Prince, Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1792 – 1828)
Alexander Hypsilantis, brother of Demetrios Hypsilantis descended from a royal Phanariot family that ruled Wallachia during the Ottoman yoke. He served as a senior officer in the Imperial Russian Army in the Napoleonic wars, was prince of the Danubian Principalities and was one of the leading members of the Society of Friends (Philiki Hetaereia), a secret organization founded by Ioannis Kapodistrias and the Tsakalov brothers in an attempt to liberate Greece from the Turkish yoke.
Alexander’s decision to abandon his life as a prince, a life that many would envy, to devote all his life and fortunes to the sacred war of Greek Independence and freedom made him a holy figure in modern Greek history.
His first actions in the Greek War of Independence are traced back to when he first joined the Society of Friends at the age of 25, when he was appointed de-facto leader of the organization. He quit from the Russian Imperial Army in which he had served and excelled as a sergeant and in February 1821 he crossed the river Pruth in Wallachia and raised the banner of Greek revolt against the Ottoman Empire. He was accompanied by an army of 500 young volunteers that comprised the “Hieros Lochos” (Sacred Band). The battle took place in Dragatsani and resulted in the defeat of the Greek army. The plan, originally conceived by Ioannis Kapodistrias was to start the war in Wallachia in order to lure the Russians into the war against the Ottomans and have them as allies of the Greeks. Unfortunately the plan had failed. More than 200 warriors fell heroically in the name of freedom. The battle was only the beginning of the Greek War of Independence.
After the unsuccessful attack, Alexander fled to Austria where he was arrested and imprisoned. One year after he was released, having lost his arm, impoverished and forgotten, he died in the streets of Vienna happily and peacefully after having learned a few days earlier that Ioannis Kapodistrias had become Governor of Greece and that his nation was once again free after nearly 400 years of slavery.
- Boutatos, Christos. “Ἀλέξανδρος Ὑψηλάντης Ἕνας ἐθνικὸς ἥρωας ἀπὸ μιὰ οἰκογένεια ἐθνικῶν ἡρώων”. February 18, 2014. Web. April 7, 2016.
- “Hpsilantis, Alexandros”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens. 1946. Print.