Greek War of Independence 1821 in Art 

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The Battle of Lalas would prove to be one of the first major skirmishes of the Greek War of Independence between the Greek rebels and the combined Ottoman and Muslim-Albanian forces. The outcome of the battle lay the foundation to the liberation struggle in the Peloponnese against Ottoman rule.[citation needed]

Pre-Battle Situation

When the Greek Revolution commenced on 21 February 1821 to end the Ottoman rule over Greece, a member of the Filiki Eteria named Andreas Metaxas alongside his brother Anastasios and his cousin Konstantinos Metaxas, took it upon themselves to assemble a military contingent of 350 volunteers from Kefalonia and two cannons. Aiming to join the revolutions cause, they managed to board a ship which was equipped with 18 cannons, 50 sailors and 50 gunmen, and sailed to Glarentza which they reached in early May 1821. From there they marched to Manolada where their force was joined by more volunteers including military captains Vilaetis, Sisinis and Plapoutas. The now small army's aim was to reach Lalas, which was a foothold of Muslim-Albanian fighters, and capture the village.[citation needed]

Meanwhile in Lalas itself the Muslim-Albanians, whome had already settled in the village for several generations while having raided nearby farms and burnt Greek and Ottoman owned houses and livestock for many years, had already been surrounded by a small force of Greek soldiers under the command of Georgios Plapoutas on 13 May. The reason for the military presence of the Greeks, came from the fear of the realistic chance that the Muslim-Albanians would join the Ottomans side and form a threat to Greek rebels and civilians. The Greek occupied mainly a mountainous terrain surrounding the village, but their position was very weak and easy to overcome if a battle would brake out. Before the vulnerable Greek lines collapsed, Andreas Metaxas force which now numbered 500 men arrived at the village alongside his four cannons on 30 May. Metaxas force had also recruited a number of Zakynthian volunteers under the command of Dionysios Sembrikos while underway to Lalas.[1]

With their numbers replenished and even more volunteers arriving later that same day from Elis and Kalavryta, the Greek force conjured a plan to properly surround Lalas and capture it from the Muslim-Albanian fighters. Meanwhile the better organized Ionians trained the other volunteers in Western military tactics, while the Greek leaders tried to come to an agreement on which day the attack should take place. The Ionians proposed a direct strike on the town so the Muslim-Albanians couldn't prepare a proper defense, but the Peloponnesians suggested to instead wait for the right opportunity to attack. The absence of a solid plan had turned the makeshift siege into a stalemate which created unrest among the troops with even the Ionians threatening to leave the siege altogether. In order to calm things down, the Ionian leaders send Lala's residents a letter signed by Dionysios Sembrikos, which proposed the option of a peaceful withdrawal from the village. The letter also stated that the only alternative would be an assault on the village in which case any survivors would be handed over to the Peloponnesians. The response sent to the Greeks consisted of a few cherries and two Basbousas for love. The Muslim-Albanians of Lalas did this to save time and downright refused to respond to any of the proposals given by the Greeks, claiming that their leaders were missing. After two days, the Muslim-Albanians send a reply proposing that the Ionians would leave and that the village, as a sign of friendship, would offer them the means to depart.[citation needed]
The Battle

The response from Lala's inhabitants, ended the possibility of a peaceful solution and the Greek leaders decided to attack the village from three points. The Gortynians led by Georgios Plapoutas and Deligiannis alongside the Olympians under the command of Tzanetos Christopoulos, would attack a Muslim-Albanian defense point on the village's right side. The Ionians together with the volunteers from Elis under the command of Andreas and Konstantinos Metaxas would attack Lalas itself. The last force consisting of the remainder of the Elis volunteers led by Georgos Sisinis alongside the Kalavryta forces under Panagiotakis Fotilas would proceed towards the villages of Douka and Loukissa. The attack commenced on 9 June 1821, but only the first attack force advanced due to poor coordination. The Muslim-Albanian fighters immediately spotted the lonesome attacking force and decided to counter attack from their defense position. The defenders defeated the Greeks and Georgios Plapoutas was killed. The remaining forces retreated counting 14 casualties, but inflicting greater losses on the defenders. With the loss of their leader, the Gortynians decided to leave the battle until Georgios' brother Dimitris took his place and managed to boost their morale again.[citation needed]

