The Hellenic Army, formed in 1828, is the land force of Greece. Along with the Hellenic Air Force and the Hellenic Navy, it makes up the Hellenic Armed Forces, it is the largest branch of the three. The army is headed by the chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, which in turn is under the command of Hellenic National Defence General Staff; the motto of the Hellenic Army is Ἐλεύθερον τὸ Εὔψυχον, "Freedom Stems from Valour", from Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War, a remembrance of the ancient warriors that defended Greek lands in old times. The Hellenic Army Emblem is the two-headed eagle with a Greek Cross escutcheon in the centre, representing the links between modern Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Byzantine Empire; the Hellenic Army is the main contributor to, "lead nation" of, the Balkan Battle Group, a combined-arms rapid-response force under the EU Battlegroup structure. The main missions of the Hellenic Army are the defence of the state’s independence and integrity, the safeguarding of national territory, the decisive contribution to the achievement of the country’s policy objectives.
During peacetime, the Army has the following main objectives: The maintenance of high operational readiness for the prevention and effective confrontation of dangers and threats, as well as the ensuring of rapid response capability. The contribution to international security and peace; the contribution to activities of social aid and the support of state services for the confrontation of emergency situations. The Hellenic Army traces its origin to the regular units established by the Greek provisional government during the Greek War of Independence; the first of these, an infantry regiment and a small artillery battery, were established in April 1822, were commanded by European Philhellenes. Lack of funds however forced its disbandment soon after, it was not until July 1824 that regular units were reformed, under the Greek Colonel Panagiotis Rodios. In May 1825, the first law on conscription was passed, the command of the entire regular forces entrusted to the French Colonel Charles Fabvier.
Under Fabvier, the regular corps expanded, for the first time came to include cavalry, military music detachments, with Lord Byron's aid, military hospitals. The governorship of Ioannis Kapodistrias saw a drastic reorganization of the national military: a Secretariat on Army and Naval Affairs and the Hellenic Army Academy were created, the Army engineering corps was founded, a concerted effort was made to reform the various irregular forces into regular light infantry battalions. Throughout these early years, French influence pervaded the Greek regular army, in tactics as well as appearance, as most of the instructors were French–at first Philhellenes, serving officers of General Maison's Expeditionary Corps. After Kapodistrias' assassination in 1831 and in the subsequent internal turmoil over the next two years, the regular army all but ceased to exist; the first king of the newly independent Greek kingdom, the Bavarian prince Otto relied on a 4,000-strong German contingent. The royal government re-established the regular army and dissolved the irregular forces that had fought the War of Independence.
Following the ousting of Otto in 1862, the Army continued relying on the Army Organization Statute of 1833. The first major reforms were undertaken in 1877, in response to the Balkan Crisis that led to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. Among other measures, for the first time the Hellenic Army was subdivided into divisions and brigades. Universal conscription was introduced in 1879, under the premiership of Charilaos Trikoupis, in 1882–1885 major steps were undertaken to improve the training and education of the officer corps: a French military mission was called to Greece, new schools were founded and Greek officers were sent abroad for studies, efforts were made to make officers on active service refrain from participating in politics and focus on their professional duties; the Army underwent its first mobilizations, in July 1880 – April 1882 due to the Greek annexation of Thessaly, again in September 1885 – May 1886, when Bulgaria annexed Eastern Rumelia. The great financial burden of these long periods of mobilization, exhausted the public treasury, stalled the reform process.
