Greek History: January

Greek flag flying in Chicago's Daley Plaza

What happened in January in Modern Greek history? Find out, as we commemorate important dates in our history.

January in Greek History

Each month, we commemorate important events in Modern Greek history. Let’s take a look back at what happened in January in Greek history.


Greek flag flying in Chicago's Daley Plaza Greek History


January 1897: Cretan Rebellion. Greece refused an Ottoman offer of an autonomous administration in Crete and mobilized for war.


January 1910: The Military League forced Parliament and King George I to summon a National Assembly to revise the Constitution of Greece.


January 1915: King Constantine I forced Venizelos to resign. The National Schism begins.


January 1992: After a “special court” trial, Andreas Papandreou was cleared of the charges that had arisen from the Bank of Crete scandal.


January 1

1822 – The Greek Constitution of 1822 is adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus.

1883 – Dimitrios Semsis, Greek violinist and composer, was born. (d. 1950)

1884 – Konstantinos Tsaldaris, Greek-Egyptian politician, Prime Minister of #Greece, was born.  (d. 1970)

1888 – Georgios Stanotas, Greek general, was born. (d. 1965)

1912 – Nikiforos Vrettakos, Greek poet and academic, was born. (d. 1991)

1981 – Greece became the 10th member of the European Community (now the European Union).

2002 – Greece adopted the euro as its new currency.



January 2

1403 – Basilios Bessarion, Greek cardinal & scholar, was born. (d. 1472)

1897 – Jim Londos, Greek-American wrestler, was born. (d. 1975)

1924 – Evgenios Spatharis, Greek puppeteer, actor, & director, was born. (d. 2009)

1950 – Theophrastos Sakellaridis, Greek composer & conductor, passed away. (b. 1883)

1990 – Evangelos Averoff, Greek historian & politician, Greek Minister for National Defence , passed away. (b. 1910)



January 3

1875 – Alexandros Diomidis, Greek banker & politician, 145th Prime Minister of Greece, was born. (d. 1950)

1946 – Michalis Kritikopoulos, Greek footballer, was born. (d. 2002)

1911 – Alexandros Papadiamantis, Greek author & poet, passed away. (b. 1851)

1956 – Dimitrios Vergos, Greek wrestler, weightlifter, & shot putter, passed away. (b. 1886)

1969 – Jean Focas, Greek-French astronomer, passed away. (b. 1909)

1969 – Tzavalas Karousos, Greek-French actor, passed away. (b. 1904)



January 4

1850 – Pacifico Incident. Blockade of the port of Piraeus by the British fleet. The blockade lasted two months and the affair ended only when the Greek government agreed to compensate Pacifico for “looking the other way and not taking action” as anti-Semitic mob “vandalized and plundered” Don Pacifico’s Athens home.

1901 – Nikolaos Gyzis, Greek painter & academic, passed away. (b. 1842)

1941 – George Pan Cosmatos, a Greek-Italian film director & screenwriter, was born. Among his best-known work is Rambo: First Blood Part II(d. 2005)

1948 – Kostas Davourlis, Greek footballer, was born. (d. 1992)

1955 – The Greek National Radical Union was formed by Konstantinos Karamanlis.

1976 – Epameinondas Thomopoulos, Greek painter & illustrator, passed away. (b. 1878)

2000 – Spyros Markezinis, Greek lawyer & politician, 170th Prime Minister of Greece, passed away. (b. 1909)


January 5

1867 – Dimitrios Gounaris, Greek lawyer & politician, 94th Prime Minister of Greece, was born. (d. 1922)

1913 – First Balkan War: During the Battle of Lemnos, Greek admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis forced the Turkish fleet to retreat to its base within the Dardanelles, from which it did not venture for the rest of the war.


January 6

1910 – Yiannis Papaioannou, Greek composer & educator, was born. (d. 1989)

1952 – Sofoklis Dousmanis, Greek admiral & politician (b. 1868)

2016 – Ioannis Petridis, Greek politician, passed away. (b. 1931)


January 7

1903 – Ioannis Despotopoulos, Greek architect & academic, was born. (d. 1992) He studied at Bauhaus, and was a distinguished professor of architecture.