After the first failed attack, various other skirmishes occurred between both sides over several days without clear result. Meanwhile the defenders began to discuss the possibility of fleeing the village before the Greeks would finally proof victorious and keep their promise in handing them over to the Peloponnesians. Ultimately they decided to ask Yousef Serezlis for help, the Ottoman general who was stationed in Patras agreed and made his way to Lalas with 1200 Ottoman troops and 300 Ottoman cavalry. His force arrived at Lalas on 11 June and attacked the Greek lines while the defenders did the same from their side. This gave Serezlis the opportunity to enter the village and add his forces to the already present defenders. This escalation prompted the Peloponnesian to suggest to retreat all Greek forces to a safer distance from the newly arrived and larger Ottoman force. The Ionians however were opposed to the idea and convinced all volunteers to hold their positions while they would ask for assistance from the Peloponnesian senate in Stemnitsa.[citation needed]
General Dimitris Plapoutas who lost his brother during the battle

The battle grew to a stalemate again which consumed much valuable time, which indirectly proved to be an advantage for the Greek forces. The Ottoman forces present at Lalas, were only a small part of the main Ottoman force still based at Patras. With each passing hour Yousef Serezlis grew more and more anxious at the possibility that his main force would be attacked and wiped out at Patras while he remained in Lalas. Not risking to lose his main force while he just sat waiting for a Greek attack, Serezlis took the initiative and lead an assault into Greek lines with the intent to dismantle the Greek camp and seize their cannons before retreating to Patras with the Muslim-Albanians on 13 June. The Ottoman attack was met with fierce resistance from the Olympians which ultimately resulted in hand-to-hand combat with the loss of 30 Olympians and an unknown amount of attackers. The Ionians also fiercely resisted the assault, repulsing everyone Muslim-Albanian attempt at seizing the Greek cannons, which resulted in many inflicted casualties among the Muslim-Albanian fighters. The Zakynthian volunteers also managed to hold their ground during the attack, at the cost of many wounded men including their leader Dionysios Sembrikos. Andreas Metaxas was also injured in the battle, receiving gunshot wounds to both of his hands which later earned him the nickname Conte Lalas.[2]

The attackers didn't manage to dismantle the Greek camp nor capture any Greek cannons, and with mounting casualties, the attacking forces retreated. With the loss of this battle, the remaining Ottoman and Muslim-Albanian forces decided to flee to Patras on 14 June 1821. The village itself was burned to the ground although it is unknown whether the fire was started by the fleeing Muslim-Albanians or the conquering Greeks.[3]

The Greek victory over the able Muslim-Albanian fighters was seen as a great achievement and boosted Greek morale among the already existing fighting forces. The Muslim-Albanians ultimately left Greece and sailed for Anatolia, which made sure that Lalas and the surrounding areas were less vulnerable to any Ottoman attacks during the rest of the war. The Ionians and Zakynthian volunteers were however not as celebrated, as because of their participation in the battle, they were prosecuted by the British Administration of the Ionian Islands upon their return home. Many of them were arrested, imprisoned and had their property confiscated.[citation needed]

Other persons of interest who participated in the Battle included: Gennaios Kolokotronis, Panos Kolokotronis and Frantzis Amvrosios.[4]

Συλλογικό έργο (1975). Ιστορία του ελληνικού έθνους. Greece: Εκδοτική Αθηνών.
Dionysios Kokkinos, 1974, vo. 1, p. 415.
"The Revolution Of 1821". Retrieved 14 October 2020.

"Biographies of revolutionary warriors". 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2020.


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Ottoman Greece

Armatoloi Proestoi Klephts Dionysius the Philosopher Daskalogiannis Panagiotis Benakis Konstantinos Kolokotronis Lambros Katsonis Cosmas of Aetolia Ali Pasha Maniots Phanariots Souliotes Gregory V of Constantinople


Orlov Revolt Souliote War (1803)

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Ellinoglosso Xenodocheio Filiki Eteria
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Alexander Ypsilantis Sacred Band Nikolaos Ypsilantis Alexandros Kantakouzinos Georgios Kantakouzinos Athanasios Agrafiotis Giorgakis Olympios Yiannis Pharmakis Dimitrie Macedonski Tudor Vladimirescu Konstantinos Xenokratis Anastasios Manakis Stamatios Kleanthis

Ottoman Empire, Algeria, and Egypt

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Britain, France and Russia

George Canning Stratford Canning Edward Codrington Henri de Rigny Lodewijk van Heiden Alexander I of Russia Nicholas I of Russia

Financial aid

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Jean Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent Léon-Jean-Joseph Dubois Pierre Peytier Stamatis Voulgaris Guillaume-Abel Blouet Gabriel Bibron Prosper Baccuet Eugène Emmanuel Amaury Duval Pierre-Narcisse Guérin Charles Lenormant Edgar Quinet


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