The result was that the Hellenic Army was wholly unprepared for war on the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War of 1897: plans and weapons were non-existent, the mass of the officer corps was unsuited to its tasks, training was inadequate. As a result, the numerically superior, better organized and led Ottoman forces pushed the Greek forces south out of Thessaly; the dismal performance of the Hellenic Army in the war of 1897 led to a major reform programme under the administration of Georgios Theotokis. A new Army Organization Statute was issued in 1904, purchases of new artillery material and of the Mannlicher–Schönauer rifle were made, a new, khaki field uniform was introduced in 1908. Reform was accelerated after the Goudi coup of 1909; the new government under Eleftherios Venizelos brought a French military mission to train the Hellenic Army. Under its supervision, the Greeks had adopted the triangular infantry division as their main formation, but more the overhaul of the mobilization system allowed the country to field and equip a far greater number of troops than it had in 1897: while foreign observers estimated a
A Prime Minister is the head of a cabinet and the leader of the ministers in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary or semi-presidential system. A prime minister is not a head of state or chief executive officer of their respective nation, rather they are a head of government, serving under a monarch in a hybrid of aristocratic and democratic government forms. In parliamentary systems fashioned after the Westminster system, the prime minister is the presiding and actual head of government and head of the executive branch. In such systems, the head of state or the head of state's official representative holds a ceremonial position, although with reserve powers. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime minister is chairman of the cabinet. In a minority of systems, notably in semi-presidential systems of government, a prime minister is the official, appointed to manage the civil service and execute the directives of the head of state.
The prime minister is but not always, a member of the Legislature or the Lower House thereof and is expected with other ministers to ensure the passage of bills through the legislature. In some monarchies the monarch may exercise executive powers that are constitutionally vested in the crown and may be exercised without the approval of parliament; as well as being head of government, a prime minister may have other roles or posts—the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, for example, is First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Prime ministers may take other ministerial posts. For example, during the Second World War, Winston Churchill was Minister of Defence and in the current cabinet of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu serves as Minister of Communications, Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation and Interior; the term prime minister in its French form, premier ministre, is attested in 17th Century sources referring to Cardinal Richelieu after he was named to head the royal council in 1624.
The title was however informal and used alongside the informal principal ministre d'État more as a job description. After 1661, Louis XIV and his descendants refused to allow one of their ministers to be more important than the others, so the term was not in use; the term prime minister in the sense that we know it originated in the 18th century in the United Kingdom when members of parliament disparagingly used the title in reference to Sir Robert Walpole. During the whole of the 18th Century, Britain was involved in a prolonged conflict with France, periodically bursting into all-out war, Britons took outspoken pride in their "Liberty" as contrasted to the "Tyranny" of French Absolute Monarchy. Over time, the title became honorific and remains so in the 21st century; the monarchs of England and the United Kingdom had ministers in whom they placed special trust and who were regarded as the head of the government. Examples were Thomas Cromwell under Henry VIII; these ministers held a variety of formal posts, but were known as "the minister", the "chief minister", the "first minister" and the "prime minister".
The power of these ministers depended on the personal favour of the monarch. Although managing the parliament was among the necessary skills of holding high office, they did not depend on a parliamentary majority for their power. Although there was a cabinet, it was appointed by the monarch, the monarch presided over its meetings; when the monarch grew tired of a first minister, he or she could be dismissed, or worse: Cromwell was executed and Clarendon driven into exile when they lost favour. Kings sometimes divided power between two or more ministers to prevent one minister from becoming too powerful. Late in Anne's reign, for example, the Tory ministers Harley and Viscount Bolingbroke shared power. In the mid 17th century, after the English Civil War, Parliament strengthened its position relative to the monarch gained more power through the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and passage of the Bill of Rights in 1689; the monarch could no longer establish any law or impose any tax without its permission and thus the House of Commons became a part of the government.
It is at this point. A tipping point in the evolution of the prime ministership came with the death of Anne in 1714 and the accession of George I to the throne. George spoke no English, spent much of his time at his home in Hanover, had neither knowledge of, nor interest in, the details of English government. In these circumstances it was inevitable that the king's first minister would become the de facto head of the government. From 1721 this was the Whig politician Robert Walpole. Walpole chaired cabinet meetings, appointed all the other ministers, dispensed the royal patronage and packed the House of Commons with his supporters. Under Walpole, the doctrine of cabinet solidarity developed. Walpole required that no minister other than himself have private dealings with the king, that when the cabinet had agreed on a policy, all ministers must defend it in public, or resign; as a prime minister, Lord Melbourne, said, "It matters not what we say, gentlemen, so long as we all say the same thing."
