History of modern Greece

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The history of modern Greece covers the history of Greece from the recognition of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832 after the Greek War of Independence to the present day.

Contents

Background

In 1821, the Greeks rose up against the Ottoman Empire. Following a protracted struggle, the autonomy of Greece was first recognized by the Great Powers (the United Kingdom, France, and Russia) in 1828. Count Ioannis Kapodistrias became the head of the Greek government, but he was assassinated in 1831. At the insistence of the Powers, the 1832 Treaty of London made Greece a monarchy. Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria was chosen as its first King. Otto arrived at the provisional capital, Nafplion, in 1833 aboard a British warship.

Reign of King Otto, 1833–1863

Otto's reign would prove troubled, but managed to last for 30 years before he and his wife, Queen Amalia, left the way they came, aboard a British warship. During the early years of his reign a group of Bavarian Regents ruled in his name, and made themselves very unpopular by trying to impose German ideas of rigid hierarchical government on the Greeks, while keeping most significant state offices away from them. Nevertheless they laid the foundations of a Greek administration, army, justice system and education system. Otto was sincere in his desire to give Greece good government, but he suffered from two great handicaps. He refused to renounce his Roman Catholic faith in favor of Greek Orthodoxy, and his marriage to Queen Amalia remained childless. This meant he could neither be crowned as King of Greece under the Orthodox rite nor establish a dynasty.

The Bavarian Regents ruled until 1837, when at the insistence of Britain and France, they were recalled and Otto thereafter appointed Greek ministers, although Bavarian officials still ran most of the administration and the army. But Greece still had no legislature and no constitution. Greek discontent grew until a revolt broke out in Athens in September 1843. Otto agreed to grant a constitution, and convened a National Assembly which met in November. The new constitution created a bicameral parliament, consisting of an Assembly (Vouli) and a Senate (Gerousia). Power then passed into the hands of a group of politicians, most of whom who had been commanders in the War of Independence against the Ottomans.

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