Thursday, February 29th 2024
Paul Kountouriotis

Highslide JSPaul Kountouriotis was born in Hydra in April 1855 and descended from the noble naval family Kountourioti. He was the son of Theodore Kountourioti, son of former Prime Minister of Greece George Kountourioti.

Following the naval tradition of the family, he joined the Royal Navy in 1886 and participated as a lieutenant in naval operations in Preveza, as well as those in Crete during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 with the rank of lieutenant commander. As captain of "Alpheus" landed the expedition of Colonel Timoleon Vassos at Kolimbari Chania in February 1897 and at the Skala Leptokaryas in April 1897.

In 1908 he became the adjutant of King George I and the following year he was promoted to captain. In June 1911 and due to indiscipline of the crew of the battleship Averof, the position of the captain took the then captain Paul Koundoriotis. With the outbreak of the Balkan wars he was promoted to Rear Admiral, while on 16 April 1912 he became Chief of Staff of the Navy.

Then he becomes the head of the fleet in the Aegean and take action. As commander of the battleship "Averof" occupies Limnos and the next day Thasos, Imbros, Tenedos, Psara, Agios Efstratios and Samothraki. Until Dec. 21 he had been able to liberate almost all the islands, including the island of Chios. With the battleship "Averof" he participated in two battles in Elli and Limnos (5 January 1913). The last battle won thanks to one daring maneuver that Kountouriotis made. Successful handling of the Turkish fleet forced them to withdraw to the Dardanelles.

By the end of the Balkan wars he was promoted to vice admiral in battle for excellent service. It is worth noting that it was the first Greek after Konstantinos Kanaris that had received this degree. Disagreeing with the policy of neutrality of Greece in World War II participated in the government of Thessaloniki as a member of the Triumvirate (Daglis-Venizelos-Koundouriotis). In 1917 he took once again the portfolio of the Ministry of seafarers and the same year he retired with the rank of honorary admiral.

After the death of King Alexander, he was appointed Regent until November 1920, and again after the departure of King Constantine in Asia Minor (spring 1921 to spring 1922). Also after the departure of George II of the country, in December 1923, by proclamation of the Republic in March 1924. As a person highly respected and widely accepted provisionally elected the first president of the Republic, a position he held until 1926 when he resigned protesting the dictatorship of General Theodoros Pangalos. On June 4, 1929 re-elected as president by the House and Senate but resigned permanently this time, in December of that year for health reasons.

He died on August 22, 1935 in Paleo Faliro and was buried in the family tomb of the family Kountourioti in Hydra, as his desire. His son, Theodore Koundoriotis, joined the navy and even served as governor of the legendary battleship Averof.


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