Hero of the Greek War of Independence (1775 – 1826)
The fact that Greece was made into an independent state, free from the Turkish yoke is owed to a handful of rayahs who rose against the Turkish conqueror with freedom inscribed in their hearts. Such a rayah was Nikolaos Stournaris, a Hero of the Greek War of Independence from Akarnania of Steraia Hellada. He descended from the wealthy Stournaris family.
He was initiated in the Philiki Hetaireia (Society of Friends) and was head of a military force. In July, 1821 he declared the war of Independence in Porta, Preveda and Kalabaka and soon got control of the regions. Stournaris, who led a small army of Greeks, lost the battle of Porta. This resulted in his men abandoning him and forcing him to comply with the enemy to protect the regions from destruction. In the following years he continued fighting in Peloponnesus against Ibrahim’s troops and fought in the Battle of Vurgareli in Epirus against Omer Vrioni. Moreover, he took an active role in several battles in Thessaly together with George Karaiskakis and Philhellenes volunteers. He was distinguished in the battles of Peta and Analaton.
In 1823 he settled to Messolonghi where he undertook the leadership of the city’s military forces. During the 3nd siege of Messolonghi in 1826, Stournaras, together with Demetrios Makris, Notis Botsaris, Kitsos Tzavelas, Razikotzikas and Alexander Mavrokordatos led the last remaining Greeks in the sortie of Messolonghi. 13.000 Greeks were sacrificed during the exodus, among them hundreds of women and children, Philhellenes and Nikolaos Stournaris in the name of freedom. On that day, everyone died besieged, but free in their souls.
- “Stournaris, Nikolaos”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens, 1946. Print.