1864-1909: The cretan period of Venizelos

1864-1909: The cretan period of Venizelos

1864: Birth of Eleftherios Venizelos in the village of Mournies, Hania, on August 11.


1866: Venizelos’s family took to the Island of Kythira, perse­cuted in the wake of the Cretan Revolution of 1866 and, shortly after, to the Island of Syros, where young Venizelos was enrolled in the local primary school.


1872-1880: Studies in Hania, at the Lyceum of Antoniadis in Athens and at the Ermoupolis Secondary School. Return to Hania.


1881: Enrolment in the Law School of the Athens University despite the objections of his father who had destined him for a merchant.


1883: Death of his father Kyriakos; continuation of his studies and parallel occupation in the family business.


1884: Venizelos began his revolutionary career: He drafted a declaration requesting the application of the provisions of the Pact of Chalepa in an assembly of Christians at Boutsounaria near Hania in favor the Christians.


1887: Graduation from the Law School. Settlement in Hania and beginning of a lawyers career.


1888: Publication of the newspaper The White Mountains by Venizelos together with C. Foumis, Ch. Pologeorkakis and J. Moatsos.


1889: Elected as a Member of the Cretan Parliament and established as a prominent political figure. Disso­lution of Parliament (November 25) by an Ottoman decree in the aftermath of the revolution that had broken out earlier that year. Venizelos, C. Foumis, Ch. Pologeorgakis and S. Psaroudakis fled to Athens with the aid of A. Biliotti, the British Consul. After the end of the revolution, the Turks re­pealed many of the liberal concessions provided for in the Pact of Halepa.


1890-’91: Amnesty granted by the Turks. Return of Venizelos to Hania. His marriage with Maria Katelouzou.


1894: Birth of his second son Sofoklis and death of his wife Maria. Inconsolable, Venizelos went into mourning according to the Cretan customs, dressed in black and grew a beard, henceforth a characteristic feature of his appearance.


1896: Revolution under the leadership of Manousos Koundouros, demanding the autonomy of Crete. Clashes be­tween Turks and revolutionaries; Siege of Vamos (Hania). Massacres in Chania. Participation of Venizelos in the Cretan Revolution­ary Assembly (Kampoi, Hania, August, 18).


1897: Outbreak of a new revolution. Massacres in Heraklion and in Rethymon. Setting the town of Hania on fire and massacres (January 23). Venizelos’s participation in the Administrative Committee of the Akrotiri Revolutionary Camp. The Administrative Committee of the Akrotiri Revolutionary Camp declared union with Greece with the encouragement of the Greek Government and communicated the declaration to the Consuls of the Great Powers (January 25). The revolution spread throughout Crete. Disembarkation of Greek troops at Kolybari, Hania. Clashes between Greeks and Turks at Akrotiri. The fleet of the Great Powers bombarded Akrotiri (February 9). The Administrative Committee of the Akrotiri Revolutionary Camp protested to the Admirals of the European fleet against the bombardment in a memo­randum written by Eleftherios Venizelos. The Great Powers announced that autonomy was granted to Crete (March 15). Outbreak of the Greek-Turkish war and defeat of Greece. A Revolutionary Assembly of Cretans convened at Armeni, a village in the province of Apokoronas, Hania. Meeting of the Revolutionary Assembly in Archanes, Heraklion. Venizelos elected as its president. Clash­es between “autonomists” and “unionists” and an assassination attempt against Venizelos (August 5).


1898: Meeting of the Revolutionary Assembly of Cretans in the village of Plakoures, Akrotiri, Hania (July). Election of a five-member Executive Committee under the presidency of J. Sfakianakis, Venizelos being one of its members. Massacres of native Christians and of English soldiers by the Turks in Heraklion (August 25). Harsh retalia­tions by the British. Evacuation of the Turkish army from Crete as a result of Great Powers’ ultimatum (November 3). Prince George, son of George I, King of Greece, appointed High Commissioner in Crete (November 18). Arrival of Prince George at Souda Bay (De­cember 9). Beginning of the period of the autonomous Cretan State.


1899: Venizelos appointed Chancellor (Minister) of Justice in the Prince’s government (April 17).


1900: Venizelos carried out significant legislative work. The first signs of friction between Venizelos and Prince George ap­peared.


1901: Confrontation between the Prince and Venizelos on ac­count of the Prince’s handling of the Cretan affair and of his totalitarian rule. Venizelos dismissed (March 18).


1903: Venizelos, sentenced to a seven-day term in prison for offence, served his sentence in the prison of Idjedin Castle, following a lawsuit filed against him by Eumenius, the Arch­bishop of Crete, who had taken sides with the High Com­missioner.


1905: Venizelos led the revolution of Therisso (March 10). Prince George and the Great Powers reacted. The High Commissioner employed Russian troops against the revolu­tionaries.


1906: George fled Crete. Alexander Zaimis, Greece’s former Prime Minister, appointed as the new High Commissioner.


1908: Revolution in Crete. Venizelos, Minister of Justice and of Foreign Affairs, persuaded the Great Powers to recognise the new revolutionary government.


1909: Departure of the international forces of occupation from Crete (July 13). Military coup in Athens (in the barracks of Goudi). Venizelos invited to Athens by the Military League.


* Unless otherwise stated dates prior to 1923 are in the Julian calendar.

Event for the anniversary of the Union of Crete with Greece. Hania, December 1st, 2017
1910-1920: Venizelos in the greek and the international political scene