Laskarina Bouboulina (11/05/1771 - 22/05/1825)
Her real name was Laskarina Boubouli and originated from Hydra. However, she was born in a prison cell of Istanbul, where her mother had gone to visit her husband, who was arrested by the Turks and was dying. After he died, Laskarina and her mother returned to Hydra; her mother later married Captain Demetrios Lazarou and they all moved to Spetses, the hometown of her new husband. When she was 17, Laskarina married Demetrios Yannouzas, while she remarried to Demetrios Bouboulis when she was 30; they were both captains from Spetses and were both killed in naval battles against pirates.
In 1811, after the death of her second husband, Bouboulina was 40 years old and had inherited a large fortune from her husbands, including ships, land and money. She managed to increase that fortune with careful commercial activities. In 1816, the Ottoman Empire decided to confiscate her fortune, claiming that the ships of her second husband participated in the Russian – Turkish War on the Russian side. Thus, Bouboulina went to Istanbul and met the Russian philhellene ambassador, asking to protect her. To save her from arrest, he sent her to Crimea, near the Black Sea; before leaving, Bouboulina met with the mother of the Sultan, who was inspired by Bouboulina’s character, and convinced her son to sign a firman, in order to leave Bouboulina’s fortune untouched. Bouboulina then left for Crimea, and returned to Spetses three months later, after the danger had passed.
While in Istanbul, Bouboulina became a member of the Filiki Etaireia, a secret organization preparing for the Greek revolution; on her return trip to Spetses, Bouboulina secretly bought guns and ammunition, which she hid in her house. She also managed to build a war ship; when she was accused, she escaped by bribing the Turkish official and managed to send those that accused her to exile.
When the Greek Revolution started, she had her own squad, which she paid for and maintained on her own expense. After the Greeks occupied Nafplio in November 1822, the newly formed Greek state offered Bouboulina a plot of land and she moved there (during the first two years of the revolution, she had spent all of her fortune to supply the troops). In 1824, during the second Greek Civil War, Kolokotronis – a hero of the Revolution – was arrested by the Greek government; Bouboulina asked for his release and was considered dangerous. She was arrested and exiled to Spetses, losing the plot of land she was given.
In 1825, the Turkish – Egyptian fleet hopelessly tried to quench the revolution for the last time. Despite the attitude of the politicians, Bouboulina was ready to take arms again but was never given the chance. Her younger son had fallen in love with the daughter of a prominent family from Spetses, who did not approve Bouboulina as she had spent all of her fortune. During a quarrel, the girl’s father shot Bouboulina in the head, killing her. This was the end of one of the greatest heroines of the Greek Revolution.