Greek History: December

Greek flag flying in Chicago's Daley Plaza

Each month, we commemorate important dates in modern Greek History. Find out what happened in December in Greek History.

December in Greek History

Let’s take a look back at what happened in December in modern Greek history.


Greek flag flying in Chicago's Daley Plaza


1915 –  Constantine I forces Venizelos to resign for a second time and dissolves the Liberal-dominated parliament. Venizelos leaves Athens.

December 1

1913 – Crete, having obtained self-rule from Turkey after the First Balkan War, is annexed by Greece. 

1964 – Charilaos Vasilakos, Greek runner, passed away. (b. 1877)

2005 – Gust Avrakotos, Greek-American CIA officer, passed away. (b. 1938) 

2014 – Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Greek epidemiologist, oncologist, & academic, passed away. (b. 1938)

December 2

1922 – Iakovos Kambanelis, Greek author, poet, & screenwriter, was born. (d. 2011)

1923 – Maria Callas, Greek-American soprano & actress, was born. (d. 1977)


December 3

1912 – Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia (the Balkan League) signed an armistice with the Ottoman Empire, temporarily halting the First Balkan War. (The armistice expired on February 3, 1913, and hostilities will resumed.)

1944 – “The December Events”: 28 people are killed by British troops and policemen in Athens.

1944 – Start of Greek Civil War. Fighting broke out in Athens between the ELAS and government forces supported by the British Army.

1992 – The Greek oil tanker Aegean Sea, carrying 80,000 tonnes of crude oil, ran aground in a storm while approaching A Coruña, Spain, and spilled much of its cargo. 

1988 – Panos Gavalas, Greek singer, passed away. (b. 1926)


December 4

1944 – George Papandreou attempted to resign.

2004 – Elena Souliotis, Greek soprano & actress, passed away. (b. 1943)


December 5

1920 – Dimitrios Rallis formed a government in Greece.

2007 – George Paraskevaides, Greek-Cypriot businessman & philanthropist, co-founded Joannou & Paraskevaides, passed away (b. 1916)


December 6

1878 – Theodoros Vryzakis, Greek painter & educator, passed away. (b. 1814)

1990 – Pavlos Sidiropoulos, Greek singer-songwriter & guitarist, passed away. (b. 1948)

2008 – Riots and protest began, following the shooting death of a teenager by police. The shooting occurred after an altercation between a police patrol and a small group of youths in the Exarcheia district of central Athens. Related demonstrations were reported around Greece and in other countries. The rioting lasted several weeks. Alexis Grigorpoulos, a 15 year-old, was killed.

December 7

1960 – Ioannis Demestichas, Greek admiral & politician, passed away. (b. 1882) 

1966 – Ferry SS Heraklion sunk in the Mirtoon Sea. 247 people lost their lives in the worst shipwreck of postwar Greece.


December 8

1911 – Nikos Gatsos, Greek poet & songwriter, was born. (d. 1992)

1966 – The Greek ship SS Heraklion sunk in a storm in the Aegean Sea, killing over 200.

1969 – Olympic Airways Flight 954 struck a mountain outside of Keratea, Greece, killing 90 people in the worst crash of a Douglas DC-6 in history.

1974 – A plebiscite resulted in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.


December 9

1867 – Gregorios Xenopoulos, #Greek journalist & author, was born. (d. 1951)

1883 – Alexander Papagos, Greek general & politician, 152nd Prime Minister of Greece, was born. (d. 1955)

1938 – Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Greek epidemiologist, oncologist,&  academic was born. (d. 2014)

1950 – Greece took part in the Korean War on the side of South Korea. By the end of the war in 1953, 194 Greek soldiers would be killed.


December 10

1882 – Ioannis Demestichas, #Greek admiral & politician, was born. (d. 1960)

1885 – Marios Varvoglis, Greek composer & conductor, was born. (d. 1967)

1957 – Napoleon Zervas, Greek general, passed away. (b. 1891)


December 11

1922 – Grigoris Bithikotsis, Greek singer-songwriter, was born. (d. 2005)


December 12

1882 – Ioannis Demestichas, Greek admiral & politician, was born. (d. 1960)

1944 – ELAS, The Greek People’s Liberation Army, a World War II Greek Resistance group, controled most of Athens and its environs.

2008 – Tassos Papadopoulos, Greek-Cypriot lawyer & politician, 5th President of Cyprus, passed away. (b. 1934)

2002 –  Assassination attempt against Greek politician Dora Bakoyiannis.


December 13

1884 – Aimilios Veakis, Greek actor, director, & playwright, was born. (d. 1951)

1902 – Panagiotis Kanellopoulos, Greek philosopher & politician, 138th Prime Minister of Greece, was born, (d. 1986)

1906 – Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, was born. (d. 1968)

1932 – Georgios Jakobides, Greek painter & sculptor, passed away. (b. 1853)

1943 – WWII: The Massacre of Kalavryta by German occupying forces in Greece.

1959 – Archbishop Makarios III became the first President of #Cyprus.

1974 – With a national referendum, monarchy was abolished and parliamentary republic established.

1883 – Manolis Kalomiris, Greek pianist & composer, was born. (d. 1962)


December 14

1901 – King Paul of Greece was born. (d. 1964). He reigned from 1947 until his death.

