On 25 March, 2021 , Greeks are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821 against the Ottoman Empire, which is also known as Independence day.
Greece was under the rule of the Ottoman Turks for almost 400 years before they planned the insurrection . But when Greeks asked European Countries for their support, none of them agreed. They believed that a possible dissolution of the Ottoman empire would radically upset the situation in Europe.
Haiti was a country fighting against French colonial rule, that declared its independence from France in 1804. Inspired by the courageous uprising of the Haitian people, who were also fighting a much wealthier, well-equipped force, Adamantios Korais, a Greek academic and a significant political figure at the time, asked for Haiti’s support. He sent a letter to the President of Haiti Jean-Pierre Boyer asking for military and monetary help for their fight against Ottoman rules.
However, Haiti was economically ruined by the wars for independence against the French empire. But President Jean Pierre Boyer sent a very kind letter to Adamantios Korais, expressing his support and recognition of Greece’s right to independence and freedom. Historians claim that he also sent, on behalf of Haiti, 25 tons of coffee to be sold on behalf of the Greek revolutionaries for the procurement of supplies, guns and other ammunition, as well as 100 Haitian volunteer soldiers, all of whom unfortunatelly died during the trip to Greece.
"Historical Treatise on the Hellenic Revolution", Vol. IV, 1859-1861, pages 368-369, by Ioannis Filemon
The letter President Boyer sent to Adamantios Korais was written originally in French and translated in Greek. It can be found on "Historical Treatise on the Hellenic Revolution", Vol. IV, 1859-1861, pages 368-369, by Ioannis Filemon. Here is the letter:
LIBERTE (The Flag) EGALITE
JEAN PIERRE BOYER
President of Haiti
To the citizens of Greece A. Korais, K. Polychroniades
A. Bogorides and Ch. Klonaris
Before I received your letter from Paris, dated last August 20, the news about the revolution of your co-citizens against the despotism which lasted for about three centuries had already arrived here. With great enthusiasm we learned that Hellas was finally forced to take up arms in order to gain her freedom and the position that she once held among the nations of the world.
Such a beautiful and just case, most importantly, the first successes which have accompanied it, cannot leave Haitians indifferent, for we, like the Hellenes, were for a long time subjected to a dishonorable slavery and finally, with our own chains, broke the head of tyranny.
Wishing to Heavens to protect the descendants of Leonidas, we thought to assist these brave warriors, if not with military forces and ammunition, at least with money, which will be useful for acquisition of guns, which you need. But events that have occurred and imposed financial restrictions onto our country absorbed the entire budget, including the part that could be disposed by our administration. Moreover, at present, the revolution which triumphs on the eastern portion of our island is creating a new obstacle in carrying out our aim; in fact, this portion, which was incorporated into the Republic I preside over, is in extreme poverty and thus justifies immense expenditures of our budget. If the circumstances, as we wish, improve again, then we shall honorably assist you, the sons of Hellas, to the best of our abilities.
Citizens! Convey to your co-patriots the warm wishes that the people of Haiti send on the behalf of your liberation. The descendants of ancient Hellenes look forward, in the reawakening of their history, to trophies worthy of Salamis. May they prove to be like their ancestors and guided by the commands of Miltiades, and be able, in the fields of new Marathon, to achieve the triumph of the holy affair that they have undertaken on behalf of their rights, religion and motherland. May it be, at last, through their wise decisions, that they will be commemorated by history as the heirs of the endurance and virtues of their ancestors.
In the 15th of January 1822 and the 19th year of Independence
Haiti became the first country to recognize Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire and the Greek people’s right to freedom. This year, us, Greeks, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution. We must never forget the first country that supported our ancestors during the difficult times fighting against the Ottoman Empire to regain their freedom. We will always be grateful and honor Haiti for the support.
Sponsored by Demy Delfi and New Haiti
with the support of James Toussaint