhellene Thomas Fenton to murder his rival Odysseas Androutsos and Androutsos's brother-in-law Edward John Trelawny.[18]

Mavorokordhatos's English sympathies brought him, in the subsequent strife of factions, into opposition to the "Russian" party headed by Demetrius Ypsilanti and Kolokotronis; and though he held the portfolio of foreign affairs for a short while under the presidency of Petrobey (Petros Mavromichalis), he was compelled to withdraw from affairs until February 1825, when he again became a Secretary of State. The landing of Ibrahim Pasha followed, and Mavrocordatos again joined the army, barely escaping capture in the disaster at Sphacteria, on May 9, 1825, on board the ship Ares.[2]

After the fall of Missolonghi (April 22, 1826) he went into retirement, until President John Capodistria made him a member of the committee for the administration of war material, a position he resigned in 1828. After Kapodistria's murder (October 9, 1831) and the resignation of his brother and successor, Augustinos Kapodistrias (April 13, 1832), Mavrocordatos became Minister of Finance. He was Vice-President of the National Assembly at Argos (July, 1832), and was appointed by King Otto as his Minister of Finance, and in 1833 Premier.[2]

From 1834 onwards, he was Greek envoy at Munich, Berlin, London and, after a short interlude again as Premier of Greece in 1841, he was appointed envoy to Constantinople. In 1843, after the September 3rd uprising, he returned to Athens as Minister without portfolio in the Metaxas cabinet, and from April to August 1844 was head of the government formed after the fall of the Russian party. Going into opposition, he distinguished himself by his violent attacks on the Kolettis government. In 1854-1855 he was again head of the government for a few months. He died in Aegina on 18 August 1865.[2]

See also[edit]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alexander Mavrocordatos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nicholas Mavrocordatos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sultana Chrysoscoleo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alexandros Mavrocordatos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Panayotakis Stavropoleos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Smaragda Stavropoleou
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nicholas Mavrocordatos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Constantin Cantacuzino
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Șerban Cantacuzino
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helena Basarab
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Smaragda Cantacouzena
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Maria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alexandros Mavrokordatos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nicolae Caradja
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Smaragda Caradja
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Note: Greece officially adopted the Gregorian calendar on 16 February 1923 (which became 1 March). All dates prior to that, unless specifically denoted, are Old Style.
  2. ^ a b c d e Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mavrocordato". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 917. 
  3. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 127.
  4. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 127.
  5. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 127-128.
  6. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 127.
  7. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 128.
  8. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 130.
  9. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 133.
  10. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 133-134.
  11. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 134.
  12. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 134.
  13. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 146.
  14. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 146.
  15. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 pages 184-185.
  16. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 191.
  17. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 207.
  18. ^ Brewer, David The Greek War of Independence, London: Overlook Duckworth, 2011 page 266.
  • E. Legrand, Généalogie des Mavrocordato (Paris, 1886).
Political offices
Preceded by
-
President of the Executive
January 13, 1822 – May 10, 1823
Succeeded by
Petros Mavromichalis
Preceded by
Spyridon Trikoupis
Prime Minister of Greece
October 24, 1833 – June 1, 1834
Succeeded by
Ioannis Kolettis
Preceded by
King Otto
Prime Minister of Greece
July 6, 1841 – August 22, 1841
Succeeded by
King Otto
Preceded by
Konstantinos Kanaris
Prime Minister of Greece
April 11, 1844 – August 18, 1844
Succeeded by
Ioannis Kolettis
Preceded by
Konstantinos Kanaris
Prime Minister of Greece
July 29, 1854 – October 11, 1855
Succeeded by
Dimitrios Voulgaris