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Modern Historical Background: King Otho's Coronation

syntagma sq area athensThe Great Powers, after defeating the Turks in the great Naval Battle of Navarino Bay on October 20, 1827 and effectively putting an end to the Turkish occupation of the Peloponnese. ('Navy' is a Greek word; from 'nauvlos') ...... arbitrarily installed out of work Bavarian royal Otho as the King of Greece. They built him a Palace too in Constitution Square.

But the Greeks, had paid a bitter price for their freedom from almost 400 years of Ottoman Turkish ('The Porte' or 'Sublime Portal') occupation, were less than rapturous over Otho or the idea of a Monarchy.

Their forebearers had after all invented the Democratic concept and it didn't sit well with their 'Megali i-dea' or 'Big Idea'; the reunification of all the Greeks within the old historic boundaries, especially Asia minor and Constantinople, modern Istanbul. An idea they still fantasize about. See map right.

click to see larger Eleftherios Venizelous Map of the true GreeceAt first, Bavarian Otho, who was a minor, didnt speak a word of Greek and was ineffectual as a monarch. It took 28 years until they eventually deposed him. He had a tough job too! (Otho reigned:1834-1862)

That didn't end Greece's need for protection from the Great Powers, nor obviously, did it end the fledgling Grecian Monarchia which continued in one form or another until 1973.

King George I, the next monarch, and this time from Denmark, upon ascending the throne at Athens, in 1863, consented to succeed Otho only upon England's undertaking to cede the Ionian Archipelago to the Hellenic Kingdom and especially Corfu.

Poor Otho even got a short street anmes after him too: Othonos, and Philellinon aka Friends of Greece St. runs down the center of Constitution Sq.