1904 – Emmanuel Rhoides, Greek journalist & author, passed away. (b. 1836) He is considered one of the most illustrious and reviving spirits of the Greek letters of his time.

1927 – Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos, Greek politician, 99th Prime Minister of Greece, passed away (b. 1851)

1934 – Tassos Papadopoulos, Greek-Cypriot lawyer & politician, 5th President of Cyprus, was born. (d. 2008)

1944 – Napoleon Lapathiotis, Greek lawyer & poet, passed away. He began writing and publishing poetry at the age of 11. (b. 1888)

2016 – Anna Synodinou, Greek actress & politician, passed away. An actress in ancient Greek dramas, she may be best known for her award-winning role as Kalliopi in the TV show “Matomena Homata”. (b. 1927)


January 8

1909 – Nikolaos Platon, Greek archaeologist, was born. He put forward one of the two systems of relative chronology used by archaeologists for Minoan history.  (d. 1992)

1954 – Konstantinos Kypriotis, Greek martial artist, was born. He’s internationally known for his achievements in Tang Soo Do. (d. 1995)



January 9

1511 – Demetrios Chalkokondyles, Greek scholar & academic, passed away. He was the last of the Greek humanists who taught Greek literature at the great universities of the Italian Renaissance. (b. 1423)

1856 – Neophytos Vamvas, Greek cleric and educator. He translated the Bible into modern Greek.  (b. 1770)

1941 – Dimitrios Golemis, Greek runner (b. 1874), passed away.

January 9-12, 1921: First Battle of Inonu. The first battle in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), part of Turkish War of Independence. The battle was fought near Eskișehir in Anatolia.


January 10

1829 – Epameinondas Deligeorgis, Greek lawyer, journalist, & politician, Prime Minister of Greece, was born. (d. 1879)

1843 – Dimitrie Macedonski, Greek-Romanian captain & politician, passed away. (b. 1780)

1941 – World War II: The Greek army captured Kleisoura.

1950 – The eruption of the Thera volcano for the fourth time in the century, led to the evacuation of the island.


January 11

1853 – Georgios Jakobides, Greek painter & sculptor, was born. He founded and was the first curator of the National Gallery of Greece in Athens. (d. 1932).

1878 – Theodoros Pangalos, Greek general & politician, President of Greece, was born. (d. 1952)

1923 – Constantine I of Greece passed away. (b. 1868)


January 12

1873 – Spyridon Louis, Greek runner, was born. He won the first modern-day Olympic marathon at the 1896 Summer Olympics. (d. 1940)

1933 – Pavlos Matesis, Greek author & award-winning playwright, was born. As a translator, he translated the works of Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, Harold Pinter, Fernando Arrabal, Antonin Artaud, Beaumarchais and William Faulkner.  (d. 2013)

1911 – Andreas Papagiannakopoulos, Greek journalist, judge, & politician, passed away. (b. 1845)

1916 – Georgios Theotokis, Greek lawyer & politician, 80th Prime Minister of Greece, passed away. (b. 1844)


January 13

1822 – The design of the Greek flag is adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus.

1859 – Kostis Palamas, Greek poet & playwright, was born. He wrote the words to the Olympic Hymn, and has been called “National Poet of Greece” . (d. 1943)

1910 – Yannis Tsarouchis, Greek painter & illustrator, was born. He & his colleagues led the movement for the introduction of Greek tradition in painting. (d. 1989)

1921 Necati Cumalı, Greek-Turkish author & poet, was born. (d. 2001)

1974 – Seraphim was elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.

2017 – Magic Alex, Greek electronics engineer, passed away. (b. 1942)


January 14

1822 – Greek War of Independence: Acrocorinth is captured by Theodoros Kolokotronis and Demetrios Ypsilantis.

1823 – Athanasios Kanakaris, Greek politician passed away. (b. 1760)  He was a member of the Filiki Etairia.

