Giorgios Karaiskakis

Giorgios Karaiskakis

Giorgos Karaiskakis was one of the greatest leading figures of the Hellenic Revolution of 1821 against the Turkish occupation, with activities mainly in Central Greece.

Giorgos Karaiskakis was born in 1780 in Mavromati, Karditsa, to the nun, Zoe Dimiskis, and was the illegitimate son of the "amatolou" (def. armed Christians who were joined by the Ottoman authorities and assigned to maintain order in an area), Dimitris Karaiskou.

Giorgos Karaiskakis inherited the nickname "the nun's son" from his mother, while his surname comes from the diminutive of Karaiskos which was the surname of his father, who was normally called Dimitris Iskos but because he was dark-skinned, they had stuck the prefix Karas (black in Turkish) to him.

After being abandoned by his mother, he grew up with adoptive parents, but he left them at the age of 15, forming a group of "kleftes" (def. members of armed illegal mountain groups during the Turkish occupation) of the same age. At the age of 18, he fell into the hands of Ali Pasha who captured him - but at the same time, he learned to read and write. In the beginning, he served in the courtyard of Ali Pasha, where he married Egklopia Skylodimou, with whom he had 3 children: Penelope, Eleni, and Spyros. In 1804, he left Ali Pasha and joined the famous "klefti" Katsantonis.

During the Hellenic Revolution, Giorgios Karaiskakis bravely fought the Turks in many battles as a General, leading the Greeks to victories against their conquerors.

In April 1827, the Greek forces had lined up in Faliro for another battle against Turkish General Kioutachis. Although Karaiskakis was ill (suffering from tuberculosis), he took part in the clash, and then a bullet seriously wounded him in the abdomen. All the doctors' efforts were in vain and on the dawn of April 23rd, on his Nameday (St. George's), he left his last breath.

The Greek Nation mourned the death of Karaiskakis, this great hero of Greece. His body was transported to the church of Agios Dimitrios in Salamina Island, where he was buried. In 1835, the remains of Giorgos Karaiskakis were transferred from Salamina to Piraeus, where a final burial took place at the point where he was hit and a monument had already been erected in his honor.

The void left by his loss remained unforgettable, because Karaiskakis, although he was sick and was not very physically fit, had tremendous mental fortitude and a steely will. He was a leader who made quick decisions and executed them just as directly, determined to lose even his own life for the good of his homeland.