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Manto Mavrogenous | A Greek Heroine of the War of Independence of 1821

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

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George Papadellis | SG Head


Manto Mavrogenous (Μαντω Μαυρογενους in Greek) is a famous heroine of the Greek War of Independence who spent all of her family's big fortune for the Hellenic cause.

Manto Mavrogenous

Manto Mavrogenous Greek heroine of the Greek War of Independence picture taken from public site. Lithography of Manto Mavrogenous by Adam Friedel, 1827 | Photo by: in the public domain (according to Wikimedia Commons)


Early Life

Little Manto was born in Trieste in 1796. Her father was Nikolaos Mavrogenis, a merchant and a member of Filiki Eteria, the secret organization that was founded seven years before 1821 (the year of independence), to fight the Ottoman rule of Greece, after 400 years of domination.


Manto Mavrogenous was a very beautiful woman, for the standards of the 18th-19th century, with aristocratic origins.


She was influenced (like her family) from the Age of Enlightenment, she had studied Greek philosophy, and she was speaking three foreign languages (French, Italian and Turkish).


In 1809, she moved with her family to Paros, where her father told her for the first time about Filiki Eteria. When Manto's father died in 1818, she went first to Tinos, and later, when the revolution began, she went to Mykonos where she started her struggle.


Mavrogenous & Revolution

The astonishing heroic achievements of Manto Mavrogenous in the Greek Revolution against the Ottomans, at her own expenses, are: 1) She equipped and manned two ships and pursued the pirates who attacked Mykonos and other islands of the Cyclades complex. 2) She leaded the repulsement of the Ottomans from Mykonos. 3) She equipped and sent numerous men to fight in Peloponnese, in Samos, in Northern Greece, in South Euboea, in Chios, in Dervenakia, in Pelion, in Phthiotida and in Livadia. 4) She supported the relief of soldiers and their families. 5) She organized enlightenment expeditions in several European countries, especially France, collecting funds and guns for the revolution.

Manto Mavrogenous Square Mykonos

Manto Mavrogenous Square Mykonos | Photo by: Joanbanjo, Manto Mavrogenous monument at Mykonos, CC BY-SA 3.0


In 1823, being already famous in Europe for her bravery in the fight of the Greeks, moved to Nafplio (then capital city of Greece) where she met and engaged Dimitrios Ypsilantis. This engagement was considered as a threat for powerful politicians of that period, due to the pro-Russian affiliations of both families, who tried to break it. Her home was burnt, her fortune was stolen, and, when Ypsilantis died, she got exiled from Nafplio.


Last Years

After Nafplio, Manto Mavrogenous returned to Mykonos and started writing her memoirs. After the war's end, Ioannis Kapodistrias awarded her the rank of Lieutenant General and granted her a home in Nafplio where she moved back. In 1840 she moved to Paros and died alone and poor. Her house is still there, privately owned.

The House of Manto Mavrogenous in Nafplion  |  Shiny Greece

The House of Manto Mavrogenous in Nafplion | Photo by: Hadrianus, Maison à Nauplie2, CC BY-SA 4.0


Manto Mavrogenous Legacy

Later, the Greek State honored Manto Mavrogenous in several ways, and she always stays in the heart of Greeks as a great and genuine heroine. Her name has been given to the central squares of Mykonos capital and Parikia town (Paros) and to several streets around the country, she has been drawn in commemorative coins of the Greek State, and the Manto Mavrogenous Movie was made about her life in 1971 (Manto Mavrogenous 1971).


Another great heroine of her era is Laskarina Bouboulina.


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Apr 25
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

How often do we see rich people offering their whole fortune to save their homeland???

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