International Squadron (Cretan intervention, 1897–1898)
The International Squadron was a naval squadron formed in early 1897 by a number of Great Powers just before the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 to intervene in a native Greek rebellion on Crete against rule by the Ottoman Empire. Warships from Austria-Hungary, the German Empire, the Russian Empire, the United Kingdom made up the squadron, which operated in Cretan waters from February 1897 to December 1898; the senior admiral from each country present off Crete became a member of an "Admirals Council" – called the "Council of Admirals" and "International Council" – charged with managing the affairs of Crete, a role the admirals played until December 1898. The most senior admiral among those in Cretan waters served both as overall commander of the International Squadron and as the council's president. Italian Vice Admiral Felice Napoleone Canevaro served in these roles; when Canevaro left the International Squadron in mid-1898, French Rear Admiral Édouard Pottier succeeded him as overall commander of the squadron and president of the council.
During the squadron's operations, it bombarded Crete, landed sailors and marines on the island, blockaded both Crete and some ports in Greece, supported international occupation forces on the island. After Austria-Hungary and Germany withdrew from the squadron, the other four powers continued its operations. After the squadron brought fighting on Crete to an end, its admirals attempted to negotiate a peace settlement deciding that a new Cretan State should be established on the island under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire; the squadron completed its work in November and December 1898 by removing all Ottoman forces from the island and transporting Prince George of Greece and Denmark to Crete to serve as High Commissioner of the new Cretan State, bringing direct Ottoman rule of the island to an end. In 1896, the Great Powers induced the Ottoman Empire to agree to institute reforms in the administration of the island of Crete – which the Ottomans had controlled since 1669 – to protect the interests of the island's Christian population, with whom many people in Greece sympathized.
When the Ottomans failed to follow through on the reforms and massacred Christian inhabitants of Canea, Crete, on 23–24 January 1897, a revolt broke out on 25 January 1897 among the Cretan Christians with a goal of forcing the union of Crete with Greece. With the support of Greek Army troops deployed to the island and Greek Navy warships operating along its coast, the insurgents overran much of the countryside. Ottoman troops retained control of Crete's large towns and of isolated outposts scattered around the island. Anxious to force the Ottomans to adhere to the agreement to institute the reforms promised in 1896 and to avoid a general war breaking out between Greece and the Ottoman Empire, which they feared would lead to an inevitable Greek defeat and might spread to become a general war in Europe, six Great Powers – Austria-Hungary, the German Empire, the Kingdom of Italy, the Russian Empire, the United Kingdom – decided to intervene in the revolt so as to ensure that the reforms would take place.
They placed pressure on the Ottomans not to reinforce their garrisons on Crete. As early as May 1896, the British battleship HMS Hood and a French gunboat had arrived in Cretan waters to protect their countries′ interests and citizens in the face of unrest on Crete, when major rioting broke out in Candia on 6 February 1897, men from the British warship on station, the battleship HMS Barfleur, intervened to bring the situation under control and to protect British subjects by bringing them aboard Barfleur. With the rapid deterioration of the situation on the island in early 1897, ships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, French Navy, Italian Royal Navy, Imperial Russian Navy, British Royal Navy all arrived in Crete's waters in early February 1897 as a show of naval might intended to demonstrate the commitment of the Great Powers to an end of fighting on Crete and an arrangement that would protect Christians on the island without separating it from the Ottoman Empire; the first British warships to join Barfleur – led by the battleships HMS Revenge, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Robert Harris, HMS Rodney – arrived on 9 February 1897.
