March 24, 2021 6:30PM - 7:30PM (Eastern Time)
Islands on Fire: Fighters, Pirates, Slaves in the Greek Revolution
Athanasios (Sakis) Gekas
Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair in Modern Greek History
Please register in advance for this event here
When we think of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, land battles often come to mind. Yet events in the Aegean and Ionian Seas determined the course of the Revolution. The sea engulfed refugees and the enslaved alike, while revolutionaries, pirates, merchants, and battleships were riding the waves and determined the course of the war. Moreover, the battles and many victories of the Greek navy sustained the war and turned the tide in favor of the Greek cause. At the same time, loyalties were shifting and the revolutionary war left some islands and many lives in a desolate state. In 1830 only some of the Aegean islands formed part of independent Greece. Τhis lecture shifts the gaze away from the “continental” point of view towards a maritime history of the revolution and focuses on piracy, slavery and the plight of refugees to shed light to previously little-known aspects of the great event.
Sakis Gekas (ΒΑ History, Ionian University; ΜΑ, Ph.D. History, University of Essex) is Associate Professor and holder of the York University Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair in Modern Greek History. He teaches history of Modern Greece, history of Greek migration in the 20th century, and Mediterranean and European history. In 2012, he co-founded the Greek Canadian History Project and between 2017-2019 helped “build” a virtual museum of Greek immigration to Canada (Immigrec). His recent book projects include, Xenocracy: State, Class, and Colonialism in the Ionian Islands, 1815-1864 (New York - Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2017), which will be published in Greek as «Ξενοκρατία.Οικονομία, Κοινωνία και Κράτος στα Επτάνησα 1815-1864» (E.A.Π. (Hellenic Open University Press, 2021). Another forthcoming book is «Τα λείψανα του αγώνος». Απόμαχοι, χήρες και ορφανά των αγωνιστών της Επανάστασης, 1821-1850 [“The Relics of the Struggle”: Veterans, Widows and Orphans of the Revolution, 1821-1850] (National Research Foundation, Athens 2021).
Visit the Leontis Memorial Lecture page for more information about the lecture series.