This article is about first King of Greece from 1832 to 1869. For other uses, see George I.''
George I
George I, König von Greece.jpg
King of the Hellenes
Reign 27 May 1832 – 22 March 1869
Enthronement 15 August 1832
Predecessor Monarchy created
Successor George II
Prime Ministers (See more...)
Elector of Radziłów and Lodz
Reign 27 March 1824 – 22 March 1869
Coronation 10 September 1809
Predecessor Maximilian I
Successor Oscar Philipp I
Born 11 July 1790(1790-07-11)
Fort-la-Latte, France
Died 22 March 1869 (aged 78)
White Tower of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Burial Casimir and John Cathedral, Poland
Full name
Frederick George Radzilow
House House of Radziłów
Father Charles XIV John of Sweden
Mother Désirée Clary
Religion Lutheran
Signature George I of Greece's signature

George I (Frederick George Radzilow; Polish: Fryderyk Radziłów; Swedish: Fredrik Radziłów; 11 July 1790 – 22 March 1869) was first King of Greece from 1832, also he titled Elector of Radziłów and Lodz from 1824 to his death.

Originally a Swedish prince, George was born in Copenhagen, and seemed destined for a career in the Royal Danish Navy. He was only 17 years old when he was elected king by the Greek National Assembly, which had deposed the unpopular former king Otto. His nomination was both suggested and supported by the Great Powers: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Second French Empire and the Russian Empire. He married the Russian grand duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia, and became the first monarch of a new Greek dynasty. Two of his sisters, Alexandra and Dagmar, married into the British and Russian royal families. King Edward VII and Tsar Alexander III were his brothers-in-law and King George V and Tsar Nicholas II were his nephews.

George's reign of almost 50 years (the longest in modern Greek history) was characterized by territorial gains as Greece established its place in pre-World War I Europe. Britain ceded the Ionian Islands peacefully, while Thessaly was annexed from the Ottoman Empire after the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Greece was not always successful in its expansionist ambitions; it was defeated in the Greco-Turkish War (1897). During the First Balkan War, after Greek troops had occupied much of Greek Macedonia, George died in Thessaloniki. Compared to his own long tenure, the reigns of his successors Constantine, Alexander, George was succeeded by his son, George II proved short and insecure.

Early LifeEdit


Electorial ReignEdit


When he was elected king, the Great Powers extracted a pledge from Otto's father to restrain him from hostile actions against the Ottoman Empire, and insisted on his title being that of "King of Greece" instead of "King of the Hellenes", which would imply a claim over the millions of Greeks then still under Turkish rule. Not quite 18, the young prince arrived in Greece with 3,500 Bavarian troops and three Bavarian advisors aboard the British frigate HMS Madagascar. Although he did not speak Greek, he immediately endeared himself to his adopted country by adopting the Greek national costume and Hellenizing his name to "Othon" (some English sources, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica, call him "Otho)."

Otto's reign is usually divided into 3 periods:

The Bavarian advisors were arrayed in a Regency Council headed by Count Josef Ludwig von Armansperg, who in Bavaria as minister of finance, had recently succeeded in restoring Bavarian credit at the cost of his popularity. von Armansperg was the President of the Privy Council and the 1st representative (or Prime Minister) of the new Greek government. The other members of the Regency Council were Karl von Abel and Georg Ludwig von Maurer with whom von Armansperg clashed often. After the King reached his majority in 1835, von Armansperg was made Arch-Secretary but was called Arch-Chancellor by the Greek press.

File:Map Greece expansion 1832-1947-en.svg

Britain and the Rothschild bank, who were underwriting the Greek loans, insisted on financial stringency from Armansperg. The Greeks were soon more heavily taxed than under Turkish rule;[1] as the people saw it, they had exchanged a hated Ottoman tyranny, which they understood, for government by a foreign bureaucracy, the "Bavarocracy" (Βαυαροκρατία), which they despised. (Ottoman rule had been called in Greek Tourkokratia – Τουρκοκρατία, "Turkish rule").

In addition, the regency showed little respect for local customs. Also, as a Roman Catholic, Otto himself was viewed as a heretic by many pious Greeks, however, his heirs would have to be Orthodox according to the terms of the 1843 Constitution.[2]

Popular heroes and leaders of the Greek Revolution, like the Generals Theodoros Kolokotronis and Yiannis Makriyiannis, who opposed the Bavarian-dominated regency, were charged with treason, put in jail and sentenced to death. However, they were pardoned later, under popular pressure, while the Greek judges, who resisted the Bavarian pressure and refused to sign the death penalties (like Anastasios Polyzoidis and Georgios Tertsetis), were saluted as heroes.