1951 – Gregorios Xenopoulos, Greek author, journalist, & playwright, passed away. He was lead editor in the now-legendary magazine “The Education of Children” (Η Διάπλασις των Παίδων) (b. 1867)  

2007 – Vassilis Photopoulos, Greek painter, director, & set designer, passed away. He was the award-winning art director for ‘Zorba the Greek’. (b. 1934)


January 15

1822 – Greek War of Independence: Demetrios Ypsilantis was elected president of the legislative assembly.

1855 – Jacques Damala, Greek-French soldier & actor, was born. (d. 1889)

1906 – Aristotle Onassis, Greek businessman, was born. (d. 1975)


January 16

1895 – Evripidis Bakirtzis, Greek soldier& politician, was born. He co-founded the EKKA resistance group and later joined the Greek People’s Liberation Army. (d. 1947)

1924 – Eleftherios Venizelos became Prime Minister of Greece for the fourth time.

1962 – The Derveni papyrus, Europe’s oldest surviving manuscript dating to 340 BC, was found in northern Greece.

1968 – Panagiotis Poulitsas, Greek archaeologist & judge, passed away. As President of the Council of State, he took the premiership of an interim government from April 4 to 18 (b. 1881)

1996 – Andreas Papandreou, hospitalized with advanced heart disease and kidney failure since November 1995, retired from office.

2016 – Joannis Avramidis, award-winning Greek sculptor, passed away. He was professor at  Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. (b. 1922)


January 17

1939 – Christodoulos of Athens, Greek archbishop, was born. (d. 2008)

1943 – World War II: Greek submarine Papanikolis captures the 200-ton sailing vessel Agios Stefanos and mans her with part of her crew.

1981 – Loukas Panourgias, Greek footballer and lawyer, passed away. (b. 1899)

1984 – Kostas Giannidis, Greek pianist, composer, and conductor, passed away. He composed music for  operettas, musical comedies, films, and revues. (b. 1903)

2010 – Michalis Papakonstantinou, Greek journalist and politician, Foreign Minister of #Greece, passed away. (b. 1919)


January 18

1823 – Nafplio became the seat of the Revolutionary Government.

1849 – Panoutsos Notaras, #Greek politician, passed away. (b. 1752)

1913 – 1st Balkan War: A Greek flotilla defeated the Ottoman Navy in the Naval Battle of Lemnos, securing the islands of the Northern Aegean Sea for Greece.

1913 – Giannis Papaioannou, Greek composer, was born. He composed many famous songs, including “Kapetan Andreas Zeppo”. (d. 1972)

1915 – Vassilis Tsitsanis, Greek singer-songwriter & bouzouki player, was born. (d. 1984)

1993 – Dionysios Zakythinos, Greek historian, academic, & politician, passed away. He was a leading Greek Byzantinist. (b. 1905)

1997 – Paul Tsongas, GreekAmerican lawyer & politician, passed away. (b. 1941)

1998 – Dan Georgiadis, Greek footballer & manager, passed away. (b. 1922)

2009 – Danai Stratigopoulou, #Greek singer-songwriter, passed away. (b. 1913)


January 19

1847 – Athanasios Christopoulos, Greek poet, passed away. (b. 1772)

1941 – World War II: The Greek Triton (Y-5) sunk the Italian submarine Neghelli in Otranto.


January 20

1906 – Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate, was born. (d. 1975)

1947 – The deadliest shipwreck of the Modern Greek history occured whenthe Himara sunk in the South Evian Gulf, resulting in 391 deaths. It remains unknown if the cause was the bad weather, a mine, or sabotage.

