The Battle of Navarino (20th of October 1827).

/The Battle of Navarino (20th of October 1827).
The Battle of Navarino (20th of October 1827).2018-07-12T13:10:35+00:00
the area where the battle of navarino took place

The Battle of Navarino –

(Η Ναυμαχία του Ναυαρίνου.)

On the 20th of October 1827 the final act of the Greek war of independence took place in one of the largest natural harbours of the world, Pylos, which by the time was called Navarino. A naval engagement brought the allied fleet of Britain, France and Russia into conflict with the Turkish – Egyptian fleet.

History determines that the battle of Navarino became the last major naval battle that was exclusively fought with sailing ships, although most ships fought at anchor.

In 1825 the Ottoman Sultan Ibrahim Pasha conquered the fortress of Navarino and made it his base.

In the Treaty of London (6th of July 1827) the three European powers Britain, France and Russia agreed to create a semi-independent Greek state under the supervision of the Sultan. The revolutionary government accepted the treaty despite the disappointment of the majority of the Greek people, but to Greece’s good fortune, Sultan Ibrahim Pasha rejected it categorically.

As a result Sultan Pasha called for aid in October 1827 and a large Turkish – Egyptian fleet of 89 vessels entered the Bay of Navarino to reinforce land forces of the sultan.

‘The Three Great Powers’ agreed to force the Ottoman government to grant the Greek autonomy within the empire and despatched naval squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to enforce their policy.

The European fleet was led by British Admiral Edward Codrington with flagship ‘Asia’ and 12 other war ships. Dutch Admiral Lodewijk van Heiden in service for the Russians with flagship ‘Azov’ and 8 war vessels and French Admiral Henri de Rigny with flagship ‘Siren’ and 7 warships. All three European powers entered the Bay of Navarino relying on a secret article in the treaty stating that it is appropriate to use whatever measures the circumstances dictate; to bring peace in the region and to reduce the forces of Sultan Ibrahim Pasha in order to accept the Treaty of London ultimately.

Codrington’s combined fleet consisted of 12 ships of the line, eight frigates and six other vessels, while the forces of Ibrahim Pasha numbered seven ships of the line, 15 frigates, 26 corvettes and 17 other vessels, including transports. Although outnumbered, the allied force enjoyed superior fire power to its opponents.

The battle was described as an ‘untoward event’ as the three European powers didn’t intend to make such a bloody confrontation. The allied fleet used light boats during the negotiations with the Turk-Egyptians in order to prevent a massacre in the Bay. Codrington gave orders that no gun should be fired unless guns were first fired by the Turks; and those orders were strictly observed. Three English ships were accordingly permitted to pass the batteries and to moor, as they did without any act of open hostility, although there was evident preparation for it in all the Turkish ships.

But upon the vessel HMS Dartmouth sending a small boat to one of the fire vessels, Lieutenant G. Fitzroy and several of his crew were shot with musketry. This produced a defensive fire back from the Dartmouth, and the vessel Lasyrene, that was again succeeded by cannon-shots from one of the Egyptian ships, which of course, brought on a return, and thus very shortly afterwards the battle became general.

Peter Mikelis, the interpreter of the British officer used one of these small boats of the HMS Dartmouth. He came under Turkish musket attack and was shot dead accidentally. This was also a main reason the battle started.

The battle lasted for four hours, resulting in the sinking of SIXTY Turkish – Egyptian ships. To compare: the allied fleet didn’t loose a single ship.

many sailing ships went done during the battle of Navarino
old print of the bay area during the battle of navarino
a lot of blood shed during the battle of navarino
so many ships in one place - no wonder why it became the battle of Navarino

Even today in the Bay we can distinguish the masts of sunken Turkish-Egyptian ships. The Turks and Egyptians lost 6000 sailors in the battle and in contrast the allied fleet lost ‘only’ 272 British, 198 Russians and 185 French sailors.

The three admirals are still known as the ‘Tris Navárchi’. Some Greek cities have a ‘Platía Tríon Navárchon’ (square of the three Admirals) . The statue in Pylos is crafted in 1933 by sculptor Thomas Thomopoulos.

On the island of Helonaki (the island with the arch) is a monument for the British sailors. On Sphaktiria you can visit not only a grave but also a wooden church to commemorate the Russian sailors. And on the little island ‘Tsichli-Baba’ in the middle of the Bay is a symbol for the French deceased sailors to be found. You can visit all these monuments if you rent a boat out of Pylos harbour.The inhabitants of Pylos celebrate ‘Navarinia’ every year on the 20th of October. It’s an official bank holiday, where students make a parade with participation of British, French and Russian contingent to commemorate the victorious battle which triggered the creation of an independent Greek state.

many monuments can be found in the bay area
every year there is a parade in Pylos
also the Greek Marine is every year present with the celebrations
Traditional costums are worn during the parade in Pylos

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informatative flyer about the history of the bayI found this flyer in my ‘living room Ionis Café’, at the heart of Giàlova boulevard where I typed this text;

the text on the flyers is written by Zoe Giannoutsou, licensed tourist guide who does guiding in the area.

So if you like official guide, give her a call; 0030 – 6976807538

I used the text of the flyer and did some research on the web and came to this result.