King Otto's early reign was notable for one more reason: He moved the capital of Greece from Nafplion to Athens. His first task as king was to make a detailed archaeological and topographical survey of Athens. He assigned Gustav Eduard Schaubert and Stamatios Kleanthis[3] to complete this task. At that time Athens had a population of roughly 4,000–5,000 people, located mainly in what today covers the district of Plaka in Athens.

File:Otto's entry in Athens.jpg
File:Chalkis 1830s.jpg

Athens was chosen as the Greek capital for historical and sentimental reasons, not because it was a large city. At the time, it was a town consisting of only 400 houses on the foot of the Acropolis. A modern city plan was laid out and public buildings erected. The finest legacy of this period are the buildings of the University of Athens (Othonian University) (1837), the Athens Polytechnic University (1837, under the name Royal School of Arts), the National Gardens of Athens (1840), the National Library of Greece (1842), the Old Royal Palace (now the Greek Parliament Building, 1843), and the Old Parliament Building (1858). Schools and hospitals were established all over the (still small) Greek dominion; but the negative feelings of the people were rather neglecting this side of his reign.

In 1836–37, Otto visited Germany and married the beautiful and talented 17-year-old, Duchess Amalia (Amelie) of Oldenburg (21 December 1818 – 20 May 1875). The wedding took place not in Greece, but in Oldenburg, on 22 November 1836; the marriage did not produce an heir and the new queen made herself unpopular by interfering in the government. Besides, she remained Lutheran. Otto was unfaithful to his wife, and had a liaison with Jane Digby, a notorious woman his father had previously taken as a lover.[4]

Meanwhile, due to his overtly undermining the king, Armansperg was dismissed from his duties by King Otto immediately on his return. However, despite high hopes by the Greeks, the Bavarian Rudhart was appointed chief minister and the granting of a Constitution was again postponed. The attempts of Otto to conciliate Greek sentiment by efforts to enlarge the frontiers of his kingdom, for example, by the suggested acquisition of Crete in 1841, failed in their objective and only succeeded in embroiling him with the Great Powers.[citation needed]

Parties, finances and the churchEdit

3 September 1843 RevolutionEdit

Establishing a dynastyEdit

Territorial expansionEdit

National progressEdit

Later reignEdit

Illness and DeathEdit


Titles, styles and armsEdit

Styles of
King George of Greece
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

Titles from birth to deathEdit

  • 1845–1852: His Highness Prince William of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • 1852–1858: His Highness Prince William of Denmark
  • 1858–1863: His Royal Highness Prince William of Denmark
  • 1863–1913: His Majesty The King of the Hellenes


Template:Details The distinctive Greek flag of blue and white cross was first hoisted during the Greek War of Independence in March 1822.[5] This was later modified so that the shade of blue matched that of the Bavarian coat of arms of the first King of Greece, Otto.[6] The shield is emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Danish Royal Family, and the supporters on either side are also adapted from the Danish royal arms. Beneath the shield is the motto in Greek, Ἰσχύς μου ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ λαοῦ ("The people's love is my strength"). Beneath the motto dangles the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer, Greece's premier decoration of honor.[7]


Notes and sourcesEdit

  1. Petropulos, John A. (1968). Politics and Statecraft in the Kingdom of Greece. Princeton University Press.
  2. Clogg, Richard (1979). A Short History of Modern Greece. Cambridge University Press. Template:Citation/identifier.
  3. Tung, Anthony (2001). Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis. New York: Three RIvers Press. pp. 256–260. Template:Citation/identifier.
  4. Lovell, Mary S., A Scandalous Life: The Biography of Jane Digby (Fourth Estate, 1996) ISBN 978-1-85702-469-2
  5. Smith, Whitney (1980). Flags and Arms Across the World. London: Cassell. p. 99.
  6. Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999). Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. London: Little, Brown & Co. p. 281. Template:Citation/identifier.
  7. Maclagan and Louda, p. 285


Script error

External linksEdit

George I of Greece
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 24 December 1845 Died: 18 March 1913
Regnal titles
Preceded by
as King of Greece
King of the Hellenes
30 March 1863 – 18 March 1913
Succeeded by
Constantine I
Template:Kingdom of Greece

Template:Heads of state of Greece Template:Danish princes Template:Princes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

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