Anchoring in the harbor at Canea, the squadrons soon combined to form the International Squadron, the admirals commanding the various national contingents began working together to address matters on the island. While the six powers negotiated over what additional steps their naval forces off Crete should take, Greece took action to support the Cretan Christian insurgents; the Greek Navy ironclad Hydra arrived off Crete in early February 1897, nominally to protect Greek interests and citizens on Crete, on 12 February a Greek Navy squadron consisting of the steam sloop-of-war Sphacteria and four torpedo boats under the command of Prince George of Greece and Denmark arrived at Canea with orders to support the Cretan insurrection and harass Ottoman shipping. The admirals of the International Squadron informed Prince George that they would use force if necessary to prevent any aggressive Greek actions in and around Crete, Prince George's squadron departed Cretan waters on 13 February and steamed back to Greece.
On the day that Prince George's squadron departed, the admirals received a report that Greek warships had chased and fired on an Ottoman steamship off Crete, they informed the c
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
The German Empire known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, Otto von Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government; as these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families, they included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
Prussian dominance was established constitutionally. After 1850, the states of Germany had become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people. A rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States. From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory, yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones.
As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers the British Empire. Germany became a great power, boasting a developing rail network, the world's strongest army, a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated; this period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882, it retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.
In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate; the Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war. The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, Bulgaria had surrendered; the Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism; the German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris.
German nationalism shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism, to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states, he envisioned a Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–71; the German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main; the patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany in the four stat
Greco-Turkish War (1897)
The Greco-Turkish War of 1897 called the Thirty Days' War and known in Greece as the Black'97 or the Unfortunate War, was a war fought between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Its immediate cause was the question over the status of the Ottoman province of Crete, whose Greek majority long desired union with Greece. Despite the Ottoman victory on the field, an autonomous Cretan State under Ottoman suzerainty was established the following year, with Prince George of Greece and Denmark as its first High Commissioner; this was the first war effort in which the military and political personnel of Greece were put to test since the Greek War of Independence in 1821. For the Ottoman Empire, this was the first war effort in which the reorganized military personnel were put to test; the Ottoman army was under the guidance of a German military mission led by Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz, who had reorganized it after the defeat in the Russo-Turkish War. The conflict proved. Plans and weapons were non-existent, the mass of the officer corps was unsuited to its tasks, training was inadequate.
As a result, the numerically superior, better organized and led Ottoman forces pushed the Greek forces south out of Thessaly. In 1878 the Ottoman Empire, according to the provisions of the Congress of Berlin, signed the Pact of Halepa which entailed the implementation of the organic law of 1868, promised but never implemented by the Ottoman government, to give Crete a status of wide-ranging autonomy; the Ottoman commissioners, however ignored the convention, causing three successive rebellions in 1885, 1888 and 1889. In 1894 Sultan Abdul Hamid II re-appointed Alexander Karatheodori Pasha as governor of Crete, but Karatheodori's zeal for the implementation of the agreement was met with fury by the Muslim population of the island and led to renewed clashes between the Greek and Turkish communities there in 1896. To quell the unrest, Ottoman military reinforcements arrived while Greek volunteers landed on the island to support the Greek population. At the same time the fleets of the Great Powers patrolled the Cretan waters, leading to further escalation.
An agreement was reached with the Sultan and the tensions receded. In January 1897 inter-communal violence broke out as both sides tried to consolidate their grip on power; the Christian district of Chania was set on fire and many fled to the foreign fleet anchored outside the city. A struggle for independence and union with Greece was declared by Cretan revolutionaries. Greek Prime Minister Theodoros Deligiannis was subjected to fierce criticism by his adversary Dimitrios Rallis over his alleged inability to handle the issue. Continuous demonstrations in Athens accused King George I and the government of betrayal of the Cretan cause; the National Society, a nationalistic, militaristic organization that had infiltrated all levels of the army and bureaucracy, pushed for immediate confrontation with the Ottomans. On 6 February 1897 the first troopships, accompanied by the battleship Hydra, sailed for Crete. Before they arrived, a small Greek Navy squadron under the command of Prince George of Greece and Denmark appeared off Crete on 12 February with orders to support the Cretan insurgents and harass Ottoman shipping.
