Causes of the Greek War of Independence

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They wanted freedom. The French were able to do it, and Greece too. This essay argues that the main reason for the struggle of the Greeks for their independence from the Ottoman Empire was the nationalism that spread through Europe and inspired the Greeks. The Ottomans oppressed the Greeks, so the Greeks wanted to keep their privileges and heritage and balance power so that they were no longer worse.

Nationalism began to spread across Europe after the French Revolution of 1789, when the French, under the leadership of Napoleon, succeeded in conquering European peoples far beyond the capabilities of the ancient regime. The American Revolution (1775–1783), the French Revolution (1789–1799), the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), the United Irish Rebellion (1798), the Serbian Revolution (1804–1835), the Latin American Wars of Independence (1808–1833) all happened earlier, which inspired the Greeks to claim their independence as well. The Greeks were influenced by this idea and wanted to have their own independent government.

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The Ottomans began to oppress the Greek people after the fall of Constantinople and considered themselves the new heirs of the old Byzantine Empire. The Greeks were a minority in the Ottoman Empire, but they held many good positions in many fields, and some of them are rich due to their high education. This made the Turks jealous and forced the Greeks into submission with harsh punishments including death when the Greeks revolted. The Ottomans were trying to gain complete control over everyone, everything and everywhere, and the Greeks were unhappy with the way they were being treated. They wanted freedom.

The next reason is in Christianity. The Greeks once had a privilege from the Byzantine Empire due to their heritage from Ancient Greece, in which the Romans later learned a lot from them. Orthodox Christianity became the legacy of the Greeks, and when the Byzantine Empire was conquered by the Turks, the Greeks were reduced to second-class citizens and were sometimes forced to convert to Islam, so they can have a better life which could be exempted from paying non-Muslim tax. The got reduced to nothing and the Ottomans were taking away so much from them and they didn’t want to live that way. They had their privilege and legacy but that was ruined by the Turks. The Greeks couldn’t let that continue.

And last, the Greeks wanted a balance of power. Russia became centralized and expanded its empire into Eastern Europe after many successful wars that threatened the powers of Austria and Great Britain. The Russians considered themselves the successors of the Byzantines because of their Orthodox heritage and wanted to liberate Constantinople from the Turks. This would allow Russia to expand its fleet in the Mediterranean, which was dominated by the British. Greece became a battleground for European diplomacy as Russia, Britain and France negotiated aid for the Greeks but remained outside Russian influence. Greece wanted more power, as did all the countries around it.

Every year, the Greek people who settled throughout the world celebrate Greek Independence Day on March 25th. What’s interesting is that this day doesn’t signify the end of their struggle for Independence, but rather the beginning of it. Greece had been occupied by the Ottoman Empire for around four hundred years. On March 25th 1821 the Greek people had officially had enough. What followed was a long, bloody struggle that eventually saved the Greek people from Turkish control. Liberation was only the beginning. What happened after that was a long period of economic hardship and political uncertainty. However, at least they were free from the hardships that being under Turkish control.

So, on the whole, the evidence shows that the Greeks wanted their independence back for their religion and legacy, power that was no longer inferior and they made their move because of the inspiration of nationalism spreading through Europe. Now Greece is an independent state and will no longer need to fight for that independence. The French did, so did Greece.

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Causes of the Greek War of Independence. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from
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