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On October 20, the Central Naval Museum named after Emperor Peter the Great will open the exhibition “The Battle of Navarino. 200 years since the start of the Greek War of Independence. “

In the language of documents and museum objects: models of ships, works of art, weapons, uniforms of clothing, the exhibition visualizes history. It will be interesting to people of different ages, not too spoiled in school and college by a detailed and lively presentation of naval history.

The Central Naval Museum named after Emperor Peter the Great thanks the Russian State Archives of the Navy and its director V.G.Smirnov for the materials provided for the exhibition.

Greece from the middle of the 15th century was part of the Ottoman Empire, experiencing severe economic and national oppression. The yoke of foreign authorities more than once caused uprisings of the Greeks. The national liberation struggle took on an especially acute character in the 20s of the 19th century. In March 1821, the Greeks revolted in Morea, Epirus and the islands. In 1821-1822, they won a number of victories over the Turks. The Turkish Sultan Mahmud II, seeking to suppress the uprising, in July 1824 concluded an agreement with his vassal, the ruler of Egypt, Muhammad-Ali, on joint actions against the national liberation movement of the Greek people. In the summer of 1824, the Egyptian fleet entered the Aegean Sea and occupied the island of Crete. In February 1825, Egyptian troops took Navarin and began a brutal reprisal against the rebels. By mid-1827, all of Greece north of the Isthmus of Corinth was captured by Turkish-Egyptian troops.

By this time, the Russian sailing fleet had already won a number of brilliant victories far from their shores – in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. What are the reasons prompted the leadership of Russia again, how in 1769 and 1805 to send a squadron to the Aegean Sea, to the Greek Archipelago and operate there with united forces with England and France?

The heroic struggle of the Greek people for their independence aroused support in France, England (the movement of philhellenism) and Russia. On March 23 (April 4), 1826, the Anglo-Russian protocol on joint mediation in ending the Greek-Turkish war was signed in St. Petersburg. France soon joined this protocol. This proposal was rejected by Turkey.

Fearing Russia’s independent action in defense of Greece and the strengthening of its influence in the Balkans, England and France decided to conclude a tripartite agreement with the Russian government to resolve the Greek-Turkish conflict. On June 25 (July 6), 1827, England, France and Russia signed a convention in London on the joint settlement of Greek-Turkish relations.

The secret article of the treaty, adopted at the insistence of Russia, provided for the armed intervention of the powers in the event of Turkey’s refusal to cease military operations against the Greeks. In view of the latter’s refusal to comply with the demands of the Allies to grant autonomy to Greece, the Allies decided to hold a joint naval demonstration to end the conflict.

Squadrons of intermediary powers were sent to the Mediterranean to prevent the delivery of Turkish-Egyptian troops and weapons to Greece and the Archipelago.

On October 1 (13), 1827, a Russian squadron under the command of Rear Admiral L.P. Heyden approached Navarin.

Learning that the Turks had actually rejected the Allied ultimatum, Heyden demanded an urgent convocation of the united squadron. Under pressure from the Russian command, the flagships who took part in the military council agreed to go to Navarino Bay. At the same time, LP Geiden literally snatched from them their agreement to “destroy the Turkish fleet if at least one shot is fired at the allied ships.”

At 11 o’clock on October 8 (20), 1827, the allied squadron began to enter the Navarino Bay.

By 14 o’clock the English and French squadrons entered the bay and anchored. At the same time, a Russian squadron, led by the flagship Azov, began to enter the bay. At that moment, first, gunfire began, opened by the Turks at an English boat with the envoy. Soon the Egyptian ship began shelling the French flagship with artillery. The allies did not open fire and sent a second envoy, who was also killed. After that, the ships of the allies returned artillery fire. The battle began. In the most difficult conditions of the artillery shelling that had begun, both from ships and from the Turkish coastal batteries, the Russian squadron carried out the necessary maneuvers and took up the position intended for it.

The Navarino battle lasted about four hours and ended with the destruction of the Turkish-Egyptian fleet. His losses amounted to more than 60 ships and vessels and up to 7 thousand people. The decisive role was played by the Russian squadron of L.P. Heyden (4 battleships and 4 frigates), which defeated the entire center and right flank of the enemy fleet. At the same time, the flagship “Azov” under the command of Captain 1st Rank MP Lazarev distinguished itself.

The defeat of the Turkish-Egyptian fleet contributed to the victory of Russia in the future Russian-Turkish war of 1828-1829 and the national liberation struggle of the Greek people.

We hope that the exhibition will allow visitors to better understand the specifics of the battle and understand the development of events during this historical period in the Mediterranean.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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