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The Hellenic Naval Academy in Poros: The Hellenic naval academy situated in Poros 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 the monarchy between 1833-1924 and 1936-1973. The motto of the Hellenic Navy is, Great is the state that rules the Sea.
The geographical nature and the proximity of the sea from anyplace in Greece made the Greeks adept at maritime warfare and at exploiting the 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 1827. 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 exercise was the Trojan War around which are centered on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey fables. It is a well known and documented fact that the Greeks from archaic years have been excellent sailors, explorers, and shipbuilders. They navigated the Aegean Sea which opened up new vistas for them. They explored the Mediterranean Sea and set up colonies right up to the black sea. Their supremacy over the sea made them prosperous. Naval activities increased and fine arts developed. The need to protect their interests was felt and the first organized units of the Hellenic navy came into existence.
In course of time the Greeks neglected their navy and their ineptitude 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 being the naval battle of Navarino which once again established the Greek supremacy over these waters. The Foundation for a Modern Greek navy began when Capodistrias became governor of liberated Greece. Admiral Constantinos Canaris was put in charge of naval affairs and the head of the naval command structure was Andreas Miaoulis. They had under them only a few veteran vessels that had participated in the war.
The naval base was located at 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 also was initiated. The military school of Euelpides 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 with those of traditionally experienced sea-warriors who had participated in the war of independence proved to be a hindrance.
The varying national issues were also an impediment to the modernization of the navy. The poorly organized navy got restricted to monitoring the national transports and general policing of the sea and sea piracy. Now Greece has a navy it can be proud of working within the framework of EU and NATO. The Greek Navy is not only bent on protecting the Hellenic frontiers and borders but is also actively involved in all the peacekeeping actions under the aegis of the UN.