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The fundraising of the “Koinon” of Hydra for the financial support of the revolutionary struggle, 1821–1827



The fundraising of the “Koinon” of Hydra for the financial support of the revolutionary struggle, 1821–1827


2 October 2021


The 1821 Greek Revolution was for its time an ideal of popular uprising and a source of inspiration for international liberalism because of its organisation and, above all, its success which was linked to the mass popular participation in it. Indeed, the struggle for Greek independence enjoyed unexpectedly wide support from the middle and lower classes inside and outside Greek society. The multi-page accounting book with the names and amounts of money that contributed to the Greek Revolution each from the “Koinon” of Hydra, from time to time, from 28 March 1821 to 10 April 1827 is the indisputable testimony of a mass and spontaneous participation of the members of a local Greek society in the financing of the Greek struggle for independence. The accounting book includes 624 different entries of names and corresponding amounts that reach a total of 314,996 thalers.

The contributions were recorded by Nikolaos Tzeppis, secretary of the administration of Hydra in 1828 with the prospect of being returned to the public of Hydra by the National Fund. If the events that led to the declaration of independence of Hydra and the official participation of the island in the revolution reveal political passions, disputes and rivalries of interests at a local level, the accounting book instead presents the image of an occasional social agreement, consensus and alliance in fulfilling a higher, albeit uncertain, goal. As it can be seen from the pages of the accounting book, between 1821 and 1827, prominent people and representatives of the richest families of the island, as well as professionals, small craftsmen and small traders, teachers and slaves, men and women, priests and monks, participated in the fundraising, contributing once or more times. The presentation investigates, first of all, the events that led to the organised financial participation of the public of Hydra in the revolutionary struggle. Then the persons and professional groups that were registered in it are examined and classified as well as the amounts they paid. Then, what follows is a comparison of this initiative with similar activities that took place in other parts of Greece. Finally, the economic participation of Hydra in the revolution is evaluated in relation to a number of parameters such as the social organisation of the island, politics and economy and finally the economic and ideological background of the local elites.

(Edited and translated abstract from conference organisers)

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