52 Facts About Ioannis Kapodistrias


Ioannis Kapodistrias is considered the founder of the modern Greek state, and the architect of Greek independence.


Ioannis Kapodistrias was born in Corfu, the most populous Ionian Island to a distinguished Corfiote family.


Ioannis Kapodistrias's mother was Adamantine Gonemis, a countess, and daughter of the noble Christodoulos Gonemis.


Ioannis Kapodistrias, though born and raised as a nobleman, was throughout his life a liberal thinker and had democratic ideals.


Ioannis Kapodistrias's ancestors fought along with the Venetians during the Ottoman sieges of Corfu and had received a title of nobility from them.


In 1799, when Corfu was briefly occupied by the forces of Russia and Turkey, Ioannis Kapodistrias was appointed chief medical director of the military hospital.


Ioannis Kapodistrias, substituting for his father, became one of two ministers of the new state.


When Russia sent an envoy, Count George Mocenigo, a noble from Zakynthos who had served as Russian Diplomat in Italy, Ioannis Kapodistrias became his protege.


Mocenigo later helped Ioannis Kapodistrias to join the Russian diplomatic service.


When elections were carried for a new Ionian Senate, Ioannis Kapodistrias was unanimously appointed as Chief Minister of State.


In 1809 Ioannis Kapodistrias entered the service of Alexander I of Russia.


Ioannis Kapodistrias secured Swiss unity, independence and neutrality, which were formally guaranteed by the Great Powers, and actively facilitated the initiation of a new federal constitution for the 19 cantons that were the component states of Switzerland, with personal drafts.


Ioannis Kapodistrias obtained new international guarantees for the constitution and neutrality of Switzerland through an agreement among the Powers.


Ioannis Kapodistrias is not a bad man, but honestly speaking he is a complete and thorough fool, a perfect miracle of wrong-headedness.


Metternich, by default, succeeded in the short term, since Ioannis Kapodistrias eventually left the Russian court on his own, but with time, Ioannis Kapodistrias's ideas and policies for a new European order prevailed.


Ioannis Kapodistrias was always keenly interested in the cause of his native country, and in particular the state of affairs in the Seven Islands, which in a few decades' time had passed from French revolutionary influence to Russian protection and then to British rule.


Ioannis Kapodistrias always tried to attract his Emperor's attention to matters Greek.


Ioannis Kapodistrias wrote a long and careful letter, which while expressing support for Greek independence in theory, explained that at present it was not possible for Russia to support such an uprising and advised Mavromichalis to call off the revolution before it started.


Ioannis Kapodistrias visited his Ionian homeland, by then under British rule, in 1818, and in 1819 he went to London to discuss the islanders' grievances with the British government, but the British gave him the cold shoulder, partly because, uncharacteristically, he refused to show them the memorandum he wrote to the czar about the subject.


In 1821, when Ioannis Kapodistrias learned that Prince Alexander Ypsilantis had invaded the Ottoman protectorate of Moldavia with the aim of provoking a general uprising in the Balkans against the Ottoman Empire, Ioannis Kapodistrias was described as being "like a man struck by a thunderbolt".


Ioannis Kapodistrias became increasingly active in support of Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, but did not succeed in obtaining Alexander's support for the Greek revolution of 1821.


Ioannis Kapodistrias moved to Geneva, where he was greatly esteemed, having been made an Honorary Citizen for his past services to Swiss unity and particularly to the cantons.


Under the aristocratic veneer, Ioannis Kapodistrias was an intense workaholic, a driven man and "an ascetic bachelor" who worked from dawn until late at night without a break, a loner whom few really knew well.


Ioannis Kapodistrias once wrote about the cause of Greek freedom that "Providence will decide and it will be for the best".


Wherever Ioannis Kapodistrias went in Greece, he was greeted by large and enthusiastic welcomes from the crowds.


Ioannis Kapodistrias asked the Senate to give him full executive powers and to have the constitution suspended while the Senate was to be replaced with a Panhellenion, whose 27 members were all to be appointed by the governor.


Ioannis Kapodistrias promised to call a National Assembly for April 1828.


Ioannis Kapodistrias declared the foundation of the Hellenic State and from the first capital of Greece, Nafplion, he ushered in a new era in the country, which had just been liberated from centuries of Ottoman occupation.


Ioannis Kapodistrias ordered Church and Ypsilantis to resume their advance, and by April 1829, the Greek forces had taken all of Greece up to the village of Kommeno Artas and the Makrinoros mountains.


