October 20

This Day in History

General Interest

Oct 20, 1827:

Battle of Navarino

During the Greek War for Independence, a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada is destroyed by an allied British, French, and Russian naval force at the Battle of Navarino.

In 1821, the first nationalist uprisings by the Greeks against their Turkish rulers touched off a wave of sympathy in Britain and France, whose cultural traditions enshrined respect for ancient Hellenic values. The Russians also sympathized with the Greeks as fellow members of the Orthodox Church struggling against a mutual foe—the Ottoman Empire. After Turkey enlisted the aid of Egypt in the conflict, Britain, France, and Russia sent allied squadrons to the Bay of Navarin, on the southwest coast of the Peloponnese in the eastern Mediterranean.

The European allies had hoped to resolve the conflict by a simple show of force, but upon arrival their squadrons were immediately fired on by the opposing Egyptian and Turkish naval force. British Admiral Sir Edward Codrington's squadron led the European counterattack, and within hours the Europeans' superior artillery completely annihilated the Turkish and Egyptian fleets. The Turkish defeat was so complete that in 1828, they began to evacuate Greece, and in 1832 Greece won its independence after nearly 400 years of Turkish rule.

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