A Brief History
The Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire was not only of and for the people of Hellas. This struggle revived the spirit of Philhellenism throughout the world. James Monroe, the President of the United States along with his Administration, offered the Greeks material and psychological support, under the Monroe Doctrine. Emissaries traveled to Greece, individually and in groups, to support the Greeks in their mission.
One of the brightest and strongest supporters of the cause of freedom was George Jarvis. Born to a large and wealthy family, he was fortunate to meet Lord Byron in Denmark where Jarvis’ father was serving as Ambassador on the United States. He asked his father permission to go to Greece and contribute to the Greek Liberation efforts. Despite his parents’ objections, he did go to Greece – to the triangle shaped area between Argos, Nafplion and Tripolis, which was the center of the fight for liberation. The Greek patriots there were fortunate to have him as an ally, along with other American volunteers, including among others, Doctor Samuel Gridley Howe (founder of the Nafplion hospital) and Jonathan P. Miller.
In July 26, 1826, Theodore Kolokotronis, or “Geros tou Morea” as he was called, wrote the most glorious in the history of the Greek Battle for Independence against the Ottoman Empire at the battle of Dervenakia. Jarvis battled along with Kolokotronis and his supporters during the fight at Dervenakia. On August 1828, George Jarvis died at the age of 32, after a brief illness. He was buried in the church yard of St. John Prodromos in Argos, where 1st and 5th National Conventions of Greeks took place.
In February 2007, the Board of the American Philhellenes Society wrote a letter to Mr. Demetrios Soufias, Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, recommending that March 19th be recognized as a National Day of Celebration of American Philhellenic spirit. Mr. Soufias accepted our recommendation and expanded the scope of the Celebration of the Philhellenic spirit to include Philhellenism throughout the world.
The speaker of Parliament Mr. D. Sioufas recommended that April 19th be established as Philhelleneism Day. By a relevant letter he wrote to the competent Minister of Home Affairs, Public Order and Decentralization, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Mr. Sioufas conveyed the request for the official recognition of the specific day (anniversary of the death of Lord Byron), in order for Philhellenism to be celebrated officially in Greece and among Greeks of diaspora.
Excerpt taken from "Ellada Pantou - April-June 2008"
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