Six Great Powers had deployed warships to Cretan waters to form a naval "International Squadron" to intervene to maintain peace on Crete, they warned Prince George not to engage in hostilities. However, the troopships disembarked two battalions of the Greek Army under Colonel Timoleon Vassos at Platanias, west of Chania, on 14 February. Despite the guarantees given by the Great Powers on Ottoman sovereignty over the island, Vassos upon his arrival unilaterally proclaimed its union with Greece; the Powers reacted by demanding that Deligiannis withdraw Greek forces from the island in exchange for a statute of autonomy. The demand was rejected, on 19 February the first full-scale battle between Greeks and Turks occurred, when the Greek expeditionary force in Crete defeated a 4,000-strong Ottoman force at the Battle of Livadeia, Crete. Ordered to keep away from Crete's capital Canea, Vassos accomplished little thereafter on Crete, but Cretan insurgents attacked Ottoman forces during February and March 1897.
The warships of the International Squadron bombarded the insurgents to break up their attacks and put an international force of sailors and marines ashore to occupy Canea, by the end of March major fighting on Crete came to end, although the uprising continued. The Greek army was made of three divisions, with two of them taking positions in Thessaly and one in Arta, Epirus. Crown Prince Constantine was the only general in the army, he took command of the forces on 25 March. The Greek army in Thessaly consisted of 45,000 men, 500 cavalry, 96 guns, while that of Epirus comprised 16,000 men and 40 guns; the opposing Ottoman army consisted of one cavalry division. In the Thessaly front it consisted of 58,000 men, 1,300 cavalry, 186 g
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece; the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits, it was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation, the earliest known civilisation in Europe. The palace of Knossos lies in Crete; the island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible. It was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island; the current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te, ke-re-si-jo, "Cretan".
In Ancient Greek, the name Crete first appears in Homer's Odyssey. Its etymology is unknown. One proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luwian word, *kursatta. In Latin, it became Creta; the original Arabic name of Crete was Iqrīṭiš, but after the Emirate of Crete's establishment of its new capital at ربض الخندق Rabḍ al-Ḫandaq, both the city and the island became known as Χάνδαξ or Χάνδακας, which gave Latin and Venetian Candia, from which were derived French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, it is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km from east to west, is 60 km at its widest point, narrows to as little as 12 km. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2, with a coastline of 1,046 km, it lies 160 km south of the Greek mainland. Crete is mountainous, its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains: The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,454 m The Idi Range (Psiloritis 35.18°N 24.82°E / 35.18.
The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia. The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes in Crete: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit. Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was a freshwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi. Lakes that were created by dams exist in Crete. There are three: the lake of Aposelemis Dam, the lake of Potamos Dam, the lake of Mpramiana Dam. A large number of islands and rocks hug the coast of Crete. Many are visited by tourists, some are only visited by biologists; some are environmentally protected. A small sample of the islands includes: Gramvousa the pirate island opposite the Balo lagoon Elafonisi, which commemorates a shipwreck and an Ottoman massacre Chrysi island, which hosts the largest natural Lebanon cedar forest in Europe Paximadia island where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were born The Venetian fort and leper colony at Spinalonga opposite the beach and shallow waters of Elounda Dionysades islands which are in an environmentally protected region together the Palm Beach Forest of Vai in the municipality of Sitia, LasithiOff the south coast, the island of Gavdos is located 26 nautical miles south of Hora Sfakion and is the southernmost point of Europe.
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is Mediterranean; the atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is mild. Snowfall is rare in the low-lying areas. While some mountain tops are snow-capped for most of the year, near the coast snow only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. However, a exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius, with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s; the south coast, including the Mesara Pla