1977 – Dimitrios Kiousopoulos, Greek jurist & politician, 151st Prime Minister of Greece, passed away. (b. 1892)

1988 – The legendary Dora Stratou, Greek dancer & choreographer, passed away. (b. 1903)

2012 – Ioannis Kefalogiannis, Greek politician, Greek Minister of the Interior, passed away. (b. 1933)

2013 – Pavlos Matesis, award-winning Greek author & playwright, passed away. He also translated works of Shakespeare, Faulkner, and more. (b. 1933)


January 21

1963 – Spiros Xenos, Greek-Swedish painter, passed away.  His paintings were inspired by Sweden’s landscape. (b. 1881)

1984 – Giannis Skarimpas, Greek playwright & poet, passed away. (b. 1893)

2011 – Theoni V. Aldredge, Greek-American costume designer, passed away. (b. 1922)


January 22

1914 – Dimitris Dragatakis, Greek violinist & composer, was born. (d. 2001)

1994 – Telly Savalas, Greek American actor, passed away. (b. 1924)

1996 – Costas Simitis was elected Prime Minister of Greece.


January 23

1780 – Georgios Karaiskakis, Greek general, klepht, armatolos, & a hero of the Greek War of Independence, was born. (d. 1827)

1973 – Alexander Onassis, Greek-American businessman, son of Aristotle Onassis, passed away in a plane crash. The Onassis Foundation was created in his memory. (b. 1948)


January 24

1828 – John Capodistria was elected Governor of Greece.

1947 – Greek banker Dimitrios Maximos became Prime Minister of Greece.


January 25

1884 – Périclès Pantazis, Greek-Belgian impressionist painter, passed away.  With a reference letter from Manet, he moved to Belgium where he gained fame. (b. 1849)

1925 – Giorgos Zampetas, Greek bouzouki player & songwriter, was born. He is known as one of the most popular bouzouki players ever. He composed many songs. His most famous is “Siko Horepse Sirtaki”. (d. 1992)

1985 – Ilias Iliou, Greek jurist & politician, passed away. (b. 1904)

2011 – Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos, Greek captain & businessman, passed away. His Costamare Shipping Company is now one of the largest containers owners/operators in the world. (b. 1935)

2015 – Demis Roussos, Greek-Egyptian singer, passed away. In 1973, his song, “Forever & Ever”, topped the charts in several countries around the world.  (b.1946)

2015 – Alexis Tsipras & his SYRIZA party won the national elections. This was the 1st time a 3rd party would rule in 40 years. It also marked the first time there isn’t a Papandreou in the government in some 90 years.


January 26

1887 – Dimitris Pikionis, Greek architect & academic, was born. He was influential in the field of architecture, and was a founding member of the Association of Greek Art Critics, AICA-Hellas, International Association of Art Critics. (d. 1968)

1907 – Dimitrios Holevas, Greek priest & philologist, was born. He was a notable member of the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), and set up the National Liberation Front (EAM). (d. 2001)

1977 – Filopimin Finos, Greek production manager & producer, founder of Finos Film, passed away/ (b. 1908)


January 27

2011 – Charlie Callas, Greek-American comedian & musician, passed away. (b. 1927)


January 28

1906 – Markos Vafiadis, Greek general & politician, was born. (d. 1992)

1937 – Anastasios Metaxas, Greek architect & target shooter, passed away. (b. 1862)

2014 – John Cacavas, Greek-American composer & conductor, passed away. (b. 1930)


January 29

1941 Ioannis Metaxas, Greek general & politician, 130th Prime Minister of Greece passed away in Athens. (b. 1871) Alexandros Koryzis became Prime Minister of Greece.


January 30

1925 – The Government of Turkey expelled Patriarch Constantine VI from Istanbul.

2013 – Patty Andrews, Greek-American singer & member of the The Andrews Sisters, passed away. (b. 1918)

January 31

1828 – Alexander Ypsilantis, a member of a prominent Phanariot Greek family; a prince of the Danubian Principalities; a senior officer of the Imperial Russian cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars; and a leader of the Filiki Eteria, passed away in Vienna. (He should not be confused with his namesake grandfather, a Prince of Wallachia and Moldavia at the end of the 18th century). (b. 1792)

1991 – Kostas Mountakis, Greek singer-songwriter, passed away. He popularized the music of Crete.  (b. 1926)

1996 – The Imia/Kardak crisis. Greece & Turkey were brought to the brink of war. A Greek military helicopter crashed in the area, killing the three pilots on board.


Greek History – January: 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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