A historical figure that played a significant role in the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire in 1821, was Vassos Mavrovouniotis.
He was born in Bjelopavlic in modern day Montenegro in 1795. Since his early youth he joined the Serbian rebel forces and regurarly commanded raids across the Balkans. In 1821 he directed a force of 120 men of mixed Serbian, Montenegrian and Greek nationality and joined the early stages of the Greek revolution. His first stop was in central Greece where he met with Nikos Kriezotis, an old time Greek fellow warrior with whom he was a “Vlami”, meaning spiritual brother. This term comes from the ages-old practice in the Balkans where people could become like brothers by performing a specific ritual. In 1822 he participated in the fight against the Turks in Athens where he showed bravery and was widely accepted as one of the best fighters of its period. In 1824 a Greek civil war erupted and Mavrovouniotis joined forces with the goverment mainly composed by Greeks he knew since the early stages of the revolution. For his commitment to the side that finally won the domestic conflict he was assigned the rank of the General and was given a force of 1,500men; a considerable army at that period.
In the period between 1826-27 he was one of the few guerilla fighters not to be defeated by the Egyptian forces led by Imbrahim Passa, that nearly destroyed the Greek forces. In the newly established Greek state in 1830’s he became a member of the elite that surrounded the first Greek King Otto from Bavaria.
He died in 1847 and was widely admired by the Greek people as one of the leaders of the Cause and as one of the leading figures of the independent state.
Mavrovouniotis married Helena Pangalou from a very well known Greek family in 1826, and she followed him throughout the harsh campaigns in the Greek mountains against the Turks. She died in 1891 and they had a son called Timotheos Vassos-Mavrovounitis. He also became a general and was decorated in numerous occassions for his duties and success as a serviceman in the second half of the 19th century.
Nowadays the Mavrovouniotis family no longer exists, the Greek history though has already positioned him as one of the leaders that managed to create the Greek nation state and liberated the country after a 400 year foreign oppressive rule.
The biography of Mavrovouniotis was written by A. Chrysologi in 1876, Athens.