Poros Hellenic Naval Academy

Since its establishment, the Hellenic Naval Academy has been the backbone of the naval force of the Greek Armed Forces. The first naval shipyard was also located there. The naval force was known as the Royal Hellenic Navy during the rule of monarchy between 1833-1924 and 1936-1973. The motto of the Hellenic Navy is, Great is the state that rules the Sea.

The geographical features and the proximity of the sea from anywhere in Greece made the Greeks adept at maritime warfare and exploiting marine resources. The origin of the Modern Greek navy is attributed to the private merchant ships, which fought in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, in 1821. The merchant fleet from the islands of Hydra, Spetses, Psara, and Poros participated in the war. Those who led these fleets were Constantine Kanaris of Psara, Andreas Miaoulis of Hydra and the efficient woman captain, Laskarina Bouboulina. Their legendary victories against the Turks have made them heroes in the eyes of the Greek nation. Due to their resistance, Greece did not have to fear attacks from the sea and the Revolution succeeded.

Greece has always had a rich maritime past. The first Pan-Hellenic naval expedition was the Trojan War, around which are centered Homer's epics, Iliad and Odyssey. It is a well-known and documented fact that the Greeks have been excellent sailors, explorers, and shipbuilders since the archaic years. They navigated the Aegean Sea, which opened up new vistas for them. They explored the Mediterranean and set up colonies as fas north as the Black Sea. Their supremacy over the sea made them prosperous. Naval activities increased and the fine arts were developed. The need to protect their interests was considerable and the first organized units of the Hellenic navy came into existence.

Over time, the Greeks neglected their navy and the decline of their military power led to their subjugation to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Many private merchant ships fought together during the 1821 rebellion against the Turks. The Greeks lost many battles on land but never on the sea. The most famous was the naval battle of Navarino (1827), which once again established Greek supremacy over these waters.

The foundation of a Modern Greek navy began when Ioannis Kapodistrias became governor of liberated Greece. Admiral Konstantinos Kanaris was put in charge of naval affairs and the head of the naval command structure was Andreas Miaoulis. They had only a few veteran vessels that had participated in the war at their disposal.

The naval base was located in Poros. The old vessels needed to be retired and new ships had to be made. Despite the limited resources, ship-building began and an effort to educate officers was also initiated. The Hellenic Military Academy, known as Evelpidon, trained young people and transferred them to the navy. There was no real Naval School at first.

Later, the first Naval School was founded in 1846 and Leonidas Palaskas was appointed as the director. Though the naval school began in earnest with all good intentions, it did not take off as expected. The conflict of interests between the advocates of the modern naval art of warfare and the seasoned sea warriors who had participated in the War of Independence and used outdated methods proved to be a hindrance. The various national issues were also an impediment to the modernization of the navy. The poorly organized navy was restricted to monitoring the national transports and generally policing the sea against sea piracy.

At the time, the Academy was housed on board the Corvette Loudovikos, and for the next 50 years, it operated unofficially on board various other combat ships, stabilizing its position and improving its work. In 1884, with the support of a French naval mission, it was reorganized and new facilities were built for its operations. In 1905, it was transferred to Piraeus port, where it has remained ever since, having evolved into one of the most prestigious institutions in the country, as it combines naval and military training with athletics and academic studies. Many of its graduates have distinguished themselves in the fields of science, technology and politics. Now Greece has a navy it can be proud of, working within the framework of the EU and NATO. The Greek Navy is not only bent on protecting the Greek frontiers and borders but is also actively involved in all the peacekeeping actions under the aegis of the UN.