Historic PersonagesAbout Hydra / History
Hydra celebrates its association with a number of renowned historic personages.
Andreas Vokos Miaoulis (1769–1835): A revered Hydriot here born on May 20, probably on Hydra though perhaps he brought his family to the island in later years, Miaoulis commanded the Greek naval forces during the 1821 War of Independence from the Turks. At age 16 he took command of his father’s ship and during the Napoleonic Wars broke the English blockage many times. Later a trader in corn and merchant captain, he amassed great wealth through marine commerce. Appointed admiral of Greece’s insurgent fleet in 1822 during the War of Independence, he managed to block Turkish supply ships at Napflion in that year; in 1823 and 1824, he lead his forces in spectacular defeats of the Turks at Artemisio and Geronta. The former battle is commemorated during Miaoulia, a three-day festival every year on Hydra during the third week of June. After the war he continued as head of the Greek fleet until he ceded command to former Royal Navy officer Thomas Cochrane in 1827 (at this point the conflict with the Turks rested mainly in the hands of the Great Powers). In later life, he became embroiled in Greek national civil conflicts and opposition to the Russian Party. Miaoulis died on June 11, 1835. A statue of Miaoulis stands above the cannons on the far east of Hydra’s port.
Lazaros Kondouriotis (1769–1852): Born on Hydra in April 1769, Kondouriotis was also a major figure in the 1821 Greek War of Independence. His family originated from the town of Kranidi on the Peloponnese. He became involved in his father’s commercial affairs at the age of fourteen, while his father was living in Genoa. After his father’s assassination in 1799, he took control of the family’s finances, greatly improving their value through investment. He eventually contributed at least three quarters of the family property to financing the revolution. In 1803, he married Stamatina Evangelidis and had 13 children. He later became provisional governor of Hydra, then was named senator by the king in 1844. He maintained that post until his death in 1852, an event commemorated by five days of national mourning. Visitors to Hydra can wander through the rooms of the Lazarus Kondouriotis mansion overlooking Hydra Harbor.
Jacob Tombazis (1782–1829): A merchant and ship owner born on Hydra to a maritime family, Tombazis became first admiral of the Greek navy; at the the start of the War of Independence from the Turks, his fellow islanders appointed him admiral of Hydriot fleet. A savvy businessman, he contributed financially to the struggle and outfitted four of his own merchant ships for battle. After participating in several skirmishes with Turkish forces, he recognized that armed merchant vessels were inadequate for combat and proposed the use of “fireships,” which evolved into a very effective weapon in the insurgents’ fight. Tombazis met fellow Hydriot Andreas Miaoulis in 1822 and nominated him for promotion to admiral of the fleet. After retiring from the admiralty, he continued to support the revolution financially and with his ships. He died on Hydra in 1829. Greek destroyer D-215 was named for the him in 1976.
Pavlos Kondouriotis (1855–1935): Grandson of Lazarus, Pavlos was born on Hydra on April 9. In 1875, he enlisted in the Royal Greek Navy as an ensign. He served in the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 commanding the ship Alfeios. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1912 and during the Balkan Wars led the Greek navy to major victories against the Turkish fleet in December 1912 and January 1913, liberating most of the Aegean islands. He became a national hero and was promoted to vice admiral for “exceptional war service,” a rank traditionally reserved for members of the Greek royal family. In 1916, he embarked on a political career, ultimately retiring from the navy with the honorary rank of full Admiral. After the death of King Alexander I in 1920, he served as regent until elections later that year restored deposed King Constantine. In March 1924, he was elected the first president of the Second Hellenic Republic, but resigned the post in March 1926 in opposition the current government. Reelected president in May 1929, he again resigned that same year due to poor health. After his death in 1935, a World War II Greek destroyer and a standard-class frigate were named in his honor. See the Giorgos and Pavlos Kondouriotis mansion.