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Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος
Vasílion tis Elládos
Kingdom of Greece

 

 

 

1832 – 1924
1935 – 1941
1944 – 1973

 

 

State Flag
(1863-1924 and 1935-1967)
Small State Coat of Arms
(1863-1924 and 1935-1967)
Motto
Eleftheria i Thanatos, (Greek: "Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος", "Freedom or Death") (traditional)
Royal motto: The people's love, my strength (Greek: "Ἰσχύς μου ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ λαοῦ")
Anthem
Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν
Ýmnos eis tīn Eleftherían
Hymn to Liberty
Territorial evolution of the Greek kingdom 1832-1947
Capital Athens
Language(s) Greek
Religion Greek Orthodox
Government Absolute monarchy 1832 - 1843
Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy 1843 - 1924, 1935 - 1973
King
 - 1832-1862 Otto
 - 1964-1974 Constantine II
Historical era Enlightenment Era
 - London Protocol 30 August 1832
 - Constitution granted 3 September 1843
 - Second Republic 25 March 1924
 - Monarchy restored 3 November 1935
 - Axis occupation 1941
 - Third Republic 8 December 1974
Currency Drachma

The Kingdom of Greece (Greek: Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος, Vasílion tis Elládos) was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers (the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire). It was internationally recognized in the Treaty of Constantinople, where it also secured full independence from the Ottoman Empire, marking the birth of the first fully independent Greek state since the fall of the last remnants of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in the mid-15th century. It succeeded from the Greek provisional governments of the Greek War of Independence, and lasted until 1924, when the monarchy was abolished, and the Second Hellenic Republic declared. The Kingdom was restored in 1935, and lasted until 1974, when, in the aftermath of a seven-year military dictatorship, the current Third Republic came into existence.

Contents

House of Wittelsbach

The Greeks had risen up against the Ottoman Empire in 1821, leading to a struggle which lasted until 1829. Greece had been led since 1828 by Count John Capodistria, but after his assassination in 1831 the country descended into civil war. At this stage, the Great Powers stepped in and decided to make Greece a kingdom. At the London Conference of 1832, Great Britain, France and Russia (the Great Powers at the time) offered the Greek throne to the 17-year-old Bavarian Prince Otto of the ruling House of Wittelsbach, who became the first King of Greece. Otto was a minor when he arrived in Greece and thus a Council of Regents ruled in his name until 1835. In 1835, Otto began a period of absolute monarchy in which he selected an advisor (usually Bavarian) to serve as the President of the Council of State. At times, he himself was his own chief councilor.

3 September 1843 revolution

By 1843, public dissatisfaction with Otto and the "Bavarocracy" had reached a tipping point, and the people were starting to make demands for a constitution. Initially Otto refused to grant a constitution, but as soon as German troops were withdrawn from the kingdom, a military coup was launched. On 3 September 1843, the infantry, led by Colonel Dimitrios Kallergis and the respected Revolution captain Ioannis Makriyannis assembled in the square in front of the palace in Athens. The rebellion refused to disperse until the king agreed to grant a constitution, which would require that there be Greeks in the council, that he convene a permanent national assembly, and that Otto personally thank the leaders of the uprising. King Otto gave in to the pressure and agreed to the demands of the crowd.

House of Glücksburg

30 Drachma coin of 1963, commemorating the centennial of the reign of the House of Glücksburg. Clockwise from the top: Paul, George II, Alexander, Constantine I and George I.
George I, King of the Hellenes.
The Royal Flag of the Kingdom of Greece. Similar to the State Flag, but with a detailed crown and fringe
The State and War version of the Naval Ensign of the Kingdom of Greece

After King Otto was deposed in 1862, 17-year-old Prince William of Denmark was elected to the throne as a constitutional monarch, known as George I. He reigned for 50 years, and his tenure is remembered for expanding the boundaries of Greece (upon his accession to the crown, Britain ceded the Ionian Islands to Greece), its economic progress and the acceptance of the concept that the government should be headed up by the leader of the party that received the most votes in the previous election, not whichever minister was most favoured by the king. Nevertheless, King George I was quite politically active. He was assassinated in 1913 in Thessaloniki, which had recently fallen to Greece as a result of the victory of the Balkan League (of which Greece was a part) in the First Balkan War.

King George I was succeeded by his son, King Constantine I, who had distinguished himself as a military leader in Greece's drive to add territory to her demesne. He was educated in Germany, and married Sophia, the daughter of the Kaiser. Constantine was perceived as pro-German, in opposition to Eleftherios Venizelos' support for the Triple Entente. Further bolstering this view was the king's overt efforts to keep Greece neutral in the First World War. The Entente Powers backed Eleftherios Venizelos and after a period, known as the National Schism, where separate governments were established in Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece joined the Entente and King Constantine was forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Alexander in 1917. Greece was rewarded for her support of the winning side in the war with territories in Asia Minor including Smyrna. King Alexander died in 1920 from a monkey bite and his father returned as king. After the disastrous Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), King Constantine was deposed again and he died in exile in Sicily.

King Constantine was now succeeded by his eldest son, King George II, who left the country in 1924 when the Second Hellenic Republic was declared. In 1935 a military coup headed by General Georgios Kondylis abolished the Republic, and staged a plebiscite which approved the restoration of the monarchy. King George II returned to the country, where he subsequently actively supported the dictatorial Metaxas Regime. During the German invasion of Greece in 1941, he fled with the government to Egypt. He returned to Greece in 1946 and reigned until his death in 1947.

King George was followed by his last brother, King Paul who reigned from 1947 until his death in 1964. His son, King Constantine II was king until he was exiled after a failed counter coup against the military junta in December 1967. The Junta appointed an illegal Regent in place of the King and eventually staged a carefully controlled plebiscite in 1973, which led to the illegal abolition of the monarchy. Georgios Papadopoulos became the new President of Greece on 1 June 1973.

The reign of the military junta effectively ended the following year but King Constantine II was not restored to the throne. The matter of his restoration was set in another plebiscite in December 1974, where 69% of Greeks voted for the final abolition of the monarchy.

List of Kings of Greece

Note: The dates signify reign not life span.

Heir

During the kingdom, the heir apparent carried the title of Diadochos, as unique as dauphin in France (but not linked to any territory). During the Glücksburg dynasty, the heir also enjoyed the title of "Duke of Sparta".

History of Greece
Coat of Arms of Greece
This article is part of a series
Greek Bronze Age
Helladic civilization
Cycladic civilization
Minoan civilization
Mycenaean civilization
Ancient Greece
Greek Dark Ages
Archaic Greece
Classical Greece
Hellenistic Greece
Roman Greece
Medieval Greece
Byzantine Greece
Frankish and Latin states
Ottoman Greece
Modern Greece
War of Independence
Kingdom of Greece
Second Hellenic Republic
4th of August Regime
Axis occupation
Civil War
Military Junta
Third Hellenic Republic
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Art · Constitution · Economy · Military · Names

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