Spetses Laskarina Bouboulina

Laskarina Bouboulina, the local heroine of Spetses: Laskarina Bouboulina is a Greek hero, known for her tremendous contribution to the Greek War of Independence in the 19th century. She was born in May 1771 in a prison in Constantinople, where her father had been put for taking part in revolutionary actions against the Ottoman Empire. However, soon her father died in prison and her mother, Paraskevo, returned to the island of Hydra, their homeland. Four years later, her mother was married to Captain Dimitrios Lazarou-Orlof and the family moved to the neighboring island of Spetses.

Even as a child, Bouboulina was enamored by the sea and would often listen to stories of sailormen. She grew up among people talking of a forthcoming Greek revolution of the Greeks against the Ottomans, who were ruling the country for almost four centuries. Bouboulina got married twice, first to Dimitris Yiannouzas and then to Dimitris Bouboulis, from whom she derived the name Bouboulina. Unfortunately, both her husbands, who were captains, were killed during pirate raids.

Bouboulina was then left with an immense fortune from her two husbands and seven children to support. She turned out to be a great business woman soon managed to increase her fortune. She went on to become a partner in several vessels and also built three of her own. Her ships included the famous Agamemnon, which was a huge ship consisting of 18 cannons and the largest Greek ship used in Greek War of Independence.

Bouboulina soon became a member of a secret organization known as Filiki Eteria, which was spreading the idea of a Greek Revolution over the Ottomans. Bouboulina used her fortune to make arms and ships for her country. She also collected men to fight with her against the enemies.

On March 13th, 1821, Bouboulina raised the Greek flag onboard her largest ship, Agamemnon, and started a naval blockade against the Turks. She fought till the Fort of Nafplion fell and took also part in the blockade of Monemvasia, Peloponnese. In the war, she lost her eldest son, Yiannis Yiannouzas. At the siege of Tripoli, the Turkish capital in the Peloponnese, Bouboulina intervened and saved a large part of the female household of the Sultan.

After the Turks were defeated, Bouboulina remained in Nafplion till General Theodoros Kolokotronis was imprisoned. After this, Bouboulina gave up her house in Nafplion and returned to the island of Spetses.

In 1825, Laskarina Bouboulina was killed in a very unfair and unexpected manner, when a member of Koutsis family shot at her. They had come to question her about her son, Georgios Yiannouzas, who had eloped with their daughter. After her death, Bouboulina was the first woman to be awarded the rank of Admiral by the Russian Navy. Many streets have been named after her in Greece today, as mark of the true admiration that the people of Greece feel for her.

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