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Mavrogenous, Manto (d. 1848)

Mavrogenous, Manto (d. 1848)

Greek freedom fighter . Died in 1848.

Manto Mavrogenous was living in the city of Trieste, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when the Greeks rose in revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1821. She immediately moved to the Aegean island of Mykonos, where she used her own personal wealth to raise and maintain an army of guerilla fighters and outfit two warships for the Greek cause. Mavrogenous retained personal command of the forces she equipped and successfully led them in battle on a number of occasions. She also proved an adept fund raiser and advocate of Greek independence, and her letters to friends in England and France brought in money and volunteers to aid the Greeks. (The war appealed to many liberal Europeans; among those who joined was George Gordon, Lord Byron, who went to Missolonghi to fight but instead died of a fever.) Mavrogenous was celebrated in poems and stories during the war, and portraits painted by her contemporaries still survive. In recognition of her services, the Greek revolutionary leadership awarded her the rank of lieutenant general.

After the Ottomans recognized Greek independence with the Treaty of Constantinople in 1832, Mavrogenous' lack of political influence forced her to the sidelines. She lived in obscurity on a small pension usually granted to war widows until her death in 1848.

sources:

Griffin, Lynne, and Kelly McCann. The Book of Women: 300 Notable Women History Passed By. Holbrook, MA: Bob Adams, 1992.

Uglow, Jennifer S., ed. and comp. The International Dictionary of Women's Biography. NY: Continuum, 1989.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan

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