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The Presidency of Kapodistrias

The Assembly of Troezene, convened by the insurgents in May 1827, elected Ioannis Kapodistrias president of the fledgling state and he took up the post in May 1828. Kapodistrias had enjoyed a long and fruitful career in the foreign service of the Russian Empire, at one point holding the rank of privy councillor to Tsar Alexander I. Because he had not been associated with any Greek faction during the war for independence and because the Great Powers knew and trusted him, Kapodistrias seemed an ideal choice as president at this crucial juncture.

Kapodistrias faced enormous problems, however. The Ottoman Empire had not given up hopes of maintaining control of Greece, so hostilities continued in 1828. Within Greece, political factions continued to control what amounted to private armies. Much of Greece lay in ruins, and the new state had no money with which to continue the struggle. Finally, Kapodistrias responded to incessant opposition to his Westernizing initiatives by an enlightened despotism that violated the constitution under which he had been elected. His brief rule was ended by assassins in 1831. The fate of Greece was more than ever in the paternalistic care of Britain, France and Russia.

Two pacts, the Treaty of Adrianople (September 1829) and the Treaty of Constantinople (July 1832), vouchsafed the existence of an independent Greek state by placing it under British, French, and Russian protection, defined its boundaries, established its system of government, and determined its first ruler--Otto, son of Ludwig I, king of Bavaria. In 1832, then, Greece came into existence. A pale realization of the lofty "New Byzantium" visualized by the eighteenth-century Greek intellectuals, it was a tiny, foreignruled , and utterly dependent entity. Nonetheless, for the first time in history the Greek nation existed as a unitary state.


Out of the Ottoman Empire

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