2014 – Irene Dalis, Greek-American soprano and pianist, passed away. (b. 1925)


December 15

1911 – Nicholas P. Dallis, Greek-American psychiatrist turned comic strip writer, creator of Rex Morgan, M.D., Judge Parker, & Apartment 3-G, was born. (d. 1991)


December 16

1912 – Greek victory over the Ottomans, called the Naval Battle of Elli, also known as the Naval Battle of the Dardanelles, in the Second Balkan War.

1923 – Venizelos’s Liberal Party won the elections. 

1974 – Kostas Varnalis, Greek poet & playwright, passed away. (b. 1884)


December 17

1900 – Katina Paxinou, Greek actress, was born.  (d. 1973) 

1947 – Christos Tsigiridis, Greek engineer, passed away. (b. 1877) 

1981 – Antiochos Evangelatos, Greek composer & conductor, passed away. (b. 1903) 

1997 – Yakovlev Yak-42 of the Aerosvit Airlines crashed into the Pierian mountains in Central Macedonia. The exact spot of the crash was discovered 3 days later, because of the bad weather conditions and the mountainous landscape. 70 people were killed.


December 18

1911 – Jules Dassin, American actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and husband of Melina Merkouri, was born. (d. 2008) 

1974 – President pro tempore Phaedon Giziki was replaced by  Michail Stasinopoulos, the first duly elected President of the Third Hellenic Republic.


December 19

1522 – Siege of Rhodes: Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who were allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled on Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.

1920 – A plebiscite ensured and affirmed the dominance of the anti-Venizelist camp in the country, however, King Constantine I returned, after achieving an obviously overwhelming majority, albeit questioned by the supporters of the Liberal Party, while Liberal leader Eleftherios Venizelos maintained his silence, being in voluntary exile abroad.


December 20

1898 – Konstantinos Dovas, Greek general & politician, 156th Prime Minister of Greece, was born (d. 1973) 

1927 – Charlie Callas, Greek-American actor & comedian, was born (d. 2011)

1981 – Dimitris Rontiris, Greek actor & director, passed away. (b. 1899)

1997 – Lockheed Hercules C-130 of the Hellenic Air Force crashed into Pastra Mountain near Tanagra, due to bad weather conditions, killing 5 people. The military aircraft was set to transfer soldiers from Tanagra to Pieria, in order to take part in the operations for the discovery of the Ukrainian plane which had crashed 3 days earlier.


December 21

1928 – Michalis Kounelis, Greek violinist, was born. (d. 1999)

2009 – Christos Lambrakis, Greek journalist & businessman, passed away. (b. 1934)


December 22

1918 – Aristeidis Moraitinis, Greek lieutenant & pilot, passed away. (b. 1891)

1921 – Dimitri Fampas, Greek classical guitarist & composer, was born. (d. 1996) 

1925 – Lefter Küçükandonyadis (Lefteris Antoniadis), Turkish football player of #Greek descent, who is recognized as one of the greatest footballers to play for Fenerbahçe & Turkey, was born. (d. 2012)

1940 – World War II: After defeating the Italians, Himara, Albania was captured by the #Greek army.

1963 – The cruise ship Lakonia burned 180 miles (290 km) north of Madeira, Portugal with the loss of 128 lives.


December 23

1940 – World War II: Greek submarine Papanikolis (Y-2) sunk the Italian motor ship Antonietta. 

2013 – Chryssa, Greek-American sculptor, passed away. (b. 1933) She was an American art pioneer in light art and luminist sculpture.


December 24

1500 – A joint Venetian–Spanish fleet captured the Castle of St. George on the island of Cephalonia.

1845 – George I of Greece was born. (d. 1913)

1940 – The Greek army controlled practically all of  Northern Epiros. 

1947 – Approximately 1,200 Communist militants were killed in a battle near Konitsa, Epiros.


December 25

1903 – Antiochos Evangelatos, Greek composer & conductor, was born. (d. 1981)

2003 – Nicholas Mavroules, Greek-American politician (b. 1929)

2016 – Greek-Cypriot Singer/songwriter George Michael passed away. (b. 1963).


December 26

1890 – Konstantinos Georgakopoulos, Greek lawyer & politician, Prime Minister of Greece, was born. (d. 1973) 

1918 – Georgios Rallis, Greek lieutenant & politician, 173rd Prime Minister of Greece, was born. (d. 2006)

1997 – Cornelius Castoriadis, Greek economist & philosopher, passed away. (b. 1922)


December 27

1809 – Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, Greek poet & politician, Foreign Minister of #Greece, was born. (d. 1892)

2012 – Nicholas Ambraseys, Greek-English seismologist and engineer, passed away. (b. 1929)


December 28

2012 – Nicholas Ambraseys, Greek-English seismologist & engineer, passed away. (b. 1929)


December 30

1944 – King George II of Greece declared a regency, leaving the throne vacant.


December 31

1790 – Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today, was published for the first time.

1901 – Nikos Ploumpidis, Greek educator & politician, was born. (d. 1954) 

1988 – Nicolas Calas, Greek-American poet & critic, passed away. (b. 1907)


Greek History – December: Did we miss anything?

Did we miss an important date in modern Greek History? If yes, drop us an email and well add it to the list.


SOURCES: Wikipedia and other online listings

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