Theodoros Deligiannis
Theodoros Deligiannis, also spelled Delijannis and Deliyannis, , was a Greek
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...



He was born at Lagkadia
Lagkadia may refer to the following places in Greece:*Lagkadia, Arcadia, a municipality in northwestern Arcadia*Lagkadia, Arta, a village in the Arta peripheral unit, part of the municipality Athamania...

, Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

. He studied law in Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, and in 1843 entered the Ministry of the Interior, of which department he became permanent secretary in 1859. In 1862, on the deposition of King Otto
Otto of Greece
Otto, Prince of Bavaria, then Othon, King of Greece was made the first modern King of Greece in 1832 under the Convention of London, whereby Greece became a new independent kingdom under the protection of the Great Powers .The second son of the philhellene King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Otto ascended...

, he became minister for foreign affairs in the provisional government. In 1867, he was Greek Minister at Paris. On his return to Athens he became a member of successive cabinets in various capacities, and rapidly collected a party around him consisting of those who opposed his great rival, Charilaos Trikoupis
Charilaos Trikoupis
Charilaos Trikoupis was a Greek politician who served as a Prime Minister of Greece seven times from 1875 until 1895....

. He eventually became the leader of the Nationalist Party
Nationalist Party (Greece)
The Nationalist Party of Greece was the conservative and expansionist political party from 1865-1909. It was opposed primarily by the New Party of Charilaos Trikoupis....

 after Alexandros Koumoundouros
Alexandros Koumoundouros
Alexandros Koumoundouros was a Greek politician. Born in Kampos Avias located in the Messenian side of the Mani Peninsula, he was the son of Spirìdonas-Galànis Koumoundoùros who was the Bey of the area during the last period of the administration of the region by the Ottoman Empire.He was a...


In the so-called Oecumenical Ministry of 1877 he voted for war with Turkey
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, and on its fall he entered the cabinet of Koumoundoros as minister for foreign affairs. He was a representative of Greece at the Berlin Congress in 1878. From this time forward, and particularly after 1882, when Trikoupis again came into power at the head of a strong party, the duel between these two statesmen was the leading feature of Greek politics.

Deligiannis first formed a cabinet in 1885; but his warlike policy, the aim of which was, by threatening Turkey, to force the Great Powers to make concessions in order to avoid the risk of a European war, ended in failure. For the powers, in order to stop his excessive armaments, eventually blockaded the Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

 and other ports, and this brought about his downfall. He returned to power in 1890, with a radical programme, but his failure to deal with the financial crisis produced a conflict between him and the king, and his disrespectful attitude resulted in his summary dismissal in 1892. Deligiannis evidently expected the public to side with him; but at the elections he was badly beaten.
In 1895, however, he again became prime minister, and was at the head of affairs during the Cretan crisis and the opening of the war with Turkey in 1897. The easy defeat which ensued though Deligiannis himself had been led into the disastrous war policy to some extent against his will caused his fall in April 1897, the king again dismissing him from office when he declined to resign. Delyanni kept his own seat at the election of 1899, but his following dwindled to small dimensions. He quickly recovered his influence, however, and he was again president of the council and minister of the interior when, on the 13 June 1905, he was assassinated in revenge for the rigorous measures taken by him against gambling houses. His attacker, a professional gambler named Gherakaris, stabbed him with a dagger in the abdomen as he was entering the parliament. The incident took place at 5pm; an emergency operation failed to stop his internal bleeding and Deligiannis died at 7.30pm.

The main fault of Deligiannis as a statesman was that he was unable to grasp the truth that the prosperity of a state depends on its adapting its ambitions to its means. Yet, in his vast projects, which the powers were never likely to endorse, and without their endorsement were vain, he represented the real wishes and aspirations of his countrymen, and his death was the occasion for an extraordinary demonstration of popular grief. He died in extreme poverty, and a pension was voted to the two nieces who lived with him.

Further reading

  • Chatziioannou, Maria Christina. "Relations between the State and the Private Sphere: Speculation and Corruption in Nineteenth-century Greece. Mediterranean Historical Review, 1743-940X, Volume 23, Issue 1, 2008, pp. 1–14.
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