Georgios Karaiskakis (23/01/~1780 - 23/04/1827)

Georgios Karaiskakis Georgios Karaiskakis was a Greek revolutionist who eventually became a general during the Greek Revolution of 1821.

He was born either in a cave near a town in Karditsa, or in a monastery in Arta. He had a rough childhood, because he was forced to live alone without the support of his parents. He loved fighting, being blasphemous and swearing. At a very young age, he became a klepht. Later, he was arrested by Ali Pasha in Ioannina for illegal actions; nevertheless, it was there that he received some basic education and later served Ali Pasha and followed him in his campaign against Pasvanoglou, a friend of Rigas Feraios. His stay in Ali Pasha’s court is considered the darkest period in Karaiskakis’ life, until the day he defected and went near Katsantonis.

After the War for Revolution was declared, Karaiskakis participated in the burning of a fort in the area of the Agrafa Mountains; thus, he became Captain of the area, something that he longed for since he was a young boy. From this position, he initially avoided insulting the Turks, posing as an ally of the Sultan; hence, the area was safe from Turkish raids. In 1822, he had a dispute with another contender of the captaincy. When the Turks invaded Sterea Ellada in November 1822, Karaiskakis informed the other Greek captains that he had bought some time by negotiating with the Turks. After the first siege of Mesologgi ended (31 December 1822), part of the Turkish army of Omer Vryonis and Kioutachis had to march from Agrinio through Agrafa Mountains; Karaiskakis opposed them and forced them to retreat back to Agrinio, after a fierce battle. He then had to abandon Agrafa, and went to Ithaca, where he consulted experienced doctors for his health problem - as he suffered from tuberculosis since he was a child.

Although the doctors proposed that he stay on the island because his health was deteriorating fast, he was homesick and went to Mesologgi where he asked to be in charge of the now Greek province of Agrafa. Mavrokordatos was the only person against this, as he wanted to promote his own candidate. After a long dispute, Mavrokordatos accused Karaiskaki of wanting to deliver Mesologgi and the surrounding area to Omer Vryonis and asked for a committee to check this "treasonous case". In 1824, the verdict was that Karaiskakis was a traitor, was stripped of his ranks, and was sent to exile. He went to Nafplio, where the Greek government recognised all of his ranks. As a result, Agrafa was split to two regions, and were governed by both Karaiskakis and Mavrokordatos' protege.

After a long series of victories against the Turkish army, Karaiskakis had started being much less cautious during his battles. In 1827, during a battle, he received a fatal wound in his stomach and was buried later in Salamina. There is quite a bit of controversy concerning the exact way of his death, some sources claiming he was murdered by Mavrokordatos, but the vast majority of the scholars believe he was shot by the Turks.

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