200 YEARS SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF FILIKI ETAIREIA (SOCIETY OF FRIENDS)
The Philiki Etaireia (“Society of Friends”) was the most important of the secret organisations that sought to liberate the Greeks from Ottoman rule. It was founded in Odessa in 1814 by three members of the Greek Diaspora (Nikolaos Skoufas, Emmanuel Xanthos and Athanasios Tsakalof), inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and Neohellenic Enlightenment. The Society operated under the strictest code of secrecy and allegiance. Gradually expanding, it recruited throughout the Greek world and across all social classes. Members included such personalities as Kolokotronis, Papaflessas and Petrobeis Mavromichalis, who all played a major role in the struggle against the Ottomans. In April 1820, leadership of the Society was assumed by Alexandros Ypsilantis, an officer in the Russian Army, who started the Greek War of Independence in the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1821. Soon afterwards, the Society dispatched his brother, Dimitrios, to Greece proper to become commander-in-chief. The Philiki Etaireia played a decisive role in the preparation, launching and strategic planning of the Greek War of Independence.
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