Ioannis Kapodistrias insisted on involving himself closely in military operations, much to the intense frustration of his generals.


Church was attacked by Ioannis Kapodistrias for being insufficiently aggressive, as the governor wanted him to conquer as much land as possible, to create a situation that would favor the Greek claims at the conference tables of London.


In February 1829, Ioannis Kapodistrias made his brother Agostino lieutenant-plenipotentiary of Roumeli, with control over pay, rations and equipment, and a final say over Ypsilantis and Church.


Church wrote to Ioannis Kapodistrias: "Let me ask you seriously to think of the position of a General in Chief of an Army before the enemy who has not the authority to order a payment of a sou, or the delivery of a ration of bread".


Ioannis Kapodistrias appointed another brother, Viaro, to rule over the islands off eastern Greece, and sent a letter to the Hydriots reading: "Do not examine the actions of the government and do not pass judgement on them, because to do so can lead you into error, with harmful consequences to you".


The most important task facing the governor of Greece was to forge a modern state and with it a civil society, a task in which the workaholic Ioannis Kapodistrias toiled at mightily, working from 5 am until 10 pm every night.


Ioannis Kapodistrias distrusted the men who led the war of independence, believing them all to be self-interested, petty men whose only concern was power for themselves.


Ioannis Kapodistrias saw himself as the champion of the common people, long oppressed by the Ottomans, but believed that the Greek people were not ready for democracy yet, saying that to give the Greeks democracy at present would be like giving a boy a razor; the boy did not need the razor and could easily kill himself as he did not know to use it properly.


Ioannis Kapodistrias argued that what the Greek people needed at present was an enlightened autocracy that would lift the nation out of the backwardness and poverty caused by the Ottomans and once a generation or two had passed with the Greeks educated and owning private property could democracy be established.


Ioannis Kapodistrias often expressed his feelings towards the other Greek leaders in harsh language, at one point saying he would crush the revolutionary leaders: "Il faut eteindre les brandons de la revolution".


Ioannis Kapodistrias alienated many in the Greek elite with his haughty, high-handed manner together with his open contempt for the Greek elites, but he attracted support from several of the captains, such as Theodoros Kolokotronis and Yannis Makriyannis who provided the necessary military force to back up Ioannis Kapodistrias's decisions.


Ioannis Kapodistrias, an elegant, urbane diplomat, educated in Padua and accustomed to the polite society of Europe formed an unlikely, but deep friendship with Kolokotronis, a man of peasant origins and a former klepht.


Ioannis Kapodistrias re-established military unity, bringing an end to the Greek divisions, and re-organised the military establishing regular Army corps in the war against the Ottomans, taking advantage of the Russo-Turkish War.


Ioannis Kapodistrias supported two unfortunate military expeditions, to Chios and to Crete, but the Great powers decided that these islands were not be included within the borders of the new state.


Ioannis Kapodistrias adopted the Byzantine Hexabiblos of Armenopoulos as an interim civil code, he founded the Panellinion, as an advisory body, and a Senate, the first Hellenic Military Academy, hospitals, orphanages and schools for the children, introduced new agricultural techniques, while he showed interest for the establishment of the first national museums and libraries.


George Finlay's 1861 History of Greek Revolution records that by 1831 Ioannis Kapodistrias's government had become hated, chiefly by the independent Maniates, but by part of the Roumeliotes and the rich and influential merchant families of Hydra, Spetses and Psara.


The French stance, which was in general moderate towards Ioannis Kapodistrias, became more hostile after the July Revolution in 1830.


Ioannis Kapodistrias called on the British and French corps to support him in putting down the rebellion, but they refused to do so, and only the Russian Admiral Pyotr Ivanovich Ricord took his ships north to Poros.


Ioannis Kapodistrias did finally call the National Assembly but his other actions triggered more opposition and this led to his downfall.


In 1831, Ioannis Kapodistrias ordered the imprisonment of Petrobey Mavromichalis, who had been the leader of the successful uprising against the Turks.


Ioannis Kapodistrias woke up early in the morning and decided to go to church although his servants and bodyguards urged him to stay at home.


Ioannis Kapodistrias was sentenced to death by a court-martial and was executed by firing squad.


On 8 December 2001 in the city Capodistria of Slovenia a lifesize statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias was unveiled in the central square of the municipality.