What percentage of the ancient Greeks were educated?


In 1453 the capital of the Byzantine Empire Constantinople fell to the Ottomans. Greece came under a centuries-long Ottoman rule. The Greek liberation struggle began in the Peloponnese in 1821. [1] During the liberation struggle, there was an internal Greek conflict between the large landowners (who wanted to hold onto their privileges) and those who sought reforms. It escalated to civil war-like clashes, which almost led to the failure of the liberation struggle. It was only when a united British-Russian-French fleet defeated the Ottoman-Egyptian fleet in the naval battle of Navarino (1827) that the struggle for liberation could be ended successfully. The Greek state was founded in 1830. The area covered about a third of what is now Greece (southern Greece and some islands in the Aegean Sea). The population was just under a million. After the years of war the situation was catastrophic: the infrastructure was destroyed, the big landowners had appropriated most of the nationalized Ottoman land holdings, the peasants lived in poverty, the financial dependence on foreign countries was very high and the political parties were hopelessly divided.

Although the Greeks wanted to establish a republic, Great Britain, France and Russia imposed a monarchy on the country. Otto von Wittelsbach, the second son of the Bavarian King Ludwig I, an enthusiastic Philhellene, became king. In 1833 the 17-year-old Otto came to Greece and ruled it absolutistically. Ten years after his arrival in Athens there was a first revolt against him. He was forced to accept a constitution. The situation became increasingly difficult over the next few years: on the one hand, internal conflicts increased, on the other hand, the king fell out of favor in Great Britain when he acted against British interests during the Crimean War and supported Russia - in the hope of making territorial gains for Greece. He was forced to abdicate in 1862 and returned to Bavaria.

The new king, the 17-year-old Georg I, came from the German-Danish house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg and was a preferred candidate for Great Britain. He became the second king of Greece in 1863. On this occasion Great Britain "gave" Greece the Ionian Islands (Corfu and the islands south of it). The Gl├╝cksburg dynasty ruled with a few interruptions until 1974. George I was the guarantor of British interests in Greece. He cared little about the constitution. Minority cabinets made up the government. A series of political and economic scandals of the court led to mass protests, which is why Greece became a constitutional monarchy in 1875; the government was now the larger party and the king had to respect the constitution. From the many small political groups, two large parties were formed: one represented the feudal-conservative camp, the other the bourgeois-liberal.

Greece's foreign policy was shaped by the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century Megali Idea, the dream of rebuilding parts of the Byzantine Empire. But Greece was too weak to realize this dream on its own and needed the support of the British protecting power. In 1881 Greece received the region of Thessaly (central Greece), and part of the southern Epirus, through the Convention of Constantinople (a treaty between the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire) which was previously Ottoman.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Greece increasingly sought connection to Europe. Under the liberal Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis, the country made its first attempts to develop a modest industry. Investments were made primarily in the mining of Lavrion near Cape Sounion. The Corinth Canal was built, which considerably shortened the sea route to Italy. The railway connection between Athens and Piraeus was put into operation. Above all, Trikoupis tried to reform the administration and push ahead with the expansion of the infrastructure. But he did not succeed in enforcing land reform against the powerful landowners. To implement his reforms, he had to take out loans. In order to serve this, he again had to take out new loans, which in 1893 led to national bankruptcy and a subsequent change of power. The now ruling conservatives waged an unsuccessful war against the Ottoman Empire in 1897, the consequences of which were catastrophic for Greece: reparations payments to the Ottoman Empire were added to the existing national debts. The great powers set up a commission to control the finances of the Greek state. The economic misery triggered a wave of emigration: 200,000 Greeks (out of a total population of 2.5 million inhabitants) emigrated to the USA.

In the second half of the 19th century, there were repeated uprisings against Ottoman rule in Crete. These battles resulted in Crete becoming autonomous in the late 1890s. In addition, there were revolts by the Greeks in the Ottoman-controlled Macedonia, which, however, did not lead to autonomy due to the rivalry there with the Bulgarians. Again and again, bitter partisan fights broke out between Greek and Bulgarian militants.